Bolton councillors are to urge the Government to make cycle helmets mandatory for anyone riding on the road. The motion was brought by Labour councillor for Breightmet, John Byrne, whose son recently came off his bike, hitting his head in the fall.
“Motorcyclists have to wear helmets and they are on the road the same as cyclists, so why shouldn’t it be the same?” said Byrne, who is himself a keen cyclist.
This Is Lancashire reports that the only opposition to the motion at last week’s full council meeting came from Conservative councillor, Andy Morgan, who said he wouldn’t be backing it because he didn’t want to see “even more legislation being created.”
Byrne said he will now be making enquiries with council officers to see how and when contact with the Government will be made.
Referring to the incident involving his son which spurred the motion, he said:
“Jon was riding to work when he hit a kerb and came off his bike. Thankfully he was wearing a helmet at the time. At hospital, the doctors said that if he hadn’t have been wearing it, he would have likely ended up in Salford Royal Hospital (which treats major head traumas) or even worse.
“In Australia and New Zealand it is compulsory to wear cycle helmets and I think it would make sense here with the volume of traffic on the roads these days.”
Byrne also had a Christmas message for parents: “If you are spending £500 on a bike, just spend an extra £20 or £30 on a helmet because it is so important to protect the head.”
Earlier this year, British cycling minister, Robert Goodwill, said cyclists should be free to decide whether or not to wear a helmet. His argument was that where use of cycle helmets had been made mandatory, evidence indicated that the move had deterred people from riding bikes.
"The health benefits of cycling in terms of heart disease and obesity and everything else far outweigh the number of people killed and injured using cycles. Certainly my children were always encouraged to use helmets. Once they reached the age of 18 they could make their own decision.”