Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
987. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in view of the dangers of head injuries, his views on the compulsory use of helmets by cyclists on public roads; if he will promote the use of helmets by cyclists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11845/15]
It is longstanding Government policy to recommend and promote the wearing of helmets by cyclists. Both my Department and the Road Safety Authority – which has responsibility for information and awareness campaigns – encourage their use.
The question of whether we should make it compulsory to wear helmets when cycling has arisen on a number of occasions. Opinion is divided internationally on whether the wearing of safety helmets is best achieved through statutory requirements or through other strategies.
The matter was considered in the context of the preparation of the Road Safety Strategy 2013-2020. Although the Strategy strongly favours encouraging the use of helmets, it stopped short of recommending making their wearing compulsory.
I am of the view that the wearing of cycle helmets is better achieved by way of educational and publicity campaigns rather than by pursuing a punitive approach to the issue, particularly having regard to the large numbers of children and young people who cycle.
Consequently, I have no plans to make the wearing of bicycle safety helmets a legal requirement at this time.