Issue 138, August–September 2000

BISA’s mission: To promote cycling for transport and to represent all cyclists at the local, state, and national levels by working collaboratively with other interest groups and governments.

Amsterdam street

On the streets of Amsterdam... See the Conference Velo Mondiale 2000 report for an explanation (Pic by Margaret Day)


Pedal Update

Peter Carter, Editor

Recent happenings have included Velo Mondiale in Amsterdam, certainly one of the world centres of cycling. Margaret Day gives us her impressions on page 6, and the fact that our new Lord Mayor was there is a good sign.

The major piece in this issue, however, is a proposed amalgamation model from Eric Chaney on page 8. See what you think.

We have a couple of letters, one from the Minister in response to items from Harry Owen in the last issue, the other from a council replying to submission from a member. We also have news of a bike recycling project and a suburban BUG.

As happens, there was too much for 16 pages but not enough for 20, and I’ve therefore split the article ‘Living Neighbourhoods: sustainable transport in Adelaide’, with the second installment next time. However, you can read the entire piece in the Web version.

As I was finishing this issue New Scientist No 2248 (22 July) arrived with an article on cycling helmet laws: some snippets on page 15.


President’s Report

Terry Leach

The past two months have been fairly frustrating for me, both from an advocacy point of view, and from a cycling perspective. However, I am confident that this is about to change. Due to a busy lifestyle my cycling is restricted to commuting. For the past three months I have been stationed at Gawler, which is a little bit far for me to ride. Also, my clapped out 12 year old road bike needed serious repairs, which wasn’t cost effective. So I’ve been busily saving, and am now the proud owner of a new Cannondale touring bike. In addition, I am about to return to Ridgehaven Fire Station and the weather is soon to improve. No more excuses, I’ll soon be riding again.

On the advocacy front, progress on matters I have been pursuing has been slow, but is now starting to show progress. A working party from BISA and Bicycle SA to explore amalgamation will have met by the time you receive this newsletter. We will be consulting with members as we identify issues, and any amalgamation proposal will be dealt with at a general meeting of members in accordance with our constitution.

The decision by the State Cycling Committee to fund the attendance of the Lord Mayor, Alfred Huang, at the Velo Mondiale conference in Amsterdam appears to have met with success. A recent article appeared in The Advertiser regarding his proposal to provide secure bicycle parking in Council-owned car park. I was contacted by the author, with some of my comments included in the article. Again, by the time you receive this newsletter, I will have met with the Lord Mayor to discuss his proposal, and other ‘cycling in the city’ issues.

I will shortly be inviting a wide range of organisations with an interest in transport issues to a meeting to discuss a strategy to implement lower speed limits in residential streets. The current rate of implementation is slow, and we spend a lot of time defending the gains we have already made. The time is ripe for some political activism to push for 40 km/h as the default speed in our suburbs and city centre.

Other members of the BISA committee have also been very busy. Hans Penning has made a submission to a Parliamentry committee regarding 40 km/h speed limits and engineering treatments, Peter Lumb made a presentation to the Road Safety Consultative Committee. Rod Nelson and Darren Mik are working hard with a sub-committee on Ride To Work Day.

Andy Johnstone has redesigned our Web pages to make navigation easier, so if you haven’t visited our site recently, now is the time to do so. The next stage is to update much of the content.

The activity mentioned above is only a fraction of what we and the other committee members have achieved over the last two months. I am very pleased to be able to lead such a competent and hard working team, and look forward to reporting on progress in October.


101 Bikes for sale

Duncan Sweeney

101 Bikes for Adelaide is a bicycle recycling project that has been running since late 1998. The project aimed to collect and recondition one hundred and one bicycles and sell them back to the public for cost price. In early June this goal was achieved! In all over 170 bikes were collected and out of this 101 have been rebuilt. The rest were either stripped to provide parts for the construction of the others, or when of no use were sent to the metal recyclers.

On Sunday 13 August 101 Bikes is having a sale to make the remaining bikes available. Of the 101 around 30 remain, roughly 20 adult bikes and 10 children’s bikes. The sale will be at the Goodwood Community Centre from 9am until 4pm. Adult bikes start at $50, kids’ bikes $20–$50. The Community Centre is situated on Rosa Street, just off Goodwood Road and is near both train, tram (Goodwood) and bus (214, 216, 218) stops.

