Australia was the first country to make it law to wear a helmet while riding a bike. Now, riders are speaking up to get the laws scrapped.
A Bicycle Network survey of 20,000 people has found nearly two-thirds of us think we shouldn't have to wear a helmet every time we ride. 30% of people say they would even ride more if they didn't need a helmet.
Under current laws in each state, it's compulsory to wear a helmet whenever riding a bike in Australia (except in the Northern Territory).
The poll found 40.7% of us believe bicycle helmets should only be mandatory when we think the risk is high, for example, when racing, on road or for young people.
The biggest supporters of bike helmets were in Victoria, Tasmania, baby boomers, women, and those who’ve had a serious crash.
Those least in favour of mandatory helmets came from Queensland, millennials, and those who ride once or a few times a year.
While most people said they don’t support mandatory helmet laws, there was a divide in whether laws should be fully relaxed, or adapted in specific situations.
A brief history of Aussie helmet laws:
Did you know Australia led the way with bike helmets laws, and most of the research into helmet safety originated here in the 1980s.
Mandatory helmet laws were first introduced in Victoria in July 1990, followed in January 1991 by laws for adult cyclists in New South Wales and all age-groups in Tasmania. In July 1991, New South Wales extended the laws to include children. By January 1992, the laws came into force for the NT, WA and ACT.
South Australia and Queensland were last to protect every riders heads from January 1993.
The Northern Territory watered down it's laws in 1994 with an exemption for adults cycling along footpaths or bike paths, and Queensland now allows exemptions on religious grounds from mandatory bicycle helmet laws.