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France makes cycle helmets compulsory for children aged 11 and under

New law will come into effect from 22 March

France is introducing a law that will require children aged 12 and under to wear an approved helmet while riding a bike, whether they are pedalling themselves or being carried as a passenger.

The forthcoming legislation was officially announced in December, with the new law coming into effect from 22 March this year to give families three months to prepare themselves for its introduction.

It is one of 26 measures contained in a report published last October by an interministerial committee for road safety, and is aimed at preventing facial and cranial injuries among children.

Adults who are carrying a non-helmet wearing child on their bike, or who are accompanying a child who is cycling without wearing one, will be liable to a fine of €135.

The law will apply to residents and visitors alike – so if you have children aged 11 and under and go cycling with them while on holiday in France, they will have to wear a helmet.

Opponents of compulsory helmet laws, such as those that apply to all cyclists, including adults, in Australia say that such legislation discourages people from riding a bike in the first place.

As a result, they maintain that requiring people to wear a helmet has a negative impact on the general health of the population that outweighs any perceived benefit in terms of safety.

> More on the helmet debate here

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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