As of April 2015, all bicyclists in Newfoundland and Labrador will be required to wear a bicycle helmet when cycling on the province’s roadways.
This amendment to the Highway Traffic Act was introduced this week in the House of Assembly.
This new law is for bicyclists of all ages, just as it should be.
The reason, of course, is to reduce serious head and brain injuries, bringing with it costs to the health care system. It only takes seconds for such an injury to happen and can have lifelong consequences.
The new legislation will exist side-by-side with municipal bylaws for those municipalities which have them. Having the provincial legislation alongside the local bylaws should make it even that more effective.
But that’s only if police at all levels carry out the enforcement on this particular law, which is the toughest part of the legislation. Authorities cannot engage in a chase with a disobeying rider so they will be counting on people using commond sense and abiding by the law.
Fines for not wearing a bicycle helmet while riding will range from $25 to $180. Parents of children under 16 will be responsible if they knowingly allow their children to cycle without a helmet.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Brain Injury Association has been working to increase bicycle helmet use among the province's school-aged children and now with it being mandatory for all ages, the amount of brain injuries should be drastically reduced.
Certainly adults should lead by example by wearing their helmets and those bicyclists who have already chosen to make helmet use a regular practice are to be commended.
Good on the provincial government for bringing in this new law for the coming spring and to all the individuals and groups that advocated for it. It’s a smart move.
Now, onto ATVs and snowmobiles helmets.