Friday, July 11, 2014

Getting rid of helmet law boosts Tel-Aviv bike share program

Eran Shchori of Israel’s peak cycling body is an advocate of helmets, yet he is opposed to helmet laws. The Advertiser spoke to him about his successful campaign to overturn the helmet law in Israel.  To help put the dangers of cycling into perspective, the Israel Bicycle Association organised a soccer game, which was played with helmets on. Heading a soccer ball has been linked to brain trauma – making soccer arguably a better candidate for helmet wearing than cycling. The press loved the images of soccer players looking silly in helmets – and it made people look again at cyclists. The efforts of Mayor Huldai, lobbyists, a handful of Knesset members and the Israel Bicycle Association brought about a modification of Israel’s helmet law in 2011, which allowed adults to cycle without a helmet in urban areas. “The number of cyclists in Israel has increased dramatically, especially in Tel Aviv,” says Eran. “The Tel-Aviv Municipality says that from 2010 to 2012 there was an increase of 54 per cent in the number of people who use their bicycles regularly.” Helmet law issues out of the way, Tel-Aviv’s bike share program has also taken off, growing from an initial 250 bikes and 35 docking stations to 1500 bicycles today at more than 150 stations. And yes, if you want to wear a helmet the Tel-O-Fun bike hire scheme can supply you with one. Read on in Bike News.

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