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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1845 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

On 19th February, 1996 the deceased had been riding a bicycle across Northbourne Avenue at a set of pedestrian traffic lights, and against the red light. She was struck by a south-bound car being driven by a learner-driver. Traffic conditions were heavy at the time.

Several witnesses said that the deceased, after waiting with others, suddenly started to ride across the road into the path of oncoming traffic. The driver of the car which hit her was travelling at about 60 Kph, i.e. 10 Kphs below the speed limit, and had almost no chance of avoiding the cycle.

The deceased's head hit the windscreen of the car, and she died of severe closed head injuries on 19th February, 1996. She owned a bicycle helmet, but for reasons unknown, was not wearing it at the time of the accident.

Two experienced Police accident investigators, Sgt Weise and Const. Allen, gave evidence that, in their opinion, the wearing of a bicycle helmet by the deceased may have reduced the severity of the head injuries sustained by her to the extent that they may have been non-fatal. They also expressed the view that wearing a helmet would not have increased the severity of the impact. I agree with those comments.

In view of current community interest in this area of road safety, as reflected recently in the correspondence section of "The Canberra Times", I believe that this case may be of relevance in supporting the Traffic Act requirement that cyclists wear helmets.

Mr Speaker, I think those are timely words, and I commend them to the house.

Education - Voluntary Parent Contribution Scheme

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training) (4.51): Mr Speaker, I seek the indulgence of the Assembly - I have spoken to Ms McRae and Mr Moore about this - in relation to the Government's response to the report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on voluntary parental contributions. A number of points have caused certain parts of the Government's response to be redone. I will not be able to present the response this Thursday, but I will be able to table it on 26 June. I seek leave of the Assembly to enable me now to table that response on 26 June.

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