We the undersigned New Zealand cycling advocates welcome the launch of Freestyle Cyclists in Australia. It is well known that the benefits of cycling, even without a plastic hat, outweigh the costs by a massive proportion. Bicycle Helmet Legislation is based on a denial of this reality. Every 30 minutes in New Zealand an individual is fined under our Legislation for undertaking an activity which overall benefits their health and saves Society and business money.

That this is allowed to happen, and indeed required by Law, is unjust, and counter to the best interests of all New Zealanders. Helmets have undoubtedly saved some lives in some accidents, and make good sense in a sporting context, but have also been proven to increase the likelihood of accidents by increasing risk compensation by drivers. Overall bicycle helmet legislation has not produced any significant benefit.

We understand that Helmet legislation was introduced with the best of intentions; but as an experiment, and in the big picture, it has patently failed, reducing cycling mode share, undermining the only real guarantee of safety: the number of people on bikes. The results of this experiment – low mode share and unnecessarily high casualties, in both countries, are internationally held up as a shining example of what not to do.

Very few jurisdictions have followed; those that have then experienced the same problems and lack of success as in Australia and New Zealand; and some have since rescinded all or part of their laws. In recent times, it has become clear that public cycleshare, game changing in enabling the growth of cycling as a practical, modern transport mode, has failed miserably in the few countries with helmet laws, while being massively successful elsewhere. Some countries with helmet legislation, including Mexico and Israel, have effectively abandoned it to encourage everyday A to B cycling, and specifically cycleshare.

We join Freestyle Cyclists in calling upon our Governments to repeal helmet legislation and return to our Citizens the freedom of choice, concomitant with being members of a democratic society, to use good judgment in safety matters, in an activity which is already beneficial to them and Society.


Mark Bracey, Auckland; Cycling in Auckland [1], Former Chair Cycle Action Auckland

Tim Gummer, Auckland; Smart Transport, Cycling in Auckland

Dr Peter Keller, MB ChB FANZCA, Specialist in Anaesthesia, Wellington; Cycling Health New Zealand [2]; NZ Patron BHRF [3]

Jenny Marshall, Auckland; Cyclopolitan [4], Auckland Cycle Chic [5], Cycling in Auckland

Dr Nigel Perry, Scientist, Christchurch; BHRF Editorial Board, Inaugural Chair Cycle Aware Palmerston North