Making Brisbane more Cyclist Friendly

Looking at ways to encourage Brisbane citizens to hop on their bikes (Liana Walker)

Brisbane citizens are often encouraged to opt for riding bicycles over other modes of transport. They’re better for the environment and are a great way for people to stay fit. But how do you encourage more people to swap their car keys for a bicycle helmet?

Councillor Adrian Schrinner has proposed the answer may be making the helmets optional.

Currently in Queensland failing to wear a helmet will set you back $126 and for some this hefty fine discourages use of bicycles for smaller routes. However since the introduction of the mandatory helmet laws in the early 1990’s cyclist have accounted for between two to five per cent of all road fatalities annually, significantly lower than countries without mandatory helmet laws.

Why do we have mandatory helmet laws?

Will relaxing helmet laws result in more riders? (Liana Walker)

Wearing a helmet reduces serious injury by nearly 70% as found in an  international report into helmet safety presented at the Safety 2016 world safety conference in Finland.

RACQ Spokesperson Lauren Ritchie says helmet laws were initially brought into Australia because of their proven record of protecting riders from serious had injury or trauma.

“Helmets have been proven time and time again to save people from death and from serious ongoing trauma or brain injuries,” she says.

“So to relax (the laws) even on some routes is not a good idea in our minds.”

However CEO of Bicycle Queensland Ben Wilson says most bike users already choose to wear a helmet so relaxation could encourage more riders.

“In Australia in the medical world we’re getting very few head injuries because people are wearing helmets,” he says. 

“In most cases helmet wearing rates vary between 60-80 per cent.

“So we could actually take off the law that has gained more and more acceptance as time goes by and replace it with more of an international standard and get slightly more people riding bikes.”

He says the laws need to reflect the bicycle infrastructure available.

“The helmet law has to address the fact that helmets generally are not compulsory with the basis being in countries where there are far better bike facilities than what we have,” he said. 

“Or they’re in countries with even less bike facilities than what Australia has and in those cases its very high injury rates, such as third world or developing countries where the injuries are quite catastrophic.” 

How do you make cycling safer?

Safer riding facilities overseas (Paul Krueger – CC)

When the question was put out to Brisbane Residents on Facebook on if Brisbane City Council should be doing more to encourage safe cycling, overwhelmingly users were in support of using building separated bicycle lane infrastructure.

Notorious cyclist black spot Stanley St, Woolloongabba, is one of the first spots in Brisbane to undergo separated bike lane infrastructure. Other projects include the Kingsford Smith Drive, Hamilton and Sylvan Road, Toowong.

Mr Wilson agrees separated bike lanes is the best way to get people on their bikes.

There’s no better solution than separated bike facilities, that’s a proven fact that’s out there,” he says. 

Brisbane Girl Deceived By Coriander Hating Boyfriend

(Image source: Cairns Post, Brendan Radke)

A Brisbane girl was sent into a state of distress when her boyfriend threatened to remove her chilli garlic olives from their shopping if she didn’t take back a coriander plant.

18-year-old Jasmin Watters was collecting potted herbs at her local Coles with Lachlan Fuller when she noticed coriander was on sale.

“I picked it up and he literally told me he’d put back my chilli garlic olives if I didn’t put the plant back,” Ms Watters said.

Ms Watters was shaken by the event and didn’t believe Mr Fuller even knew the difference between coriander and parsley.

“I know I definitely don’t.”

When informed coriander was simply a type of parsley, Mr Fuller’s words spoke for themselves.

“I like parsley,” Mr Fuller said.

“I used to eat it off the bush at Nanna’s.”

Close friend and co-worker of Ms Watters, Shannon Taylor, said Mr Fuller is a liar.

“He lied,” Ms Taylor said.

Another co-worker and expert in deception, Demi Leigh, agreed with Ms Taylor, saying Mr Fuller was a traitor.

“Lachlan fuller more like Lachlan full of lies,” Ms Leigh said.

Ms Watters plans on returning to her local Coles to purchase the herbs at a later date.