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France makes cycle helmets compulsory for children aged 11 and under

New law will come into effect from 22 March

France is introducing a law that will require children aged 12 and under to wear an approved helmet while riding a bike, whether they are pedalling themselves or being carried as a passenger.

The forthcoming legislation was officially announced in December, with the new law coming into effect from 22 March this year to give families three months to prepare themselves for its introduction.

It is one of 26 measures contained in a report published last October by an interministerial committee for road safety, and is aimed at preventing facial and cranial injuries among children.

Adults who are carrying a non-helmet wearing child on their bike, or who are accompanying a child who is cycling without wearing one, will be liable to a fine of €135.

The law will apply to residents and visitors alike – so if you have children aged 11 and under and go cycling with them while on holiday in France, they will have to wear a helmet.

Opponents of compulsory helmet laws, such as those that apply to all cyclists, including adults, in Australia say that such legislation discourages people from riding a bike in the first place.

As a result, they maintain that requiring people to wear a helmet has a negative impact on the general health of the population that outweighs any perceived benefit in terms of safety.

> More on the helmet debate here

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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