- A Montreal city councillor is proposing a new law that would make helmets mandatory for all cyclists under the age of 18.
- Personally, I think they should be mandatory for everyone.
- What do you think?
Bike helmets have really been a topic of conversation lately. It began with the introduction of electric bikes in Montreal, courtesy of Uber (and their red, JUMP bikes) followed by BIXI (and their blue BIXI bikes).
Because of the speed of these e-bikes, along with those Lime scooters you've likely seen scattered around the city, helmets are mandatory while you ride them.
These electric modes of transport reach speeds over 30 km/h, which is why it's been deemed necessary that renters need to be wearing a helmet while riding them.
But part of the issue there is that most renters won't be carrying a helmet on them before they decide to rent, meaning most riders are using these speedy shared methods of transport outside the laws in place.
Now, enter Lionel Perez, city councillor and leader of the official opposition in Montreal, Ensemble Montreal, who wants to introduce a law that would make bike helmets mandatory for cyclists riding regular pedal bikes, too.
The proposed law would only affect cyclists under the age of 18, for now, but could very well mean a step towards mandatory bike helmets for all cyclists, city wide.
Below is a video of Perez speaking about the inspiration for introducing this new law, a study that indicated the number of emergency room visits from cyclists were from those that were not wearing a helmet.
Again, this law is only being proposed for children under 18, and Perez has been clear that it's not about penalizing young people but keeping them safe, as we do when we send them out onto the hockey rink or football field with helmets on.
While for some, this law may seem completely absurd and over-reaching, I personally find no fault with it whatsoever.
This opinion likely stems from two things. I've watched two of my mother's dear friends, women who are athletic and seasoned cyclists, slowly heal and recover from truly traumatic cycling accidents and it was difficult and absolutely heartbreaking to see.
I'm happy to say they're both alive and well, now (trauma aside) - and I'm sure part of that is because they were both wearing helmets when their two separate accidents occurred.
The second factor that has me unphased by this proposition is the fact that I lived in Halifax for 5 years, a municipality that has made helmets mandatory for all cyclists since 1997.
So for me, for a very long time, it was completely out of the question to leave my house and hop on my bike without a helmet, because paying a $150 fine was not in my budget.
The other thing that a mandatory law does is remove the notion of "cool," or in this case, "uncool," as it is associated with helmets.
What I mean to say is... if everyone is wearing one, then we all look stupid together. Stupid... but safe.
The decision as to whether this law will go into effect in Montreal is yet to be made. City council will enter a debate on September the 16th, but until then, you have the opportunity to share your own opinion below.
The tweet above reads:
Fines for kids without a bike helmet!
Cyclists under the age of 18 should be required to wear a helmet when riding in the streets of Montreal, suggest the official opposition Ensemble Montreal.
What do you think about this idea?
For - Against - Undecided
The vote right now clearly shows a majority of people on side with the proposed law:
We will be keeping an eye on this proposed law and will provide an update after the city council debate on the 16th.
Until then, what do you think?