101 Bikes would like to thank all of the people who generously dug bikes out of their sheds and donated them to the project. Also the many organisations who have helped us along the way: Lifecycle Bicycles, The Conservation Council of South Australia, BISA, Bicycle SA, The Adelaide City Council, Sam from Bicycle Express, Transport SA, The Messenger Press, Holdfast Cycles, and all the volunteers who took part.

(Duncan Sweeney is Co-ordinating Mechanic, 101 Bicycles for Adelaide)



The Editor, Pedal Update

Dear Sir,

I refer to the article ‘Ankle deep in mud’ which was published in edition No 137 of Pedal Update.

I am pleased to advise that at the request of Transport SA, the City of Marion cleared the silt from the path and undertook some temporary drainage improvements at the South Road underpass at Sturt Creek on 15 June 2000. Nevertheless, Transport SA recognises that this work is a temporary fix, and is in the process of negotiating with Council possible cost sharing options to enable permanent rectification works to be undertaken, and ongoing maintenance responsibilities.

Yours sincerely
Diana Laidlaw, MLC
Minister for Transport and Urban Planning

Mr A Pergler

Dear Mr Pergler,

I refer to your letter dated 27 April 2000 regarding the Saltfleet Street Bridge and the safety of cyclists using the road.

Transport SA is the authority responsible for Commercial Road and the Saltfleet Street Bridge. You will have noticed the road bypass works that Transport SA is currently constructing to improve the main road system. Their work is nearing completion. The new work will provide marked exclusive bicycle lanes.

As part of the project, Transport SA is making changes to the bridge, which will make some improvement for cyclists crossing the bridge. The existing footpath is to be removed and a new footway attached to the western side of the bridge. This will effectively allow the traffic lanes on the existing bridge to be widened and reduce the hazard for cyclists. Unfortunately Transport SA do [sic] not intend to replace the existing bridge in the near future.

Should you have any further queries in relation to the Transport SA works I suggest you contact Mr David Bain, Project Manager, Transport SA by telephone 8346 2222.

Should you wish to contact me to discuss please feel free to contact me by telephone 8384 0177.

Yours sincerely
Dean Matthews
Manager Asset & Infrastructure Technical Services

Pole, sign, and bridge

Saltfleet Street Port Noarlunga, with bridge in the background. Noone seems to notice the signs, and noone seems to care about them (or cyclists).

Pic by Adolf Pergler


Velo Mondiale 2000 logo

Conference Velo Mondiale 2000

Amsterdam 18–23 June

Margaret Day

Fietsfeest logo

VM2000 was introduced to Amsterdam with a huge Fietsfeest, a bicycle festival, held in Vondelpark on the day before the conference began. In perfect weather, people of all ages attended, riding an amazing range of bicycles, many of which were available for others to try. Fietsersbond ENFB, the Dutch Cyclists’ Union, was celebrating its 25th anniversary and wanted everyone to share the fun.

The conference was a great success, due largely to the work of the committee under the direction of Tom Godefrooij. Almost 50 countries were represented by more than 600 delegates.

Eight South Australians attended, seven from New South Wales, seven from Victoria, four from Western Australia and two from Queensland. The Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Alfred Huang, was welcomed most warmly as he addressed the assembly at both the opening and the closing ceremonies. It was significant that he is the first Lord Mayor of any Australian city to attend an international cycling conference. Many will have seen the photo of Mr Huang riding tandem in Utrecht during a VM regional tour, published in The Advertiser, 6 July. Our Minister for Transport, Diana Laidlaw, was unable to attend but her personal message was read on the first day of the conference.

Schelto Patijn, the Mayor of Amsterdam, welcomed us and talked about how he uses his bicycle every day in the city where 24% of the people do likewise. He said ‘Cycling is the fundamental mode of transportation here. By bike, you get everywhere. Please use your bicycle. I do it myself. I love to do it.’ He believes that there can be no human movement without cycling.

Many people are concerned that bicycle theft is a major problem in Amsterdam, but we were told in fact some 650 000 bicycles are ‘borrowed’ each year and it is just that people ‘forget’ where to return them. We took five locks with us and had no problem but one of the OZ delegates had her new bicycle stolen while in Amsterdam. Secure bicycle storage is available at most railway stations, yet there are still thousands parked row after row outside, some of which seem to have been left for spare parts. It was not unusual to see a perfectly good bicycle minus handlebars or a front wheel, presumbly borrowed or something. We actually witnessed a dynamo being ‘borrowed’ from a wreck locked to a bridge.

