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Mandatory helmet law will not make cycling safer

Mandatory helmet law will not make cycling safer

We need better infrastructure, safer vehicles and education By Anastasia Korae A few weeks ago, the Cyprus parliament passed an amendment to the Bicycles Law…

Wednesday, Aug 17

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We need better infrastructure, safer vehicles and education

By Anastasia Korae

A few weeks ago, the Cyprus parliament passed an amendment to the Bicycles Law making helmet wearing mandatory for cyclists moving on roads, cycle paths, cycle corridors and cycle lanes, as well as for any passenger carried in a special bicycle seat.

The new law also authorises the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to approve or reject helmet types. It will come into force οn January 28, 2023, six months after its publication, to allow time for preparation. Offenders will be subject to a fine of €50 in accordance with the Fixed Penalties Law.

The MP who proposed the said amendment, Chrysis Pantelides, alleged that there is an increase in road accidents involving cyclists, and that the use of protective helmets could potentially save them from serious injury and/or death. I have no doubt that Pantelides had good intentions, thinking that he would be improving cycling safety. But I’m curious to look at the statistics he used, which were also not questioned by the majority of the MPs who voted in favour of this law. Did the data include detailed information about the circumstances of the accidents? Did it include information about driver/rider behaviour, lighting, speed, terrain, and is there, indeed, compelling evidence that helmets can prevent serious injury and/or death?

The reason I am saying this is that international literature suggests otherwise. According to the European Cyclists’ Federation, serious head injuries are rare among cyclists and “the evidence in favour of helmet […]

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