Repeal mandatory bike helmet legislation
Vancouver will never convince anyone of being the 'greenest' city without a huge modal shift towards cycling (walking, and transit).
Such a shift will not happen until the average Vancouverite cycles on a daily basis. This will not happen without better infrastructure, progressive policy, AND repealing mandatory helmet legislation.
Yes, this is a provincial law. However, I am sure that Vancouver has the ability to make this change happen.
p.s., the safety and health benefits of more people cycling far outweigh the potential safety benefits of bicycle helmets.
chris thoreau commented
I am not sure I support a helmet law OR repealing the law. In many progressive European cities, helmets are not required and there are very few incidents with cyclists. However, this is because there are very well established biking routes in these places which completely separate cars from bicycles. Further, there are strong laws that support cycling including large fines for drivers who injure or even interrupt cyclists. The reason we have to wear helmets here is because our current cycling system is inadequate and it is therefore dangerous to ride without one. Our biking routes in Vancouver are simply roads designated as biking routes - but still roads. Ironically, these routes are quire dangerous (take 10th avenue for example) as they are quite narrow and actually bring vehicles in closer contact with cyclists.
For those of you with kids, would you let your child ride a bike without a helmet? And if not, you need to set the example by wearing one yourself.
Take this opportunity to reallocate your votes to something that will really make a difference in this city - these are wasted votes.
Love to Bike commented
Repeal, I know what's best for my head not the state.
Peter Fischer commented
The success of any public bike share system is dependent on repealing this law. Few people will rent a bike if it also means renting a helmet--yuck!
Brad Kilburn commented
certainly, Vancouver has the power to enact a by-law that excludes people riding a bicycle within its borders to be exempt from the provincial law.
This would increase the amount of cyclists and subsequently increase their safety.
Richard Tulloch commented
We're having the same debate in Australia. It's the hottest internet topic outside banning the burqa.
Chris Van Ihinger commented
I too wear my helmet to work and everywhere else I cycle. I also keep it on whilst shopping, so shop owners, particularly those whose businesses are adjacent to designated bicycle lanes, can see that cyclists form a considerable part of their customer base. All the same, I consider the mandatory helmet laws counter-productive as they actually discourage cycling. Some would say that helmet laws actually contribute to the obesity epidemic by discouraging cycle use.
The law should be repealed.
Why? Simple, bicycle helmet legislation is a health, safety and financial disaster wherever it has been tried. You need a helmet on your bike as much (or maybe even less) than you need one when seatbelted and airbag protected in your car. Given wearing one in your car isn't compulsory you can add discriminatory as well as a health & safety disaster.
Who would keep such a law except the politicians which passed it?
Luis Goddyn commented
Although I choose to wear a helmet, I would rather that others cycled without a helmet than not ride at all! More folks cycling, even when unhelmeted, results in a net public health gain and less taxes for me! BC's law was passed without considering this now-well-established principle, and thus needs to be reviewed.
Brad Kilburn commented
I vote to repeal this failed law.
It's purpose was clearly stated which was to reduce deaths to BC cyclists and this has not happened.
I believe it is an unjustified law because the risk of death on a bicycle is no greater than the risk of death as a pedestrian or motorist. The abilities of a bicycle helmet fall well short of preventing death because almost all deaths come to cyclists as a result of collisions with motor vehicles and these forces are too great for what a bicycle helmet can provide.
The emphasis on wearing helmets has eclipsed more important and effective methods of improving cycling safety resulting in more danger for the cyclist, rather than less danger for the cyclist.
A substantial portion of people do not agree with the law and refuse to wear a helmet in spite of it. An adult should have the right to choose and if they do, more people would cycle and their health, as well as others, health will benefit.
Who cares about Green? Helmet legislation is another manifestation of the nanny-state trying to manage every detail of our lives. We are supposed to delegate authority to government not them to us.
Don't know if you've all seen this yet, but it turns out helmet-wearing isn't actually mandatory in Vancouver http://flavors.me/situpvancouver I think this site is supposed to be a bit of a joke, but it got me thinking!
Luis Goddyn commented
I wear a helmet, but the legislation only discourages cycling and general fitness.