In financial terms, each year some 300 million Guilders (approx AUS$200 million) is spent on bicycle systems and 700 million Guilders on public transport in The Netherlands. The USA cycling budget has gone from $US4 million to $US400 (approx A$625 million) annually. While I do not have full details for this country, Peter Newman (Cyclist June 2000 p 53) gives figures for Federal spending since 1975–98, a period of almost 25 years, in the proportion of 43 on roads, to 1.2 on rail, to 1.3 to public transport. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to have some idea of how much cyclists benefit from those amounts.

Aspects of cycling which are most influential in Netherlands are road safety, social safety (which includes lighting) and comfort. Bicycles must be comfortable, convenient and affordable. We should promote cycling to increase freedom and enjoyable mobility in our cities and towns. Ian Ker from Western Australia was applauded when he analysed the word automobile as ‘auto—of or by myself’ and ‘mobile—to move’ indicating that the car in fact is misnamed. The bicycle is the vehicle which has auto-mobility.

Bicycles are being used increasingly for advertising other products on television in Europe and in the past year 70 such advertisements have been screened in The Netherlands, some of which were shown to us.

The place of folding bicycles was another aspect which was emphasised. With their flexible use they could be described as the spare wheel of the car, increasing mobility and adding fun to a journey. Also it is becoming much more difficult to travel by train with a regular bicycle in Europe due to less space for baggage and increasing costs for transport. As an owner of a folding Bike Friday, I can recommend them for all types of cycling including city commuting in busy crowded cities like Amsterdam, or for long distance touring. Two folding bicycles were presented to the Mayor of Amsterdam during the proceedings.

Speed limits of 30 km/h in built up areas and residential streets are a very important safety feature of many European towns and cities. Speed kills people. It was a joy to see children using their streets for play and residents taking over the roads for street parties, particularly while the European Cup soccer matches were in progress. A sturdy Dutch bicycle painted bright orange was on display at the conference to be donated to a delegate nominated by a delegate. I suggested Alfred Huang as I thought it would be just what he needed in Adelaide. However a young woman from Tunisia was the one who took the best souvenir home.

About ten papers were presented by Australians in the various conference tracks which focused on Transport, Health, Environment, Economy, Spatial Planning. Bicycle Federation of Australia was a major supporter of the program. The voluntary donations given by BISA and Pedal Power of $200 each to help developing nation delegates attend were deeply appreciated.

The Bicycle Federation of America will hold its bi-annual ProBike-ProWalk conference in Philadelphia in September and the next European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) Velo City Conference will be held jointly in Edinburgh and Glasgow in September 2001.

I would be happy to answer any questions about the conference or the part BFA plays in the international cycling scene through the ECF. Our aims and goals are so similar to those of cyclists throughout the world. Our greatest need is to continue to be strong advocates for better cycling facilities, to claim a fairer share of transport budgets and to demand safer and more pleasant places to ride our two-wheeled-auto-mobiles. Nothing falls out of the sky for bicycles. We have to work consistently, be alert, lobby, write letters and attend meetings to influence local government, state government, politicians, planners, decision makers and engineers who know far less about the needs of the most vulnerable road users than we do. We are the experts. We do not pollute. We do not create noise. We do not kill other road users. We do not deplete the resources of the earth. Ours are benign and efficient vehicles, economical too. Our fun keeps us healthy.

Cycling’s a riot. Swift, clean and quiet. More folk should try it.


An amalgamation model

Eric Chaney

A quote from an old magazine article: ’People say—who’s that guy on the green Peugeot?—I don’t even see a Peugeot, I see a person on a bicycle. People are what counts—cycling is all about people touring, racing and having fun’. It’s true for us today.

Let us recreate an entity that is a membership run organisation, by and for cyclists. Take all the healthy activism, effective cycling, membership promotion, business strategies and make them benefits of joining the club, not the main reason for the club’s existence.

My proposal below will stimulate volunteer efforts, consequently reducing operating costs (the higher the fee members pay the more their enthusiasm to volunteer wanes). My proposal not only reduces the cost inhibition but also reaffirms the members’ role both in the structure of the Group and in their contribution to the ‘business’ venture of Bike SA.

Although I risk offending people and entities that I respect for what they do for cycling, please accept the following as constructive criticism and a schedule of improvements needed in cycling in South Australia.

