There is abundant evidence that questions the benefits of helmet-wearing; evidence which Australia declines to acknowledge. Ever since mandatory helmet laws were enacted in the early 90s, cycling in this nation has dropped dramatically. Yet Australia refuses to have this debate and resolutely stands by the very notion of common sense so silkily propounded by the helmet & lycra manufacturers. Cycling has been hi-jacked, and as a result we, in Australia, steadily get fatter and fatter. Public policy religiously maintains that there are economical benefits to helmet wearing but there are minimal stats to demonstrate that doggedly-held claim.
Parallel to issue of benefits, is the issue of the environment. Inexplicably, Australia continues to leave the environment languishing on the sidelines as we cement ourselves more and more to the car, bitumen and the oil industry. We have the perfect climate for cycling and some beautiful cities for cycling in as well, but we lack political will. How embarrassed will Australia be when we get to Copenhagen? We have nothing to show at the global ‘Show & Tell’, and even the rental bike schemes such as Velib so popular around the world cannot get off the ground because of the ridiculous Australian helmet hurdle (Brisbane and Melbourne have tried but cannot get their heads out of their helmets).
So yes! the environment is a question of survival every time I get on my bicycle because we cannot escape the dire consequences that we have already meted out to the planet. We have to face the imminent and immediate peril that we, the West, have caused for so many nations with our wanton misuse of resources. It really isn't a question of tackling climate change in the future, if and when it happens - climate change is here, right now and therefore it's a question of a tackling climate change now. So every time I get on my bicycle as far as I'm concerned it is a 'crisis situation' and a 'question of survival' for both the environment and me.
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