The UCI has announced that it will be mandatory to wear a hard-shell helmet in elite men's events for classes 4 and above. The rule came into force on May 5th, in time for this weekend's start of the Giro d'Italia.
The new rule - which can be downloaded in full via the PDF below - was agreed between the Professional Cycling Council: Sports Group Associations (AIGCP), Races Organisers Associations (AIOCC) and the Professional Riders Associations (CPA).
Many pro members of the CPA still oppose mandatory helmet wearing but the UCI is taking a tough line: "Whilst respecting their opinion, [we] invites them to reflect on the consequences this attitude can generate," said a UCI statement.
"Death or disability of a rider represents a great source of sorrow for close ones and also a great loss for cycling. The fact that the rider takes the risk in all freedom will never take away the discomfort linked to such tragedies."
The UCI believes most pros agree with the new rule:
"Demands from a small group of individuals should not prevail on the general interest of the sport and its followers."
The new helmet compulsion rules allow for helmets to be handed over to team cars and state that in races finishing at the summit of a climb of at least 5km, riders can, if they so wish, remove helmets on the final climb.
Penalties for not wearing helmets include fines ranging from 200 to 10,000 Swiss francs, UCI point clipping and expulsion from the race if a helmet is removed before the 5km point.