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Old 12.06.2012, 12:51
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Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

I have been following the Swiss government's proposal to make children under 14 wearing cycling helmets compulsory (Kinder Helmpflicht). To me it is unbelievable, but parliament have deliberately dropped this proposal. I read last week that the Swiss cycling club agreed to drop the idea, with the thinking "If it is obligatory people will fight it. If it is not, then all sensible parents will make their children wear one anyway".... ?!

There is also a law, children under school age may NOT ride on the roads. A new law states that for children to ride on main roads they must be over 6 years old or accompanied by a person over 16 years old.

At the same time the government is bringing harder regulations for speeding and drunken drivers, while leaving the weakest road users without much protection.

Knowing how stupid some parents can be, I believe this optional wearing of helmets will continue to result in brain damaged children. The government can point the finger at parents and now say "It's not our fault."
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The following is the 20min article, translated by Google, I tidied it up a bit..

Children in future do not need when cycling to wear a helmet. The Senate was steered on Monday by the line of the National Council. It had fought since the beginning of the deliberations against a mandatory package of measures by Via Sicura.

The decision of the Council of States against a helmet law for children up to fourteen years, was dropped quietly and without opposition. The National Council had made repeated claims that a helmet law was counterproductive and should rely on the personal responsibility of parents.

In order to approach the parliamentary proceedings of the end of Via Sicura. Even in a further point was that Parliament agreement: children under six years of age may cycle along the main streets only when accompanied by a minimum 16-year-old person.

The little room left on their proposal, in addition to the vague term "busy streets" in the law stipulate. After cycling on the roads right now, "pre-school 'children is completely banned.

A final difference

The bill will now return due to a difference in the last parliament. It is a question whether the authorities have to appoint security officers for the road. The National Council had opposed the creation of such items until now, each with narrow majorities.

The Senate on Monday proposed a compromise: Only the federal government and the cantons will have to appoint a safety officer. The municipalities, however - with the exception of that duty - contrary to the intent of the Federal Council. Transport Minister Doris Leuthard spoke of a "good solution".

Stricter with speeding drivers

The package includes a number of already adopted Via Sicura measures to ensure greater road safety. Cars have to drive with headlights on during day light. From now on it is prohibited to warn of speed traps: on the radio, on GPS, but also in semi-public forums like Facebook or Twitter.

Harder proposals from the Federal Council: in the future car racers will be tackled: they should be punished with up to four years in prison if they, for example, make daredevil overtakingby, are racing, or take part in causing the risk of serious injuries or deaths.

Further, the courts may order the confiscation of the driver's car. A data recorder will be installed for drivers that lose their driving license for a longer time. The strict measures against speeders are also intended as an indirect counter-proposal to the independent people's initiative on victim assistance organization Road Cross.

Blood test is standard

The new requirement will continue to be measured as to whether a motorist has been drinking too much alcohol: In the future this will be done as a rule, from 0.8 per thousand with a breath test. The more elaborate and expensive blood tests are done only in cases of suspected drugs, or if required explicitly by the controlled driver.

After several tragic accidents on pedestrian crossings, the Parliament had also decided that the federal government in the future - may adopt building standards for pedestrian crossings - together with the cantons.

The Parliament rejected that drivers from the age of fifty years in the future must undergo regular eye tests to keep their license. Drivers aged more than seventy years may continue to drive vehicles that have more than eight seats.

Long story

The package of measures Via Sicura has a long history behind it. Already in 2000 the then Minister Moritz Leuenberger's "Vision Zero" was initiated - no fatalities were more objective in the traffic. Of them had to say goodbye but Leuenberger.

It was instead the package of measures Via Sicura, by which the number of fatalities will be reduced by one quarter. In 2008, the package arrived in the consultation and three years later to parliament. Tilted to the consultation from the package were financial instruments, with which the security measures had to be paid.

The number of deaths on Swiss roads was a steady decline in recent years. In 2010, 327 people died yet. The peak was reached in 1971 with 1773 deaths.
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Old 12.06.2012, 13:17
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

Well, in my family they are compulsory for everyone, no need to be forced by the government.
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Old 12.06.2012, 13:20
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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I have been following the Swiss government's proposal to make children under 14 wearing cycling helmets compulsory (Kinder Helmpflicht). To me it is unbelievable, but parliament have deliberately dropped this proposal. I read last week that the Swiss cycling club agreed to drop the idea, with the thinking "If it is obligatory people will fight it. If it is not, then all sensible parents will make their children wear one anyway".... ?!
Frankly your reaction is more astonishing than anything you quote. I didn't read it all, but the last sentence of yours that I quoted above is very significant, IMO. Coupled with experiences from places like Australia where compulsory helmet wearing reduced overall cycling amounts by more than they reduced head injuries from cycle accidents.

The debate's been done to death many times without any real concrete conclusions, and I'm pleased that Swiss parliament have not decided that they know better than the best that scientific research currently has to offer.

