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Bosnia repeals cycle helmet law

Campaign group says cycling has been ‘incorrectly presented as a dangerous activity’

Bosnia and Herzegovina has repealed its all-ages cycle helmet compulsion law. BikeBiz reports that it is the first country ever to do so.

Six years ago, a campaign to reverse the mandatory helmet law was begun by the Centre for Environment group.

The group’s Tihomir Dakic said: "This returns the focus from reducing the consequences of crashes, to minimising the causes of traffic crashes. Cycling has been incorrectly presented as a dangerous activity. In fact, the health benefits of the daily use of the bicycle outweigh the traffic risks by around twenty-to-one. 

"We invite all those who stopped using the bicycle due to the helmet law to return to it, to respect traffic rules and enjoy all the benefits that cycling provides."

Mexico City repealed its cycle helmet law in February 2010 and in August 2011 Israel repealed its law for adult cyclists in urban areas. However, the the move by Bosnia and Herzegovina is thought to be the first all-ages, all-areas repeal.

Sue Knaup, executive director of the international cycle advocacy group One Street, said: "Bosnia and Herzegovina has set an important precedent with this repeal. Any law that mandates the wearing of helmets or other articles, criminalises the use of bicycles as an efficient and affordable means of transportation."

The European Cyclists' Federation Ceri Woolsgrove also welcomed the law's repeal, saying: "Cyclists should be able to choose whether to wear or not to wear helmets. The Centre for Environment, a member of the ECF, has highlighted this important issue. Cycling is not an overly dangerous activity and brings tremendous health benefits for individuals, and has a positive effect on the environment and society as a whole."

In contrast, later this month a new law will come into effect in France requiring 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.

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