My criticisms and concerns:

1) BISA and Bicycle SA both need different forms of operational ‘independence’:

a) Bicycle SA needs to have the freedom to conduct itself in a business-like manner to efficiently raise the funds to enrich cycling in South Australia

b) Bicycle SA’s rides coordination needs to be member focused and volunteer driven to generate the fun and camaraderie that is the heart and the beauty of cycling

c) BISA to effectively lobby must not be harnessed by the need to ingratiate itself for funds from Government Agencies

2) There needs to be growth of members both in the independent political wing of cycling in SA, and in the touring and recreational arm of Bicycle SA.

3) The ‘independent’ status of the lobbying body is paramount and must not be lost in an effort to increase its membership; along with this is the need to preserve the political lobby as sacrosanct and for elected persons only.

4) Two cycle associations representing SA is politically unproductive and can nullify lobbying efforts without a very unified political agenda. This is difficult to coordinate with enthusiastic volunteers. It works today because of the strength of today’s representatives who know and appreciate the origins of the two bodies, but what about tomorrow’s volunteer crusaders?

5) Two cycle associations in SA is uneconomic, and does not deliver the most cost effective outcome for its members, and dilutes the membership potential of both organisations.

6) Bicycle SA’s reliance on State sponsorship and its Bike Ed status makes it an easily manipulated lobbyist, and also brings with it the very real spectre of cycle registration for all of the best of reasons, (if not already proposed), followed by a steady increase in tax on that registration and loss of freedom, (given half a chance a politician or social engineer would register your walking shoes, socialise them, tax them, then limit and regulate their use ‹for all the right reasons).

7) The rapid change of Bicycle SA from a small club structure to a corporate entity with paid staff appears to be suffering the predictable trauma of alienating the volunteers and members. A board of directors with clear, decisive directives and policies ensuring the wishes of the members are fully accommodated would greatly reduce the resentment of the perceived ‘paid staff takeover’. Members must know the clear objectives that paid staff are employed to achieve. The board needs to be accountable to the members, and able to effectively return a gain from its business activities for the betterment of cycling, not merely self-serving and a gain to the business entity per se.

8) There is a need for publicised policy in Bicycle SA that clearly delineates the volunteers’ roles, e.g. ride programs, club tours. Clear and concise policy is also needed so that all members know what cost reimbursements are available and applicable to them when they assist in projects (i.e. tour subsidies, fuel/travel and accommodation, etc).

9) There is no fall-back infrastructure or protection of members’ funds yet Bicycle SA is vulnerable to the quite real possibility of loss of the critical Bike Ed contract and other Government subsidy.

A reformed group in South Australia

I propose the merging of the present two structures in SA under a reformed structure, with legally separate entities for purposes as defined below, with the emphasis on a membership run organisation by and for cyclists:

1) Restructure the corporate bodies of BISA and Bicycle SA into a group. My proposal is that the incorporated body of BISA be retained with a new constitution and that all of the combined members of Bicycle SA and BISA become the voting members of the new BISA which becomes the parent incorporated body. Bicycle SA then becomes a ‘wholly owned subsidiary’ of the new body. The reason for two separate entities is to offer some protection through the veil of incorporation to the members, (i.e. the lobby and rides coordinating divisions including ‘Cycle House SA’ in the near future) from any major commercial failure of the tours and Bike Ed division, (Bicycle SA). Both entities must be able to demonstrate their not-for-profit status by their constitution and activities. (Figure 1)

Figure 1

2) Operate the new entity in three divisions. Divisions 1 and 2 (old entity of BISA) to elect from the combined membership its own Council of twelve. Six Directors to be appointed, three each year, to the Board of Bicycle SA by the Council, four of whom must be current elected Councillors. Board members report bimonthly to the Council. A President, who would also be Chairman of the Tours and Bike Ed Division, to be elected biennially for the entire entity. (Each Division to have its own mission statement or statements.)

3) Division 1: The advocacy wing, BISA, which remains vitally independent and clearly separate from Division 3

4) Division 2: Individual Ride Groups and their Ride Programs and the entry of these onto the Internet site, (where members pay for surface mail this is returned to Division 3 for mailing extracts from the Web site)

5) Division 3: Education, tours, insurance, magazine sales, shop, hire equipment, consolidated ride group events, cycle promotions, i.e. all self sustaining activities: profit from activities may only be returned to the benefit of cyclists. This commercial albeit ‘not for profit’ Division is the sole domain of the paid staff and the extent of the jurisdiction of the Executive Officer and it must be financially self sustaining. All volunteer members assisting in this Division’s activities shall be rewarded, e.g. contributing tour committee members (if not paid staff) to be offered the particular tour entry at a reduced or no charge, and a schedule of prior authorised cost reimbursements to be available.