And TBH I, like many others I'm sure, am against the nanny-state type of regulation that this would entail, on principle, regardless of the pros and cons. As you implied above, if helmets really and clearly make cycling that much safer, then we wouldn't need to legislate their use in the first place.
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Old 12.06.2012, 13:36
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

Nice to see you taking the government line. Hope you enjoy your disabled child, growing up in a wheel chair. He won't thank his parents will he, saving the Migros helmet, for just SFr 30.

Isn't it strange that motor cycle helmets worn by big strong men are compulsory throughout Europe.

This is not "Nanny state thinking" this is putting thinking helmet on before sending child out to face idiot half blind drivers. Maybe remove head from sand and try reading the article?
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Old 12.06.2012, 13:38
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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As you implied above, if helmets really and clearly make cycling that much safer, then we wouldn't need to legislate their use in the first place.
Ummm. Wearing a seatbelt is a law here isn't it?
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Old 12.06.2012, 13:42
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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Frankly your reaction is more astonishing than anything you quote. I didn't read it all, but the last sentence of yours that I quoted above is very significant, IMO. Coupled with experiences from places like Australia where compulsory helmet wearing reduced overall cycling amounts by more than they reduced head injuries from cycle accidents.

The debate's been done to death many times without any real concrete conclusions, and I'm pleased that Swiss parliament have not decided that they know better than the best that scientific research currently has to offer.

And TBH I, like many others I'm sure, am against the nanny-state type of regulation that this would entail, on principle, regardless of the pros and cons. As you implied above, if helmets really and clearly make cycling that much safer, then we wouldn't need to legislate their use in the first place.
I don't understand your argument - are you saying that wearing a helmet is not safer than not wearing one? Do you not wear a helmet skiing, either? I fully believe in wearing helmets and we all wear them when cycling. I know there are some adults, sadly, who are too vain to wear them for fear of hurting their hair style or some other silly excuse.
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Old 12.06.2012, 13:48
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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Ummm. Wearing a seatbelt is a law here isn't it?
I think he means that seat belts were *proven* to save lives and so are enforced, while bicycle helmets have not and are not.

As a cyclist I find it an incredulous concept, but if the data shows no significant benefit, I can't really argue. Helmets all round all the time in the Silverburn house...
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Old 12.06.2012, 13:51
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

I am all for the wearing of helmets but as many have stated doing this by some sort of law is not necessarily the answer. This part of the world works more on the need to take responsibility for your own protection rather then expecting the state to cater for your stupidity.

As I already stated I actually agree with the need to wear helmets and everyone in our family does, whether they make overall riding safer is difficult to prove. In the case of an accident they definetely help, they also make it more likely you will have an accident sense the added sense of security seems to instil a sense of being able to ride much faster and to perform crazy moves around cars. So yes they make it more likely you will survive without brain damage but equally more likely you will break other parts of your body due to riding faster for a bigger percentage of the time.
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Old 12.06.2012, 13:53
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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I don't understand your argument - are you saying that wearing a helmet is not safer than not wearing one?
It's not me saying it, but yes, studies have failed to convincingly show any statistically significant benefit from cycle helmet use. Lots of anecdotal evidence, but the risk-compensation and reduces-overall-cycling arguments are also quite revealing.

Oh, and don't forget that cycle helmets are really only 'designed' to offer a little protection in the event of falling off a bike and banging your head on the ground. If your head is hit in a moving traffic accident the amount of protection most cycle helmets offer is virtually zero.

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Do you not wear a helmet skiing, either?
Look at my avatar in the top left. I do now wear one when instructing - it's a ski school rule - and would certainly never suggest that people should not do so, but I firmly believe in freedom of choice in such matters, and my choice is to concentrate more on improving my skills such that head impacts are avoided, rather than hoping that a helmet might help in the event that an impact occurs.

But ref. my point about levels of protection, my ski helmet is built to offer a much more significant level of protection than many others, and than nearly all cycle helmets. But If I was _really_ bothered then I'd wear my proper full-face motorcycle helmet, which _is_ intended to protect against significant impacts.

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I fully believe in wearing helmets and we all wear them when cycling. I know there are some adults, sadly, who are too vain to wear them for fear of hurting their hair style or some other silly excuse.
I'm glad that you feel free to exercise your freedom of choice for you and your family.

You may be surprised that many who do not wear helmets are not in any way doing so for reasons of vanity.
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:03
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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Nice to see you taking the government line.
And wouldn't it be nice to see you taking an evidence-based approach, as the government appear to have done in this case.
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Isn't it strange that motor cycle helmets worn by big strong men are compulsory throughout Europe.
See my other post - motorbike helmets are built to an entirely different set of guidelines and regulations. They have been proven beyond all reasonable doubt to reduce injuries. (Although there's still a couple of US states where they're not compulsory, and they point at their injury rates declining faster than neighbouring states where helmets were made compulsory).

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This is not "Nanny state thinking" this is putting thinking helmet on before sending child out to face idiot half blind drivers. Maybe remove head from sand and try reading the article?
As you seem utterly convinced, contrary to what the article and the government, not to mention worldwide research efforts, that compulsory helmet wearing must be safer, there's probably no point in me arguing, but I might suggest that you take your own advice re heads/sand.

