It appears that in B.C., bicycle riders may be getting special treatment compared to motorcycle riders when it comes to helmet laws. This morning when I turned on my computer, one of the first articles I came across was in the online version of The Province Newspaper.
The headline of article reads:
“Critics want helmet law eased”
“Bike-share group seeks exemption, while MDs say helmets save lives”
The article outlines how some “special interest groups” and at least one government official are lobbying to eliminate the mandatory helmet law for bicycle riders. They claim that mandatory helmet use is inconvenient, and prevents a lot of people from using bicycles for short trips. Instead of using bicycles, these people are turning to using their cars, riding the bus, or taking taxis. Vancouver is in the midst of planning an expensive bicycle-share program, and these critics claim that mandatory helmet use will hurt City Hall’s plans to get people out of cars and onto bicycles.
Here are a few lines from the article in the Province:
The wheels are spinning in a bid to change B.C.’s controversial mandatory bicycle-helmet law.
As Vancouver plans a big-budget, bicycle-share program, critics of the law say mandatory helmet use will only hurt the move by city hall to get people out of their cars and onto bikes.
Chris Bruntlett is among those lobbying the B.C. government to change the law. He says helmet use should be the choice of the rider for slow, short, bike trips.
Meanwhile, the helmet law is even being questioned by those close to the premier. Ted Dixon, B.C. Liberal Party policy chairman, said he thinks the issue could be a topic of debate for the next election.
“We need to bring the responsibility back to the individual who is riding the bike,” he said. “My person-al view is the individual is best able to assess the risk.”
Motorcycle Riders Are Being Discriminated Against
What I find especially troubling about this lobbying, is that our government beefed up the motorcycle helmet laws less than three weeks ago. It is now mandatory that on public highways, motorcycle riders use helmets that are DOT, ECE or Snell certified.
In my opinion, the new motorcycle helmet laws are fine, and the “beanie” helmets that some motorcycle riders were using are little better than a salad bowl in a crash. Also, I grew up with a friend that had to have the steel plate in his head changed many times as he grew up. Skulls expand at a much faster rate than steel plates do when you are growing up. He unfortunately crashed his bicycle on a neighborhood street when he was about 10 years old. Small boulders on the side of the can road punch a nasty hole in your skull in a bicycle crash, in fact, just as quickly as they would in a motorcycle crash.
I think that both the government and these special interest groups need to look at the “big picture”, and realize that the mandatory helmet laws are good for both bicycle riders and motorcycle riders. They should not be trying to eliminate safety regulations for the sole purpose of pushing their bicycle use agenda. They should be reminded that when you have a crash at 30 to 40 klm/hr, it does not matter whether you are on a motorcycle or a bicycle, the potential for injury is about the same.
Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Also see my article at West Coast Biker News.
Your comments are welcome on this article – see the comment form below.