Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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NZ Radio show quotes BHSI out of context

Summary: On March 13, 2018 we were interviewed on a New Zealand radio show. Comments we made in jest have been picked up by other shows out of context and represented as serious views.

We were happy to be interviewed by Wendyl Nissen on the Long Lunch show on RadioLIVE in Auckland about the current questioning of helmet laws in New Zealand. Ms. Nissen is a good interviewer and we felt relaxed enough to joke when she asked about why in the world people would not wear a helmet. Randy Swart replied with a chuckle that sometimes you think they don't have much to protect. But he went on to list some serious reasons: libertarian resistance to state intervention in the rider's cycling, ruined hair styling before arrival at work. The joking was in the voice context.

At least one other NZ radio station picked that up immediately and repeated it as a serious comment. We hope that listeners were not be misled. We have always had respect for the views of anti-helmet--or more often anti-helmet law--riders. Our pages on mandatory helmet laws and helmet law critics reflect that. In particular, we respect New Zealand's rational approach when they adopted a national all-ages helmet law back in 1994. When you ask a rider here why they don't wear a helmet they often say "I never thought about it." That is not the case in the New Zealand discussion. New Zealand has no lessons to learn from the US experience.