Oh, and I have now read it, and it doesn't add anything to the argument IMHO. I'm just pleased that the government has chosen to make a rational decision based on available evidence, rather than one routed in the idea that "It's obvious, even if it can't be proven".

Last edited by Guest; 12.06.2012 at 14:17. Reason: Speeling corecction
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:03
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

Well, I don't see how wearing them could be more unsafe, not sure I buy the "people take more chances" argument mentioned above. BTW, do you have references to these studies? I will do a google search, but was wondering where you got your results from. I do know several people who were certainly very happy after an accident that they did have a helmet on...

Anyhow, I won't be able to change your mind, nor do I want to.

When I was in Austin there was a period where they made a mandatory helmet law and all these bike cops showed up and gave tickets galore on campus. Of course, it didn't last for long as they had to repeal it as Texas (at least then) didn't have a motorcycle helmet law...

As far as skiing goes, I don't worry only about my skills, but more about some of the idiots out there that might run into me or otherwise cause me harm...
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:13
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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Well, I don't see how wearing them could be more unsafe, not sure I buy the "people take more chances" argument mentioned above. BTW, do you have references to these studies?
Sadly no. I've not made this a personal crusade so while I have read both sides of the argument on various cycling newsgroups over the years, I've reached my own conclusions from the literature and moved on.

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I will do a google search, but was wondering where you got your results from.
You could do worse than starting with the wikipedia entry, which contains links to arguments and studies from both sides. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_helmet
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I do know several people who were certainly very happy after an accident that they did have a helmet on...
Yes, me too, but it's a difficult area. Some years ago my younger brother flipped over and banged his head on a kerbstone at very low speed and is convinced that the helmet helped, despite the twisting forces he encountered fracturing three of his cervical vertebrae. I've not, and will not, try and change his opinions.
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Anyhow, I won't be able to change your mind, nor do I want to.
Well that's one thing we can agree on
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As far as skiing goes, I don't worry only about my skills, but more about some of the idiots out there that might run into me or otherwise cause me harm...
One of the core skills I try and improve is my observation of other slope users.
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:14
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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Well, in my family they are compulsory for everyone, no need to be forced by the government.

Same here. You can't fight stupid. Not even with new laws. Isn't it on this forum that people complain about the huge number of Swiss laws and regulations all the time?


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Nice to see you taking the government line. Hope you enjoy your disabled child, growing up in a wheel chair. He won't thank his parents will he, saving the Migros helmet, for just SFr 30.

...
I don't usually groan people, but even if I see your point I think you have gone too far here.
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:28
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

Helmets, for both bicycles and motorbikes, should be optional. And they should put a huge spike in the middle of car/bus/lorry steering wheels and remove the seatbelts.
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:29
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

I believe it is a got idea that helmet use is NOT obligatory BY LAW. The problem is that if it would be, then:
  1. "cool" kids would stop wearing a helmet just to be cool
  2. others wearing a helmet might be under the impression that a helmet greatly improves their security (which it clearly does NOT) and ride more recklessly. (This is something seen on the ski slopes as well, many believe a helmet and a back protector is like a safe-pass to recklessness).
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:46
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

Maybe we can agree, people must not wear helmets, and the state must not pay for the after effects.

http://www.bfu.ch/PDFLib/1053_42.pdf

BFU is the Swiss Government Office For Prevention of Accidents

http://www.bfu.ch/German/strassenverkehr/Seiten/Radfahren.aspx
Thousands of people choose a healthy daily movement and form of locomotion: cycling. As a weaker road users but they are particularly vulnerable.
The use on the road requires constant attention. The most important cycling is to anticipate hazards and know how to behave in all situations. Many of the 1500 annual traumatic brain injuries by wearing a helmet could be avoided, because: Smart people protect themselves. The bfu is also committed to ensuring that the infrastructure meets the needs of bike riders and cyclists.
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:52
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

What a totally crazy argument.

What if you're drunk and fall over? What if you protect yourself but still decide to throw yourself down a mountain with just thin planks on your feet, just for fun?

What if you drive somewhere for no reason, just because you enjoy driving, and crash?

These are all accidents which could have been avoided. You want them all to be left to die.

Anyway, does the state pay or does health insurance pay?
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:54
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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Look at my avatar in the top left. I do now wear one when instructing - it's a ski school rule - and would certainly never suggest that people should not do so, but I firmly believe in freedom of choice in such matters, and my choice is to concentrate more on improving my skills such that head impacts are avoided, rather than hoping that a helmet might help in the event that an impact occurs.
Yeah, that works great when some out of control skier slams into you as you come of the lift, knocking you unconscious and breaking a few bones.

Do tell me how your greater skill levels help you here?
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:57
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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You may be surprised that many who do not wear helmets are not in any way doing so for reasons of vanity.

Nope, I think you'll find it's 100% vanity (although perhaps 80% of those won't admit it).
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Old 12.06.2012, 14:59
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Re: Cycling helmets for children are still not compulsory!!

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Ummm. Wearing a seatbelt is a law here isn't it?
And not one I agree with (though I normally wear one).

Tom
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