The CTC has today joined with cycle campaigners giving evidence at a hearing for the helmet compulsion bill today.
In January the Cyclists (Protective Headgear) Bill was narrowly approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly. It’s now being examined by the Environment Committee, which heard evidence presented by CTC campaigns director Roger Geffen, CTC volunteers and Sustrans staff in Derry/Londonderry.
Both organisations oppose the bill, fearing that forcing cyclists to wear helmets will sharply cut the number of people choosing to cycle. At the hearing a local businessman also argued the law would dent cycle sales and even harm tourism.
Just six of the eleven Environment Committee members were present at the meeting and, according to the CTC, some of whom felt such a law was unnecessary as cycling is not a particularly dangerous activity, while other believed such a law would harm public/police relations.
Geffen said: “Cyclists know that the benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks, and that cycling is a solution, not a problem. The comments they added to the petition made this point really clearly. Others pointed to better ways to spend tax payers’ money, such as good cycle training for all and better road design. The petition will remain open at www.tinyURL/NorthernIrelandHelmets for people to add their names.”
“I am very grateful to CTC volunteers Barry Flood and Tom McClelland, who have played major roles in this campaign.”
The Environment Committee meets again next week to sign off the evidence it has received. It Assembly members still want the bill to be passed they will have to re-table it after May’s Northern Ireland elections.