Malta is to scrap its compulsory cycle helmet laws after finding that it hinders efforts to get people riding bikes and discourages uptake of bike-sharing schemes, reports Malta Today.
A number of European Union member states have laws requiring children below a certain age to wear a cycle helmet, including France, which introduced such a law for under-12s last year.
Meanwhile, Spain requires all riders outside towns and cities to wear a cycle helmet, except in extremely hot weather or when they are going uphill.
However, Malta is the only European Union member state that has a blanket helmet law that requires all cyclists to wear a helmet, irrespective of their age or the type of area they are riding in.
That is set to change, however. A spokesperson for Transport Malta said it is currently drafting legislation that will “bring Malta more in line with countries where bicycles are regularly used as a commuting mode of transport.”
The spokesperson continued: “Transport Malta has been at the forefront in promoting bike sharing, enacting legislation to make this possible and is in constant dialogue with potential service providers to make this service more popular,” he said.
“The Authority recognises the fact that obligatory helmets can be of hindrance to the promulgation of such initiatives.”
Other legislative changes are also being introduced to encourage sales of e-bikes with a power output of up to 250W.
At present, such bikes need to be registered due to an existing law that was primarily aimed at people who converted push bikes with the aid of a petrol-fuelled motor.
“A number of individuals had resorted to install small fuel engines on regular bicycles, endangering themselves and other road users,” said Transport Malta.
“The legislation was in fact very effective in removing these potentially dangerous irregular bikes from our roads.
“Pedelec and e-bike owners can ride them on our roads without registering them or paying any licence fees, the same as one would with a traditional bicycle.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc 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.