STATE Government statistics show that bicycle deaths are up from 2015, yet Sunshine Coast cyclists still refuse to wear helmets.
The Queensland Road Crash Weekly Report has confirmed that eight cyclists have died on Queensland roads this year compared with three in 2015, yet Sunshine Coast recreational cyclists can still be seen regularly riding without a helmet along all major tourist strips.
University of the Sunshine Coast adolescent risk researcher Bridie Scott-Parker said it was common to see people riding around the region without their helmets - especially teenagers.
"We need to stop seeing mandatory adult helmet laws as a negative impact on the community,” Dr Scott-Parker said.
"Australia is a world leader in safety. We were the first to implement random breath testing, seat-belt laws and we also pioneered the graduated driver licence system.”
Dr Scott-Parker's research found that adolescents were more concerned about looking silly than keeping safe.
She said the community needed to focus on four key areas to increase participation.
"Enforcement, Engineering, Education and Engagement are the key principles to ensuring that helmet laws work,” she said.
Peak body Bicycle Queensland CEO Ben Wilson said not wearing helmets had become unofficially condoned by coastal communities.
"Beach culture is more about thongs and boardies rather than safety gear,” Mr Wilson said.
"Abolishing helmet laws would most likely see an increase in participation but head injuries would become more common.
"It is a vexed question whether helmet laws are good or bad.”
Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in the world with enforced adult helmet laws.
A recent West Australian newspaper reader poll found that 67% of riders want the law scrapped.
The 2011 Australian National Strategy to increase cycling participation failed, with figures showing almost a million fewer riders last year.
A further study found that 80% of Queenslanders walked or rode to school in 1977 compared with the current levels of 5%.
The Israeli Government reported a 54% increase in cycling participation in Tel Aviv after the country abolished helmet laws in 2011.
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