Written answers

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Cycling Policy

Photo of Seán HaugheySeán Haughey (Dublin Bay North, Fianna Fail)
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209. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the wearing of helmets by cyclists will be made compulsory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25094/20]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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Making the wearing of helmets compulsory for cyclists is an issue which has arisen a number of times over the years. It is a long-standing Government policy to recommend and promote the wearing of helmets. The Rules of the Road booklet encourages the use of cycle helmets and draws attention to their safety benefits, and the Road Safety Authority, the agency responsible for public education and awareness, strongly encourages their use.

However, opinion is divided internationally on whether the wearing of safety helmets is best achieved through the introduction of statutory requirements or through other strategies. Making the wearing of helmets compulsory would raise a number of difficulties. For example, if wearing helmets were made compulsory it would be necessary to have some kind of enforcement system with penalties, presumably fines, for cycling without a helmet. Whilst enforcement might be possible, it could create considerable strain on Garda resources, and indeed on the courts.

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. International studies also show that making the wearing of helmets mandatory results in a decrease in the number of people cycling.

It is my 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.


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