Bike hel­mets manda­tory by April 1, 2015

The Compass - - NEWS - BY JAMESMCLEOD The Tele­gram

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.

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“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.

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