Helmets a must for cyclists

RACQ WARNING

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Angela Johnson, owner of Bike Shop & Hire, Port Douglas, said she could not stress enough the importance of wearing a helmet. Image: Supplied.
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COVID-19 has seen more people turn to exercise and like other cities and towns across the state, Port Douglas has seen an increase in cyclists on the town's paths and roads.

This influx also means rules such as the wearing of helmets need to be adhered to and the RACQ has issued a safety warning to cyclists after concerning new data revealed almost 5000 people were fined for failing to wear a helmet in Queensland in the last two years.

Infringement data provided to the Club by the Department of Transport and Main Roads from 2018-19 revealed it was the most common bicycle offence in the State.

And Angela Johnson, owner of Bike Shop & Hire, Port Douglas, said she could not stress enough the importance of wearing a helmet.

“I know there has been talk of relaxing this rule. I am dead against any change. It is imperative to wear a helmet and it does not take much to bump your head if you fall from your bike.

“We ensure that with every rental, a helmet is provided. This is something we not only encourage, but feel strongly about,” she said.

The RACQ’s Head of Technical and Safety Policy, Steve Spalding, said it was a timely reminder for cyclists to put safety first, after Brisbane City Council data showed patronage on the city’s bikeways had increased by 91 percent on weekends and by 22 percent on weekdays in April 2020, compared to the same month last year. 

“Riding a bike is a great way to exercise and get out of the house during the current crisis, but it’s critical cyclists are putting safety first,” said Spalding.

“Wearing a helmet is the most important step cyclists can take to protect their safety and unfortunately it’s the rule they’re breaking most often.

“A severe head injury can have lifelong effects and a good quality bicycle helmet can either prevent or reduce those injuries.”

Meanwhile, since the advent of the Covid-19 virus, cycling has emerged as one of the most popular forms of exercise and there has been a huge demand for bikes.

“Since the start of the virus and over an eight-week period, we have sold 130 bikes and were fortunate in that we have a large fleet.

“But in other parts of the country, there has been a shortage of bikes. There is simply no stock. It’s just a crazy situation,” said Johnson.

Johnson said although she still had stock, bikes were at a premium, adding she had bikes on order.

“Another area that has picked up is the maintenance of bikes. The volume of servicing bikes in the workshop has increased. Bikes that have been sitting in garages or sheds for some time are now being brought in for an overhaul and being used again,” she said.

Meanwhile, Spalding said 294 Queensland cyclists were also fined for riding at night without the required lights operating and visible.

“Some 165 people were caught riding with no brakes, bell, horn or similar warning device.

“If you have recently just taken up cycling, it’s important you familiarise yourself with the rules and safety requirements for riding a bike.”


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