Christopher Porter commented
Interesting article on the helmet debate in Australia, where a judge recently sided with a cyclist who argued helmets laws are unnecessary, and helmets might be more dangerous to cyclists.
Janna L. Sylvest commented
Well neil21, I commuted by bike wearing a helmet to my downtown law practice for ten years and was quite able to overcome "bicycle hair" and "frankenstein forehead". It just took a little planning ahead and arriving early enough for work so that I could transform from bike to office attire and appearance. Little fuss for no muss! But again, we digress ... the whole "I won't or can't bike if I have to wear a helmet" thing is a tad too trivial a digression from the overwhelming sensible objective “I should and could get around without a car.”
To publicly answer MaryEllen’s question, this idea is being discussed because someone pitched it and others wanted to talk about it. Having a presence on the site does not mean that the City supports the idea or is being held to the ideas being proposed. (See the "how your input will be used" section here: http://www.talkgreentous.ca/how_to.php)
@MaryEllen I'm not saying don't wear a helmet: I'm sure they do stop your brain moving (although it's interesting that cyclist fatalities reported by ICBC for the last decade split roughly 50/50 wearing/not helmet: maybe there's another factor, e.g. jumping red lights?).
I'm saying don't make it illegal to enjoy the seawall with the wind in your hair. If you want to mountainbike or race, totally wear a helmet. I just don't think it should be against the law to pootle hatless along the seawall on an upright dutchie.
@neil21 You mentioned that seatbelts stop your body moving, well helmets stop your brain moving by absorbing the energy from the object you're hitting! And, the helmet-band on the forehead...it's a right of passage! Or maybe, the helmet is too tight =D
@Tasha, @Janna re seatbelt comparison. This may sound vain but many businesspeople would not want to turn up to a meeting with a helmet-band imprinted on their forehead.
This is illegal in Vancouver and the voters here don't think it should be: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16nine/1590977634/in/set-72157594400316816/
Seatbelts stop your body moving if somebody collides with you. Helmets do not stop your body moving if somebody collides with you. A similar level of protection would require full body armour.
Alternatively, the greatest and cheapest way to improve cyclist safety is to increase cyclist numbers. This can be done by encouraging people to believe that using a bike is a normal way to go work.
While safety-gear is mandatory, pedalling will never be viewed as a normal way for a 45 year-old woman to travel 5km to work. It is very important that in 2015, pedalling *is* viewed as a normal way for a 45 year-old woman to travel to work.
Why is the City of Vancouver even discussing this? There were apparently 22 cyclists killed in Vancouver since January 2010! Keep the Helmet Law for cyclists in the Province of BC. Let's go further...let's have a helmet law for small-wheeled vehicles on streets, i.e. skaters/scooters. I wear my helmet and I don't even notice that I have it on. Or maybe you want "just kids" to be the only ones who are mandated to wear helmets, like in Ontario. We're not Denmark or the Netherlands, we live in N.A.....a car culture. Wearing helmets is a lifesaving move. You might even save your own life! If you want to go greener in Vancouver, then try getting more electric cars on the road. That will reduce pollution! A definite no to repeal mandatory bike helmet legislation in BC. I can't believe were talking about this again. Last week, they were talking about repealing the helmet law in Ontario, which is just for those under 18 years old. I guess the thought is that when you're older than 18 you will never make a mistake or someone in a car will see that you're over 18 and be extra careful because you don't have to wear a helmet! Who knew!
People that ride bikes downtown don't even wear helmets anyways and this "law" is never enforced. Cyclists in this city don't even follows the rude of the road. If you want this city to be a greener city it doesn't start with forcing the "average" person to do anything. It starts with forcing the big boys to go green. We also need to actually reward people for being green in this city, not forcing them to ride a bike–which sucks.
I think this city rips us off. The parking prices are ridiculous, the transit costs blow, and it's so expensive to live in the city the people that ride in the city can only afford a bike. I'd like to see someone ride a bike from Mapleridge. How about this, stop importing junk from China, have things here made in Canada, and how about rewarding people that drive electric cars and hybrids with free/cheaper parking in the city. That'd be a better start then a dumb helmet law.