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Urgent meeting to debate compulsory helmets for all on Jersey

Politicians rejected the law by one vote in 2010 - could it now be brought in?

The Chief Minister of Jersey has called an urgent meeting to discuss whether all cyclists should be forced to wear helmets, in the light of two incidents on the island.

Earlier this year, Paul Channing was killed at Beaumont Hill and now another 35 year old man is in a brain injury unit at Southampton Hospital in a very serious condition, both following crashes on the same stretch of road.

In 2010, politicians on the island rejected by a solitary vote a proposal to make it compulsory for all cyclists, including adults, to wear a helmet, although they approved by a margin of two to one similar measures for children aged under 18.

One opponent of compulsion, Deputy Sean Power, said: “I wear a helmet 99% of the time, but I don’t want to be forced to wear a helmet 100% of the time.”

Asked if it would interfere with a person's right to choose whether to wear one, a proponent of the law, Constable John Refault, told Channel Island TV: "Yes we are, but we're doing it for the public benefit.

"I'd rather have someone with a broken leg and still have a fully functioning brain than like the last two cyclists on Beaumont Hill, one losing his life and the other may well suffer life changing brain injuries.

"I don't want to see that again and if making people put the equivalent of a seat belt on - a cycle helmet - then that for me is the right way to go."

He added that the onus should also be on drivers to be careful around cyclists, telling the BBC: "Can we actually translate a transgression to points on a driving licence?

"I think we have to come up with a penalty that makes road users comply with the rules of behaviour on public roads."

The ruling that under-18s must wear helmets has not yet become law.

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