Belfast Telegraph

Bid to make bike helmets compulsory

A £50 penalty may have to be paid by parents of young cyclists in Northern Ireland who do not wear safety headgear, it has been revealed.

Helmets would become compulsory for all if politicians go ahead with the proposals.

But payments for not wearing them will be suspended if it is a first offence and the person later purchases the protective equipment.

A spokesman for brain injury charity Headway said: "There are still children being injured in cycling accidents so more needs to be done through both education and legislation."

Helmet wearing rates across the UK have increased steadily since 1994 with up to a third wearing them on major roads.

The charity's spokesman added: "Alongside the evidence that cycle helmets save lives and prevent lifelong disability is the common sense notion that wearing a helmet surely provides one's fragile skull with more protection than not wearing one.

"Too many Headway service users sustained their brain injuries as a result of cycling accidents. While some spend their days regretting not wearing a helmet, others have been told by the doctors treating them that had they not been wearing one, they would not have survived. We all think 'it will never happen to me'.

"Unfortunately, the evidence proves it does happen and cyclists need to accept they are at risk and better protect themselves before it's too late."

SDLP Assembly member Pat Ramsey has finished the first draft of a Stormont bill to be submitted next month.

According to the Transport Research Laboratory helmets were effective in most accidents but that depended on the size of the injured party and type of incident.

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From Belfast Telegraph