The Jamaica Observer: Helmets To Be Mandated For Pedal Cyclists
Friday, January 08, 2010
Police to step up prosecution of cyclists without helmets.
A motor cyclist, killed on New Year’s Day along the Porus main road in Manchester became the first traffic fatality for 2010 and after seven days in the new year traffic fatality is now at four.
According to director of the Road Safety Unit (RSU) Kenute Hare, the year’s first victim was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, continuing a “deeply worrying” trend.
“A large number of cyclists do not wear helmets and it is cause for concern,” Hare commented.
He told Auto that a revised Road Traffic Act, expected to take effect this year, will mandate the use of helmets for pedal cyclists as well as motor cyclists.
This change will allow cops to prosecute persons riding bicycles without a helmet. Currently the law speaks only to motor cyclists.
Hare emphasided the need for helmets saying that apart from being a traffic breach if one is not worn while riding, helmets are proven to save lives in the event of an accident.
“We have implored the police to place special emphasis this year on the wearing of helmets,” Hare remarked.
The Protective Devices Legislation mandates the use of seat belts and helmets and according to Hare police will be stepping up the prosecution of cyclists not wearing helmets.
“We have to get people excited about wearing helmets,” he said.
Last year 49 motor cyclists were killed in traffic collisions with only one of the victims wearing a helmet, RSU data reveals.
Hare surmises that if all the victims were wearing helmets, the figure would have ended up closer to 30.
“It is internationally proven that the wearing of helmets save lives in collisions,” said an emphatic Hare.
Twenty-nine pedal cyclist were killed during the year.,
In the meantime, 2009 traffic fatalities are tentatively placed at 340, a mere three below the 343 recorded in 2008.
Hare told Auto the total fatality count for 2009 would not be released until the end of January to accommodate any deaths resulting from crashes during December.
“We have to wait thirty days to capture those deaths before we can issue a final figure,” Hare explained.
He added that any deaths after the end of January would not be recorded.