Swiss MPs have voted overwhelmingly against making cycling helmets mandatory for children under 14, saying that it was an issue for ‘personal responsibility’.
As part of the debate over road law revisions, MPs voted 136 to 46 against the requirement.
The opposition to the move, made up of representatives from across the political spectrum, noted that 70 per cent of children already wear helmets.
Transport Minister Doris Leuthard disagreed however. She told World Radio Switzerland: “It is not that we think parents won’t pay attention to kids, and thus put this helmet rule in place. Every head injury we can prevent makes this regulation worth it.”
Australia and New Zealand began to implement helmet laws for all cyclists in 1990 and 1994 respectively. A survey in New Zealand earlier this year suggested that helmet requirements had halved the number of cyclists on the road.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.