It's hard to understand why, after more than a quarter of a century of their successful operation in Canberra, Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury has chosen to reopen the debate about our mandatory bike helmet laws.
Australia was the first country in the world to make the helmets, which are proven life savers, compulsory.
The first laws were passed in Victoria in July, 1990. The ACT was the last jurisdiction to come on board, passing its legislation exactly two years later.
Mr Rattenbury again floated the possibility of a relaxation of the current laws, which make helmets compulsory for all riders, regardless of age, the type of bike they are riding or where it is being ridden, at the release of the 2018 Road Safety Report Card on Thursday.
"The issue is one that throws up a tension between immediate trauma and public health benefits," he said.
"If removing the requirement for helmets actually encourages more people to cycle, and the overall health benefits that come from that outweigh the risk of a immediate trauma from an accident ... it's a question that's worth asking."
That, with the greatest respect, is a time worn and largely discredited argument.
The health benefits to be derived from exempting people riding in "certain environments" would be minimal at best.
Nobody is going to shed tens of kilos or double their aerobic capacity from pedaling a ride share bicycle a kilometre or so around Civic or the Parliamentary Triangle once or twice a week.
Most serious riders and commuters cover significant distances on the roads, shared pathways and bicycle trails in and around the city on a daily basis.
The vast majority of these wouldn't consider venturing into the traffic without the protection of a helmet.
It's a question of consequences. Yes, if helmets weren't compulsory more people might ride more often. That's a lot of "ifs", "buts", "mights" and "maybes".
That has to be balanced against the likely outcomes of having a fall or being involved in a collision with a car while not wearing a helmet. These can include sudden death, acquired brain injuries and skull fractures.
Let's not forget that the strongest advocates for compulsory helmets have always been medical practitioners with first hand knowledge of the difference they can make.
The major flaw in the "no helmet" lobby's argument is that bike helmets are very low on the list of reasons why people choose not to ride.
Respondents to a 2011 National Heart Foundation study ranked having to wear a helmet at 13th on a list of 15 reasons for not riding.
The three top reasons people chose not to ride were unsafe road conditions, the speed and volume of traffic and fears for their physical safety.
The ACT government, to be fair, has done an excellent job in addressing these issues in recent years.
The bike path adjacent to the Majura Parkway is a great example of well planned and designed cycling infrastructure that has proved highly popular with commuters and pleasure riders alike.
The best way to get more people out of their cars and onto their bikes is to follow through with more of the same.
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