6) If the sponsorship or education provider status of Division 3 dries up or the Government of the day wants a bigger say, or simply wishes to manipulate the entity, then the whole entity must be overtly structured to be viable with or without Division 3.

7) Subscriptions per annum:

$33.00 basic membership of all Divisions (with Internet advice of rides programme)
Options:$22.00 for the BFA Magazine ($22 for other Australian cycling magazines??)
$10.00 for all ride programs and magazines mailed
$65.00 for subscription and all mail services
$4.00 third Party Insurance, (global cover)
$20.00 personal accident onsurance
$25.00 ambulance cover
$35.00 property insurance, ($75.00 comprehensive cover,) (Insurance available through BFA brokered covers to all affiliated BFA club members or through current brokers.)

8) The Divisions are funded by:

a) Split the annual $33 fee less GST and Division 3 Secretarial Fee between Divisions 1 and 2, i.e. $10.00 to Division 3 for Secretarial fees, $10 00 each to Division 1 and 2, $3.00 GST

b) Division 3 is self-sustaining; and retains the sponsorships of the State, Bike Ed and other contributors unless directed otherwise, and will be paid a fee for other services (In addition to subscriptions, member, and meeting services) formally requested by the Councils of Divisions 1 and 2.

9) Bicycle SA receives $10.00 secretarial fees, $3.00 GST, say $7.00 for printing and Web costs as these would be met from the ride coordination budget, $10.00 mailing costs, $5.00 magazine sales gain, and most projects will become self-sustaining. Based on a membership of 1500 this would give an income above $45,000 from member subscriptions.

10) Governance: A Council to be established by vote of the members as in 2) above, the EO being ineligible to vote at Council or Board Meetings but having the right to attend all Division 3 agenda items. Half the Council to be elected in rotation annually and no Councillor to be eligible for more than four two-year terms, although they may return after standing down for two years. Councillors to be automatically stood down if they have not participated and attended a prescribed number of meetings per annum, with leave of absence granted only by application to the Council.

11) Staffing: Division 3 only: new staffing contracts with bonus distribution for staff for exceeding Board objectives while adhering to constraints relating to gains made on tours and events.

12) Cycling House SA: A primary objective of the entity is to retain enough earnings to acquire an accessible, out of the city centre, ‘Cycle House’ for South Australian cyclists, owned by the Parent and part leased to the Subsidiary.


Living Neighbourhoods: sustainable transport in Adelaide

Cherill Watkins, Transport SA


As part of its ongoing strategy to reduce the impact of the car in Adelaide, Transport SA commissioned the use of Travel Blending®, beginning in 1996. The trials produced results showing a 20 percent reduction in kilometres travelled by car per participant, and reductions for the population as a whole of around 11 per cent.

In a subsequent six-month project (1999), the entire community of Dulwich and part of Rose Park in the City of Burnside became a Living Neighbourhood®. Everyone who lived, worked, played and went to school in the community (about 1500 people) were invited to participate. For households that fully participated in the project the results showed:

Whilst there was quite a large variation in participation rates across the neighbourhood the results were encouraging. Travel Blending and Living Neighbourhoods are now being offered to other Adelaide communities.

Background and approach

Efforts to reduce car use often fall into two camps. There was the US approach of legislative and pricing measures, with pricing measures also common in the UK and Europe, and the campaigns to make people aware of the benefits of reduced car use, pioneered in the UK. The problem with the latter is turning awareness and concern about congestion and air pollution into behavioural change. The Living Neighbourhood approach is based on more than simply making people aware.

Travel Blending was initially developed as part of Clean Air 2000, an innovative campaign to clean Sydney’s air before the Olympic Games. It is an approach that helps people to reduce the impact of the car by making small changes from which they benefit and that fit their lifestyle. The key component is customised information on ways in which people may use their car a little less.

Travel blending offers a way for individuals to reduce the effects of the car by:

It is worth noting that about 70% of all changes occur because of use of the car for efficiently, rather than changing to other modes of transport.

