Friday, May 31, 2013
Bicycle Helmet Laws
Bicycle helmet laws have been around in New Brunswick since 1995. In most provinces in Canada, if you are caught operating a bicycle without a helmet, the police can issue a fine. These laws vary by province, with some provinces, like Manitoba and Quebec, having no legislation in place, while some provincial helmet laws – Ontario and Alberta's – only apply to individuals under the age of 18.
In New Brunswick, all persons operating a bicycle must wear a proper helmet and, if caught without one, can receive a fine of $21. Other provinces have harsher penalties, such as British Columbia and Nova Scotia, with fines of $100 or more. These laws, and fines, have been heavily debated over the years.
Some people have argued that children definitely need to wear helmets because they are not physically as capable of handling a bicycle as adults, or unable to comprehend the safety concerns of operating a moving vehicle without protection. Sticking with this argument, some would argue that adults need to be positive role models to children; therefore, adults should also wear proper headgear.
The opposing view suggests that mature and responsible adults are fully aware of the safety issues of handling a bicycle without a helmet. This mature, responsible adult should be the one to make the decision of whether to put their safety at risk or not.
I recently asked my twitter followers for their thoughts on this touchy subject. Most people responded that helmet laws are not exactly necessary for adults that know how to operate a bicycle. One follower thinks that individuals over the age of 16 should be able to decide for themselves. Another follower thinks that helmets should be necessary on major roadways, but an option for paths and trails.
City officials and law enforcers argue that theses laws have been put in place for the safety and protection of all citizens. But, how do you, the general public, feel about these laws that we must follow? Do you think they are necessary for everyone's safety? Do you think there should be an age limit for helmet laws? Or, do you think that helmet laws are completely unnecessary?