The I Quit Sugar guru has everyone talking again. But this time it’s not for the reason you’d think….
Sarah Wilson is an avid bike rider but not so enthusiastic about the mandatory matching headwear.
The journalist, blogger, food guru and Official Quitter of Sugar posted a rather controversial picture to her Instagram account last night. The image implies that Wilson is against laws that make it compulsory to wear a bike helmet.
Wilson captioned the photo:
“This is what happened when mandatory helmet laws were introduced into Australia.”
The response from her followers was immediate and extremely angry. Many were concerned to see such an influential media figure arguing against devices that could potentially save lives.
This is not the first time that the sugar-free guru has made her strong opinion on bicycle helmets known.
In 2010, Wilson wrote a blog post titled “If you don’t like wearing a bike helmet, you might like to read this…“. In that article the blogger explained that it’s her personal choice not to wear a helmet (unless racing) because she believes there isn’t conclusive proof that they actually save lives.
“Helmets deter people from riding. But regular riders live longer because the health effects of cycling far outweigh the risk of death from crashing. There is ample data to back this,” Wilson argues.
Adding later that, “The ‘science’ on whether helmets actually protect us personally is very inconclusive and no randomised controlled trials have been done on the safety of bike helmets.”
While Wilson’s view is unorthodox – it’s actually a position held by a small but vocal proportion of the community. There are many who suggest compulsory wearing of the item is counterproductive, not particularly effaceable and discourages people from riding at all.
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One parliamentary committee report out of Queensland last year, suggested the state consider a trial where helmets were made voluntary: “The report notes Australia is one of the few countries in the world that has compulsory helmet laws and the committee was not convinced there was sufficient worldwide evidence of the safety outcomes of compulsory helmet wearing to justify the mandating of helmet wearing for all cyclists”.
Some cycling enthusiasts argue that the environmental and health benefits of encouraging more people to ride bikes, outweigh the risks of not wearing a helmet. Professor Chris Rissell wrote for The Conversation, “In 1991 Australia introduced mandatory bicycle helmet laws requiring all adults and children to wear a helmet at all times when riding a bike, despite opposition from cycling groups. The legislation increased helmet use – from about 30 to 80% – but was coupled with a 30 to 40% decline in the number of people cycling”.