The Travel Blending method

All people in the Living Neighbourhood are asked to complete a travel diary recording all their trips over a full week. The data is input into a system which generates customised feedback . The feedback offers each household tips on how they might be able to reduce the number of trips they make in future. Suggestions vary from when public transport could have been an alternative (as well as providing information about bus stops, routes and timetables) to approaching a neighbour who makes the same trip at the same time.

Participating householders are given about four weeks to practise the Travel Blending tips. They are then asked to complete another one-week travel diary. Data from this second diary allows us to measure the impact of travel blending on the household’s travel activities. From the quantitative information derived from this we can report outcomes in terms of:

Finally, the household receives a summary of travel activities from the second set of diaries and an analysis of the changes in travel between the first and second diaries. They’re also given tips and a log book so they can continue to monitor the odometers of their vehicles once a week.

Living Neighbourhoods: More than just Travel Blending

A Living Neighbourhood is not only about using Travel Blending. It is about achieving social objectives towards urban regeneration, through community participation. In addition to the changes measurable through the Travel Blending tool, Living Neighbourhoods produce:

Living Neighbourhood initiatives have included:

Apart from the success of reducing car usage, congestion and emissions—the primary aims of the project—it has become evident that Living Neighbourhoods provide a mechanism by which the community becomes involved quite intensely in what is a comprehensive research process—illustrating high levels of community participation.

We have discovered this to be a project inspiring a genuine interest in the community and opening avenues of dialogue which enable participants to talk more broadly with the project team, with local government and other residents on broader issues that flow on from travel or access to transport. Topics of discussion have included urban design, public transport, neighbourhood safety, sustainability and general environment issues, issues regarding children (play grounds, safety to school) amongst others.

Where to from here?


The Living Neighbourhoods program is a new approach to reduce the undesirable impact of motor car use whilst providing benefits to the individual and community. It works on the basis of providing personalised information to individuals to enable them to make small changes to their travel behaviour without limiting individual freedom or choice provided through the private motor car. At the same time it builds a sense of community around the neighbourhood within which the program is offered. The program has shown considerable promise to date and work by Transport SA is continuing to develop the program in partnership with local communities and other State Government agencies.

The Author acknowledges the contributions from Damien Walker, Transport SA, and Liz Ampt, Steer Davies Gleave used in the preparation of this article.


BUG Snapshot

Karen Moyle

A name change could be partly responsible for an expanding BUG. The Kensington and Norwood BUG is now known as the Norwood, Payneham and St Peters BUG. The change is consistent with the name for the amalgamated Council: the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters.

Participation in BUG rides and meetings has doubled in the last twelve months.

After the Council amalgamation in late 1997, BUG was successful in advocating a review of the local Bike Plan. The review was completed in 1999 and included the Town of Walkerville as well. BUG was actively involved in the process and represented on the Steering Committee.

BUG continues to work closely with Council staff in the implementation of the Bike Plan Review. Extensive line marking and signage work was undertaken in 1999–2000. Improvements proposed for the next twelve months include the River Torrens Linear Park, intersection and pathway treatments and bike parking facilities.

Meetings continue to be held every few months at Norwood Town Hall with a light evening meal. Council staff assist with meeting arrangements and publicity for rides. To date this year, three rides have been arranged, including cultural heritage tours and Linear Park.

Norwood, Payneham and St Peters BUG is interested in joint events with other BUGs. Contact Matthew Harding, 8333 2106 (ah).

Karen Moyle is Recreation Planning Officer of the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters


Hard-headed choice

New Scientist No 2248

‘Cycle helmets prevent many serious head injuries and save lives. Evidence from New Zealand shows that a law compelling cyclists to wear helmets led to a 19 percent fall in the number of head injuries. That’s not surprising. Anything that reduces the impact of a crash on our bodies saves lives: Look at helmets for motorcyclists and seat belts for people in cars.

‘Yet the British Medical Association argues against making helmets compulsory. It says that helmet laws in Australia led to a fall in the number of cyclists. The BMA wants to encourage people to travel by bike, seeing cycling as the perfect antidote to a sedentary lifestyle.

‘There are other reasons, too, why the BMA is right to be cautious. The fundamental problem for cyclists is that they are vulnerable—and wearing a helmet doesn’t help much. It may even lead to a false sense of security. A helmet won’t prevent you being mangled under the wheels of a truck...

‘By concentrating on head injuries we risk losing sight of the real danger... Cycling is safe on its own. It’s other vehicles that are the danger.’

—From the Editorial, page 3