Cyclists in Cyprus have called for a law that came into force this week making cycle helmets compulsory to be repealed.
The Mediterranean country joins Argentina, Australia and New Zealand as the only countries in the world that currently have a mandatory helmet law for people riding bikes.
After the law came into effect on Wednesday, news website In Cyprus reported that cycling campaigners want it overturned immediately, saying that it will discourage people from riding bikes.
One source quoted on the website said: “We believe that all cyclists should be able to choose what they wear on their bikes, and should be respected if they choose to wear a helmet of if they choose not to.”
Under the new law, cyclists riding without a helmet will face a fine of €50, although according to traffic police officer Harris Evripidou, a light touch will be taken towards enforcement, although he added that the legislation had been brought in to protect people riding bikes.
“We will be lenient,” he said. “Where we see cyclists riding in places where their lives are endangered, namely on highways and busy roads where they mix with vehicles, then they will be fined.”
He also said that four cyclists had been killed on the island’s roads last year, of whom two who were not wearing a helmet died due to head injuries.
“These figures, show us that not wearing one has that effect, whether the cyclist is at fault or not. So, our recommendation is that helmet use should be enforced to protect cyclists,” he added.
“He also said that four cyclists had been killed on the island’s roads last year, of whom two who were not wearing a helmet died due to head injuries.
“These figures, show us that not wearing one has that effect, whether the cyclist is at fault or not. So, our recommendation is that helmet use should be enforced to protect cyclists,” he added.” (traffic police officer Harris Evripidou)
On the basis of four deaths, two of whom were wearing helmets, they can justify bringing in a law? That’s authoritarianism or fascism. If four people died and two were wearing helmets, then that implies that helmets are not effective, not that they should be made compulsory.
Other countries have such laws, which the authorities should have looked at to find out what happened; if they had, they wouldn’t have brought in this law, because helmet laws don’t make cyclists safer. In Australia, the death rate of cyclists went up after the law, and the only detectable effect was to reduce the number of cyclists. Because cycling confers such huge health benefits, regular cyclists live longer and suffer less from all forms of illness, those cyclists who give up will have their lives shortened and become chronically ill, and a burden on the health service.
A completely farcical law, with no justification whatsoever. The only reason the police, or anyone would want this law is because they can’t control the drivers who kill the cyclists, so to pretend that they are doing something, they make the cyclists wear silly magic hats. This is victim blaming and a dereliction of duty by the politicians and police.