March 28, 2012

Comments (9)

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a priority...

I do agree that enforcement of BCs helmet law can be lackadaisical, but when police do decide to focus on cyclists when enforcing traffic law, helmet tickets are the way they go.

Some 80% of all tickets given to cyclists are helmet tickets. This percentage could very well be higher if one considers tickets are given out to cyclists after accidents happen, quite often for violations that led to a collision - eg. running red lights, no lights after dark, riding on the wrong side of the street.

From the tickets handed out by police, it's clear what police care about is lack of helmets. They don't seem to care too much about other traffic violations and it's this attitude that ensures collisions and injuries that result from them will continue.

Helmets, it seems, are more important than any other law, and that's just wrong

Brad more than 2 years ago

Selective enforcement

The helmet laws are rarely enforced, and when enforced it's only used to harass low income people on the east side.

It's a tool to control, not to protect the population.

Anthony more than 2 years ago

it IS wrong


Despite seat belts and other safety devices in cars, 32000 people died on US roads last year. In Holland, no one wears helmets when riding their bikes, and it is the safest place to ride a bike in. Safety devices is not a cure for bad or ill enforced road safety. The Government of BC with their helmet zealotry is harming the public. Doctors who promote helmets are in breach of their oath to do no harm, since they do not put public safety first. Police Officers who enforce helmet laws are not putting road safety first, they do not serve and protect the public as they supposed to, if they go after non helmeted cyclists, as opposed to using their time and resources going after the dangerous drivers.

Do some research and don't call people dumb before you do.

Bicycle helmets DO NOT provide the protection you think they do.
Bicycle helmets DOES discourage cycling.
Bicycle helmets make bicycling look far more dangerous than what it really is.

Mr. Mayor,
Your bike share program will struggle under the weight of the plastic hat. Thank you for
fixing the roads, though. (in terms of all road users)

ch1 more than 2 years ago

What's so wrong about wearing helmets?

IMO not wearing helmets is akin to driving without wearing your seatbelt - dumb dumb dumb. What's so wrong about having to wear a helmet while riding a bike? There's no way in hell I would ride in Vancouver without one.

Michael more than 2 years ago

Seizing bicycles

Jean, you might also want to consider the fact that when the wonderful segregated bikes lanes were installed on the Burrard Street Bridge and along Hornby street, police set up to stop cyclists from riding in them if they weren't wearing helmets.

Not only did the police hand out tickets, and stop the helmet-less riders from continuing, they hold the power to seize the bicycle of one convicted of riding without a helmet.

That doesn't seem to encourage people to ride. It seems to discourage it.

Robert more than 2 years ago

less than 10%

I believe if you look about Jean, you will see a good portion of cyclists riding in many places without helmets. ICBC pegs the non-compliance rate at 45%.

I guess the question there is, how many of those helmet free cyclists would still be riding if the VPD enforced the law to a greater degree than it already does? I'm sure the stalwarts would continue, but I'm just as sure a good many of them would stop riding all together. Is it better for society if it enforces a law that prevents people from cycling without a helmet? Is it better to not ride at all, than ride without a helmet?

Certainly some areas have had an increase in cycling and I think that is the result of a number of initiatives (as well as a relaxing of enforcement of the helmet law), but has Gregor and his team reached their previously stated goal of 10% road share for bicycles? No, they have not . Ride share in Vancouver is less than half that amount.

As an example, we can see this law may well prevent a bike share plan from that 10% ride share goal. In other cities of the world, bike shares have doubled and tripled ride share. It's possible this system can do the same for Vancouver, meeting that 10% ride share goal, but it's more probable these results will not be matched because of our helmet law.

For ride share to bloom, cycling has to be seen as "normal". People who do not currently ride need to see cycling as safe, convenient, and a more practical method to get around. There should not be a need for special equipment or clothing, or requirement of athletic prowess. For bike use to increase, people need to know one just needs to swing a leg over, and go.

I think the fundamental problem with encouraging, promoting, or legislating helmet use is it requires the user to accept that cycling is dangerous. Fear prevents people from riding and helmet promotion places this fear, front and center.

Brad more than 2 years ago

already is 10% cycling in some neighbourhoods

I believe cycling mode share is already 10% in some Vancouver neighbourhoods where people live and cycle to work/shop. ie. Kitsalano.

Brad, I think you are missing something very fundamental: it isn't just about helmets vs. non-helmets, it is also about designing communities permanently that encourage walking, cycling and being close to transit (that accepts bikes when there's inclement weather). Vancouver is designing some areas of the city like this: while Olympic Village is an obvious example, there is also North False Creek. Have you been to Vancouver, Brad for a few days there?


People will not ride around without helmets if their neighbourhoods are not designed iwth safe cycling infrastructure in the first place.

Jean more than 2 years ago

good luck

I appreciate everything Gregor and his team are doing for cycling and their efforts in attempting to increase the amount of trips by bicycle in Vancouver but... as long as BC has an all ages bicycle helmet law I see those goals as a dream and not much more.

With this law, I doubt Vancouver will see a 10% mode share. A goal of 50% is more than a dream, it's a fantasy.

Brad more than 2 years ago

other benefits of cycling

You mentioned health and fitness associated with cycling. That's great, but I think two other important aspects are reduced fuel consumption and reduced traffic congestion. I am an electric bicycle rider and pursue my heath goals through other activities. I would like to see you and other city leader promote an electric solution as an equally beneficial transportation option to help the city reach its goals by 2020. I know many riders do take advantage of the progressive laws in Vancouver regarding electric cycling, but I dont think all citizens are aware that electric cycling is a legal alternative for daily commuting. Some of these people can not or would not ride a bicycle for the health and fitness reasons you mention. I mean I used to cycle to work, and I would show up sweaty and that was ok... but for many this is not a reasonable option. Electric cycling can provide many with a cycling solution that fits in with daily commute and other transportation needs. I would prefer to see you mention health and fitness less, not because it is not a benefit, but because it is simply a side-effect benefit. And some will actually view this as a negative and it will discourage them from cycling. I would prefer to see more focus on the pragmatic issues... environment (less pollution), conservation (less fuel), congestion (less traffic and less size).

Jeff Anderson more than 2 years ago