On 16th March, the CTC’s Roger Geffen joined forces with CTC volunteers and Sustrans staff in Londonderry to present evidence to the Environment Committee of the Assembly which is considering whether to make it illegal to ride a bike in Northern Ireland without wearing a helmet.
CTC and Sustrans oppose The Cyclists (Protective Headgear) Bill on the grounds that it would lead to a sharp reduction in the number of people choosing to cycle. Their evidence was supported by local businessmen and comments submitted to an online petition against the bill.
The bill will not be discussed again before the forthcoming Assembly elections in May. Serious questions remain regarding the costs and implementation proposed in the current draft.
I’m all for people wearing helmets and wouldn’t venture out for a ride without one, but that’s not a strong enough basis on which to base a law that will affect large numbers of people and quite probably have undesirable as well as counter-productive side effects.
Careful consideration, as well as better evidence, is needed before the Assembly take a decision that could adversely affect cycling in Northern Ireland for years – if not generations – to come.