Mandatory bike helmet laws need revision in Saskatchewan

SASKATOON – Some local leaders and associations are hoping to reopen the debate about mandatory bike helmets in Saskatchewan.

This month, the Manitoba government put a law into effect requiring cyclists under the age of 18 to wear helmets. Riders aged 14- to 17-years-old could be fined $50 if they’re caught without a helmet.

MD Ambulance spokesperson Troy Davies says Saskatchewan needs to reconsider mandatory bike helmet laws.

“I know there is some alternative thinking on bike helmets right now with children, but right now what we’re seeing in emergency rooms and in the back of ambulances is traumatic injuries and brain injuries,” said Davies.

Executive director of Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association Glenda James knows the statistics and she’s all for mandatory bike helmets.

“Brain injury is the number one cause of disability and death among young people,” said James.

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“That’s one of the options that seem to speak to people, just as you get a fine if you don’t wear seat belts and you get a fine if you talk on a cell phone.”

Bicycle Safety Week starts Monday and there have been several kick-off events, including the ‘Be a Hero – Wear Your Helmet’ event in Saskatoon.

Some at the event said they don’t necessarily agree with mandatory helmet laws.

“I don’t think it’s something that the government should get into legislating right now-we’ve talked to some of those groups to make sure they are comfortable with the decision not to get involved right now but we want to promote bike safety, that everybody takes responsibility for themselves,” said Paul Merriman, Saskatoon/Sutherland MLA.

The Saskatchewan government allows municipalities to create bylaws for bicycles. Yorkton has a bike helmet bylaw with a small fine of five dollars.

Many advocates say they won’t give up until their local leaders pass helmet laws.

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