Several centrist senators are at the origin of a bill to make the wearing of helmets compulsory when cycling. Unsurprisingly, the measure is far from unanimous, with proponents of two-wheelers fearing that it will harm the popularity of the practice.
Since the start of the pandemic, cycling has exploded in France and around the world. In 2020, no less than 2.7 million bikes have been sold in France, a third of which are electric. As a result, the sector’s turnover exploded with 3 billion euros over the same year, an increase of 25% compared to 2019. According to the Vélo & Territoires association, frequentation on the country’s cycle paths increased by 27% in 2020.
It must be said that the bicycle was one of the rare means of transport authorized for recreation during the confinement, while the government’s “bicycle boost”, a conversion bonus of € 2,500, has largely encouraged the French to equip themselves with two-wheelers. With such an increase in the number of cyclists, a group of centrist senators decided to put the issue of compulsory helmets back on the table “for any driver of a vehicle with one or more wheels, whether motor or electrically assisted, as well as for any cycle driver ”.
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Head trauma, the leading cause of death for cyclists
Indeed, a bill has just been discussed this Thursday, January 13, 2022 in the Senate. Failure to comply with this provision could result in offenders a fine of 135 €. “Almost two-thirds of fatally injured cyclists were 55 and over in 2019, and head trauma is the leading cause of death among cyclists ”, justifies Senator François Bonneau.
In the eyes of the rapporteur of the text, Senator Jérome Durain (PS), “a balance must be found between voluntarism and prudence, taking into account the interest of wearing a helmet on the one hand, and the risk of discouraging the practice on the other hand ”. The policy refers to the detractors of this measure. Indeed, many associations for the defense of cycling fear that this device undermines the popularity of the practice and leads to a reduction in the number of cyclists.
“Safety is linked to the speed of other vehicles, to visibility, and to a number of essential arrangements for safety on the route ”, assures Françoise Rossignol, president of the Cycling Towns and Territories Club. If the proposal does not pass, the senators at its origin calls on the government to consider at least the compulsory wearing of helmets on electric scooters, hoverboards and gyropods.
Source: South West