21 January, 2015. 15:05
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
CYCLISTS who refuse to wear a helmet will no longer be covered by most health insurance companies if they injure themselves while riding.
A landmark bipartisan agreement between the big six Australian insurers and the NSW state government was set in stone this morning as the medical and legal fraternities say they’ve grown tired of “doing ‘pro-bono’ work for broke artists and baristas who suffer a brain injury falling off their fixie”.
“If you need life-saving emergency and don’t have private health insurance, you’re costing the Australian tax payer hundreds of thousands of dollars,” says Prof. Ralf Turner, a director of an inner Sydney hospital.
“Quite frankly, a lot of doctors are sick and tired of doing marathon brain surgeries for very, very little reward,”
“We’re pleased that NSW is looking to both privatise and ‘Americanize’ our hospitals so only those who deserve healthcare can access it.” he said.
Under the new agreement, those who need life-saving surgery after a helmet-less push bike accident will most likely be left to die in a hospital corridor, as doctors would no longer be covered by their own personal indemnity insurance.
Helmets, knee pads, wrist guards and elbow pads will be subsidised by the NSW Government, who say they plan to make the protective equipment free from June 1.
“We want to make it clear that we support cyclists,” said a government spokesman.
“That’s why we’re planning on making protective equipment free for those people them to access,”
“However, if they choose not to wear it, health insurance companies will not insure them for cycling injuries.” he said.
One Sydney cyclist and medical student has come out in defence of they new agreement, saying that it’s a “sensible measure”.
Kate Williston says that people are unaware of the dangers associated with cycling until they find themselves getting injured.
“During my prac, I saw so many cycling injures,”
“You’d never read about in the Herald because the cycling lobby is so powerful these days,”
“But there are hundreds of young people each day coming in with cycling-related injuries,” she said.
“As a medical student, I suggest that every biker and cyclist take up the government’s offer and get yourself some gear!”
The decision has prompted a haphazard knee-jerk pseudo-protest from cyclists, who say it’s their choice whether to wear a helmet or not.
President of the Sydney Road Cyclist Club, Epiphany-Rhaige Holmes says that it’s she doesn’t need “a rich old man in a suit telling her to wear a helmet”.
“Sometimes, helmets aren’t practical,” she said.
“There are certain situations where wearing a helmet could do more harm than good,”
“This is Australia. If one day I need surgery to save my life, then I shouldn’t have to pay for it.”