Bike helmets mandatory by April 1, 2015
Bicycling enthusiasts will have an extra layer of safety when the province enacts helmet safety regulations on April 1, 2015.
The PC party introduced a bill into the legislature last Tuesday that will make it mandatory for anybody riding a bicycle to wear a helmet or face a fine of between $25 and $180.
“We believe this amendment will save lives and needless injury,” Service NL Minister Tony Cornect told reporters.
Representatives from the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association and the Brain Injury Association applauded the move, saying that the rate of bicycle injuries in the province is much higher than the Canadian average.
“Prevention is the best strategy to protect against brain injury. A helmet absorbs the force of an impact to the head and shields the brain from injury,” Dr. Michelle Ploughman, neuroscientist and board member NLBIA said.
“Brain injury happens in seconds but the effects last a lifetime. We see first-hand the effects of brain injury on thinking, memory, movement and personality so we are extremely pleased that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is taking this step to prevent brain injury though new legislation mandating helmet use.”
Opposition parties were board, too.
This is something that the Liberal party has been asking for for a couple years now, and MHA Paul Lane was happy to take a share of the credit.
“We have no problem if government wants to take some of the ideas we’re putting forward and enact good legislation. We’re happy to be of service in that regard,” he said.
New Democrat MHA Gerry Rogers said it was a good move, and something citizens have been asking for, although she thinks it doesn’t go far enough.
The provincewide helmet law will cover only bicycles. Roller blades, scooters and unicycles will not be subject to mandatory helmet use.
For children under 16 years old, parents or guardians are responsible for making sure that helmets are worn.
Cornect said making the law mandatory for adults, too, is about setting an example.
“It is our hope that by making bicycle helmet use mandatory for all users, parents, guardians and all adults will embrace the safety culture we need to create,” he said.