Province's new mandatory pedestrian helmet law takes effect tomorrow

April 2, 2012 is going to be watershed for Vancouver’s pedestrians as the new Pedestrian Helmet Law takes effect Monday. Designed to keep pedestrians safe, this new provincial legislation means that if you plan to walk on city streets, you’ll need to be wearing one of the province-approved pedestrian safety helmets (PSHs), or risk a fine.

The Provincial Motor Vehicle Act (132-b) states,

1.     A person commits an offence if that person walks on a sidewalk or a roadway or a highway and is not properly wearing a pedestrian safety helmet that

a.      is designated as an approved pedestrian safety helmet under subsection (4) (a), or

b.     meets the standards and specifications prescribed under subsection (4) (b).

Fools walk in where angels fear to tread appears to be the view taken by the provincial legislators, who voted anonymously on this sweeping new amendment to the Provincial Motor Vehicle Act. According to policy consultant, Daphne Manners, "rigorous research of injuries to persons walking without protective head gear shows that pedestrians are more at risk than cyclists" (based on injuries per distance travelled). In an interview with Vancouver Observer, she states that "solid research is behind the province's new mandate requiring pedestrians also wear helmets".

Naturally, this new law has its detractors, not all of whom are marginalized liberals, socialists, and other indigents. For example, Renee Sarich of Axis Hair Salon on West Georgia is alarmed that mandatory helmets will put a crimp to their business interests.

"We smack people for putting on hats just after having their hair done. What will it be like with helmets?" she asks. "Talk about helmet hair!"

While it is widely believed that mandatory helmet laws send the unintended signal that walking is unsafe, policy makers believe that people will be safer from accidents, such as being hit by automobiles, colliding with each other, and of course, being the unintended (or not) targets of birds. Even so, one Alberta study appears to show a reduction in sidewalk activity after similar helmet legislation took effect there. This was true even after municipal governments built expensive (and controversial) “pedestrian lanes” to encourage walking.

Everyone who fails to wear appropriate safety head gear starting tomorrow will get warnings followed by citations that can run as high as $100 per infraction.

From the Motor Vehicle Act,

3.     A person who is convicted of an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is liable to a fine of not more than $100.

Remember: Starting April 2, if you’re using a sidewalk, buckle up and wear your helmet.

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Comments

A good start.

Pedestrians should also be required to carry insurance.  What if one of them smacks their helmet against the hood of my Buick?  Who's going to pay for the scratched paint?

pedestrian registration

Why aren't pedestrians made to pay registration for their legs, and also required to have their legs checked once per year, for footpath worthiness? It seems to me, they are getting a free ride, and putting others at risk, for instance drivers who could be traumatised by out-of-control pedestrians being splattered over their cars. 

helmet laws for pedestrians

I seen some pretty stupid laws come into affect in my 60+ years living in b.c. but this one takes the prize.if this isn`t a april fools joke it should be. i feel sorry for the idiots that support it

April Fools joke

Hi William, 

It is an April Fool's joke, please don't worry about the law coming into effect! It was published on April 1 as a humour piece.

already done

and as with all good jokes, there is an element in truth to it... In Japan, a trial was conducted to determine if pedestrians were safer if they wore helmets. School children were used as test subjects THE EFFECTIVENESS OF WEARING PEDESTRIAN HELMET WHILE WALKING FROM HOME TO SCHOOL IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN. (from the Third International Conference on Injury Control and Prevention, Melbourne, Australia, February 1996) http://www.vehicularcyclist.com/jpeds.html Also, listen to this Ted X talk about bicycle helmets http://momentummag.com/videos/mikael-colville-andersen-why-we-shouldnt-w... in it, the presenter examines the culture of fear that can, at times, result in greater harm than good. Included are examples of helmets for toddlers, and motorists.

Pedestrian Helmet Law

You won't be able to get out of your car (except onto a private driveway) without putting on a helmet!