WA cycling groups are divided over the issue of mandatory helmet legislation after Fremantle City Council last week revealed a proposal to introduce a two-year no-helmet trial in the port city.
Independent Fremantle MP Adele Carles and Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt plan to make bicycle helmets optional for adults cycling on separated cycleways, dual-use paths and roads with a speed limit of 50km/h or less, as a measure to boost cycling numbers in the city.
The Fremantle council will need State Government support to relax the bicycle helmet law and allow the trial to go ahead.
Bicycle Transport Alliance spokesperson Heinrich Benz welcomed the plan and said more evidence-based research was needed to shape policy.
He said he would not be campaigning for a change in the law.
"I think a trial is a very good idea and anything that collects data on cycling is good for future policies but the alliance will not be formally campaigning to have the law lifted," he said.
"Removing helmet legislation may lead to increased cycle numbers but it is not something we will be pushing. There are more important things we are worried about.
"This topic is a bit of a red herring - it is a distraction from the lack of spending on cycling infrastructure that Perth cyclists desperately want and need."
Mr Benz said when cyclists were injured on WA roads, one of the most common scenarios was that the rider was hit by a car travelling in the same direction.
"Just recently, a man who was wearing a helmet, wearing a safety vest and had lights on his bike got hit by a car and was killed," he said.
"When a car collides with a cyclist, no matter if they are wearing a helmet or not, they are probably going to die.
"We need to invest money and time into making roads safer for cyclists and look into things like more cycle paths, safe passing distances and lower speed limits - above things like helmet laws."
Bicycle WA chief executive Jeremey Murray said the trial was flawed and would not lead to an increase in cycling numbers.