Bike hel­met rules in spot­light

Auckland City Harbour News - - OUT & ABOUT - TOM CARNEGIE

Should it be com­pul­sory for Auck­lan­ders to wear bike hel­mets?

Auck­land may­oral can­di­date Chloe Swar­brick thinks not.

She said in a Face­book live in­ter­view her pol­icy can be boiled down to a be­lief in per­sonal free­dom and lib­er­ties.

‘‘I know it sounds as though what I amtry­ing to do is put more of a bur­den on our pub­lic health sys­tem but that is to­tally not the case.’’

Swar­brick points to smok­ing as an ex­am­ple of some­thing that is detri­men­tal to health but is al­lowed in so­ci­ety based a per­son’s free­dom of choice.

‘‘We could be look­ing at ban­ning smok­ing be­cause on bal­ance, that causes a lot more pub­lic harm then it does good, but we still weigh lib­er­ties and free­doms higher than that,’’ she says.

Ear­lier this month John Oliver, a Univer­sity of New South Wales statis­ti­cian, pre­sented the largest re­view yet of bike hel­met use by 64,000 cy­clists world­wide.

Oliver pre­sented the study to the in­ter­na­tional in­jury pre­ven­tion con­fer­ence safety 2016 in Fin­land, which found hel­mets re­duce the chances of a se­ri­ous head in­jury by nearly 70 per cent.

Swar­brick says the manda­tory hel­met law also cul­ti­vates a neg­a­tive cul­ture to­ward Auck­land cy­clists.

‘‘It does cre­ate and add to this cul­ture that we have got, where by in Auck­land by and large we have a dis­dain for cy­clists.’’

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