Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Annette Brooke's bill on compulsory cycle helmets for children blocked

The website bikeradar.com reminds us that the Cycles (Protective Headgear for Children) Bill, put forward by Annette Brooke, Lib Dem MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, failed to receive a second reading last week. This means that it now has little chance of making further progress.

I am not sorry. I recall writing a House Points column saying I was against compulsion in 2004 when the Labour backbencher Eric Martlew brought in such a bill.

bikeradar.com quotes two good arguments against compulsion:
CTC believes any helmet compulsion law in Britain would, as has been seen in other countries who've adopted a similar law, reduce the number cyclists on the road and that it should be left to the individual, or parent, to decide whether one should be worn. 
RoSPA - the Royal Society for the prevention of accidents - don't believe it would be a desirable exercise for the police to stop 10-year-olds in the street who aren’t wearing helmets, especially in light of deep budget cuts.
If anything, the arguments against compulsion have become stronger since 2004. We now live in a world where children are routinely made to wear helmets when riding fairy cycles or scooters on the pavement.

If you make them compulsory then more parents will draw the conclusion that cycling is too dangerous for their children, with undesirable consequences for their health and independence.


Anonymous said...

Annette Brooke has made an utter fool of herself. If this is all she can think of to do with being an MP she should let someone else have a go.

Wartime Housewife said...

Well said both.

dreamingspire said...

Also it isn't a desirable exercise for the police to stop either male 12 to 17 year olds or young men when they cycle on the pavements as if they have right of way. The police cannot identify them, are in general not equipped to collect evidence with which to name and shame (they need those shoulder cameras as seen on TV), do not have the power to confiscate their cycles, and I get the hint (and agree with it) that the police feel that the Local Authority should be responsible for making it very clear where cycles are permitted to share space with pedestrians and equally well publicise the fact that it is otherwise illegal to cycle on the pavement. In the old days an urban area infected with a rash of illegal cycling would have passed a by-law to help combat it. (You might guess that where I live is badly infected in 2 ways: illegal cycling and awful LA.)