One Street News

June-July 2015

Vol. 8, Issue 4

1. Australian Mandatory Helmet Law Challenged
2. Defying Poverty with Bicycles PowerPoint
3. Resources - Safety in Numbers: 2015 Update
4. Hot Topics – Narrower Lanes, Safer Streets

Australian Mandatory Helmet Law Challenged

(Originally published in The Bike Helmet Blog)

Readers who have followed bicycle helmet initiatives over the years will be familiar with the Australian law. Australia and New Zealand are the only two countries with all-ages, fully enforced mandatory bicycle helmet laws. These laws have been central to arguments opposing proposals for similar laws because of the evidence showing significant reduction in cycling after the law was enacted.

Well, after many years of calling for a repeal of their law, some Australian bicycle advocates are thrilled to announce that it is being seriously challenged. I received the below call to action in my inbox last evening. I’m not sure if non-Australians are welcome to respond, but if you are Australian, please submit your response by August 24th. Also, please forward this on to any Australians you know.

It’s been a long, dull slog to this point, but suddenly your action could make an enormous difference!


The Australian Federal Senate has appointed a committee to inquire into “Personal Choice and Community Impacts”. The Inquiry, instigated by Senator Leyonhjelm, is better known as the Nanny State Inquiry. The committee is currently seeking submissions from the Australian community.

Senator Leyonhjelm has singled out mandatory bicycle helmet laws as the foremost example of where the State exceeds its proper bounds by interfering in a matter that should be left to the individual. It would be a pity to miss out on this opportunity to be heard, and to influence government policy.

I understand that many of our supporters may be reluctant to become involved, on account of political differences with the inquiry’s instigator. It must be pointed out that this is a Federal Government inquiry, and that Senator Leyonhjelm’s role is as a member of the committee, and that it is not a vehicle for any particular party or point of view.

My understanding is that the committee do not want to restrict discussion to submissions from the usual health and safety professionals. Rather, they are seeking a broader input to include members of the public who can bring before them an understanding of the impact of a range of “nanny state” regulations on their day to day lives.

I know that many of our supporters have the knowledge and skills to include detailed analysis of the many failures of our mandatory helmet laws, and I would encourage them to include this in their submissions. But please, if you are just someone who has been put off riding a bike, fined or harassed by the police and the courts, or are just plain upset by the dead end path that mandatory helmet laws have taken us down, please make your voice heard.

The closing date for submissions is 24th August. There will be some opportunities to be heard in person by the committee in all State and Territory capitals in the ensuing months. It would be best to make it clear in your submission if you wish to be invited to appear in person. Details of how to make a submission are at

Thank you for your support.

Alan Todd
President, Freestyle Cyclists

Defying Poverty with Bicycles PowerPoint

By: Sue Knaup, Executive Director

I’ve posted in our Defying Poverty with Bicycles blog a few times about attending the Velo-city conference in Nantes, France this past June. While there, I had the opportunity to present on One Street’s Social Bike Business program. I was very pleased by the response from attendees, many of whom spoke with me afterward about their own, similar program or their dreams of launching one. Some asked for a copy of the presentation. I’ve also had this request since returning to Arizona.

So I just uploaded the PowerPoint presentation to our Social Bike Business web page (linked above) and am also posting it here for those of you interested in seeing it. You’ll find an overview of the program as well as some excellent model programs from around the world.

Enjoy and let me know if you’d like more information about any of it.

Resources - Safety in Numbers: 2015 Update

Many readers of this newsletter have used Safety in Numbers data to show that by increasing the number of people walking or biking on any particular street, crashes with these vulnerable travelers decrease. The first comprehensive paper on this topic, written by Peter Jacobsen and published in 2003, did an exceptional job of presenting this counter intuitive result. It has been at the center of many successful campaigns, countering opponents who tried to argue that increasing cycling and walking would increase crashes – sorry, not so.

But Peter Jacobsen found that his original paper was missing many of the strongest arguments that prove his original hypothesis. And so he spent much of the past year bolstering his arguments with further research and responses to questions he gathered over the past decade.

And now we can point to this new and improved paper that presents Safety in Numbers in such a clear and concise form that few decision makers will bother to try to counter it. Find it on One Street’s Papers & Publications page under Safety in Numbers.

Hot Topics – Narrower Lanes, Safer Streets

Traffic engineers all over the world do their best to argue for the widest travel lanes they can get. Here in the U.S., 12 feet has been the rule for decades. Arguments for narrower lanes in order to make streets friendly for cyclists and walkers are met with cries of danger.

This recently published paper, Narrow Lanes, Safer Streets, debunks these myths in a very straightforward manner using clear graphs and data. If you are struggling to convince your road department to accept narrower travel lanes, this paper will be a useful tool.