Mar 082011

The two major organisations that promote cycling in the UK, the CTC and Sustrans, have joined forces to launch a petition against proposed legislation in Northern Ireland which would require cyclists to wear a helmet in any public place.

Going Going Bike first brought news of the introduction of the proposed law, the Cyclists (Protective Headgear) Bill, in December. The Bill has since narrowly been approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly in February and is now being scrutinised by the Environment Committee of the Assembly before going to a final vote.

Getting cyclists voices heard

Both CTC and Sustrans are urging the cycling community to get their voice heard on this issue in a bid to persuade Northern Ireland’s politicians to vote against the Bill at the final vote.

The petition, which can be found here, can be signed by anyone in the UK, whether they live in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales.

Not anti-helmet

CTC and Sustrans are at plains to say that they are not “anti-helmet”. Instead, they point to a catalogue of evidence showing that Northern Ireland would see a sharp reduction in the number of people who cycle if the bill becomes law.

“Cycling for day-to-day journeys is a relatively safe activity and it gets safer the more people there are cycling. This bill may be well-intentioned, but it will deter vast numbers of people from cycling, while increasing the risk for those who remain,” said Roger Geffen, Campaigns and Policy Director at CTC.

“At a time of mounting concern about obesity and climate change, scaring people into car-dependence is bound to shorten more lives than helmets would possibly save. I’d recommend our petition to everyone who enjoys cycling. With their support we can defeat this fundamentally flawed bill.”

Alongside this petition, CTC and Sustrans will submit a portfolio of evidence to the legislative committee.

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