The Cycling Advocates Network (CAN) today denounced reported criticism of
anti-helmet-law campaigners, urging their opponents to "play the ball and
not the person".

It was reported yesterday that safety campaigners and transport officials
had described as the "the lunatic fringe" a new group, Cycle HELTH (Helmet
Law Truth and Honesty), campaigning for a repeal of the mandatory bicycle
helmet law.

CAN spokeperson Glen Koorey said that they had been calling for an
objective review of the law for a number of years. To date, the Land Transport Safety Authority has yet
to supply them with any research analysis of the effect of the law.

"The merits of wearing a cycle helmet have not been conclusively proven
either way, worldwide. While we fully support anyone choosing voluntarily to
wear a helmet, we are concerned about the wider effects that the mandatory
law has had," said Mr Koorey.

"If the Government is keen to promote cycling, because of its health,
safety, economic and environmental benefits, then a law that results in a
20-25% reduction in the number of cyclists would not appear to be the right
way to go about it. Instead it sends a message that cycling is inherently
dangerous, which it isn't."

CAN would prefer that the considerable money spent on helmet enforcement and
promotion was spent on programmes with more tangible cycling safety
benefits, such as driver/cyclist training, better cycle facilities, and
speed reduction in urban areas.

For more information, contact Glen Koorey, CAN, 027-454 3085

Release Date: 
Tuesday, 21 January, 2003