Canada’s Bicycle Helmet Laws – Most Provinces and All Territories Don’t Have Legislation in Place

Update: see previous posts –  January 10, 2012 Riding Bicycles on Sidewalks in Toronto – Police Seldom Enforce By-Laws, January 6, 2011 City of Toronto Is Considering Licensing Cyclists, January 4, 2011 Toronto Takes Advantage of Rush Hour Gridlock By Tripling Parking Fine$, October 24, 2011 Toronto in Process of Updating and Harmonizing Cyclist Bylaws & Considers Licensing Cyclists, September 28, 2011 Results of Sept.27/11 Bicycle/Pedestrian Blitz on Danforth Ave/Broadview Ave, September 16, 2011 Casual cyclists feel much safer on sidewalks, rather then the Road, September 7, 2011 Opening of Doors of Motor Vehicles,  September 5, 2011 Bike Trails Through Two Hydro Corridors and Leaside Rail Corridor, August 11, 2011 Bicycle Safety Called for by Ontario Medical Association, August 9, 2011 Police/T.T.C Target Drivers/Pedestrians/Cyclists at T.T.C Stops from Aug.8 – 14, 2011, August 5, 2011 Results of Bicycle/Pedestrian Blitz on August 3 & 4, 2011, August 2, 2011 – Bicycle/Driver/Pedestrian Blitz on Danforth Ave from Victoria Park to Broadview Ave on August 3 & 4/11, July 30, 2011 Pedestrian Injured by Cyclist Calls for Regulated Cycling in Toronto, July 28, 2011 Bicycle Helmets Lead to Fewer Head Injuries for Cyclist’s Who Wear Them, July 17, 2011 Cyclists Ignore the Signs at Kew Gardens, July 13, 2011 Toronto Bicycle Lanes Eliminated, July 9, 2011 Cyclists Continue Riding the Wrong Way on a One-Way Street (Huron Street), July 8, 2011 Toronto Police to Ticket Cyclists and Motor Vehicles Ignoring Cyclist’s Space, July 7, 2011 Careless Driving Causing Death?, May 4, 2011 Police Charge Parent of Young Cyclist Not Wearing His Bicycle Helmet, May 2, 2011 Cyclist on Powered-Assisted Bicycle Charged with Not Wearing a Helmet and Impaired Driving, March 9, 2011 Cyclist Launches 20 Million Lawsuit against Cycling Club & Association, January 27, 2011 Time to Update the Cycling Laws in Toronto & Ontario?, January 8, 2011 Toronto is Ready to Invest in the Safety of Cyclists,December 22, 2010   Toronto’s First Count of Downtown Cyclists (Sept. 2010) , November 8, 2010 Week Long Pedestrian Safety Campaign/Blitz, October 10, 2010 Bike Boxes , September 16, 2010 Private Member’s Bill requires a minimum of one metre paved shoulder be added whenever designated provincial highways are repaved to reduce accidents/fatalities , August 26, 2010 Police Lay 400 Charges Against Cyclists/Pedestrians , May 19, 2010 Motorists Must Stay 3,4 or 5 Feet Away from Bicyclists , March 29, 2010 Toronto’s Zero-Tolerance Bicycle Blitz , November 16, 2009 Most Dangerous Intersections for Pedestrians – Toronto (2008) , October 12, 2009 Idaho Stop Law , September 7, 2009 Toronto Police Bicycle Safety Blitz , March 21, 2009,  Bicycle Accidents Toronto, Reported in 2008 , December 20, 2008 City of Toronto Considering Installing “Rumble Strips”

 

see source

Six (6) out of 10 Provinces have no bicycle helmet legislation in place, as well as the three (3) Territories.

All bicyclists should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash. A majority  of the deaths and injuries of cyclists’ on bicycles, can be attributed to head injuries.

In Ontario, cyclists are considered vehicles; they are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings. When cycling in the street, cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.

Drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with bicyclists. Be courteous—allow at least one metre’s (3.2808 feet) clearance when passing a cyclist on the road, look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space, and yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals. Be especially watchful for cyclists when making turns, either left or right.

Cyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn, and dusk. To be noticed when riding at night, use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing and always have a bell that works.

The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) produced a report called “Are We Doing Enough?” A status report (2012 Edition) on Canadian public policy and child and youth health. The information in this report, prepared by the CPS,  is current as of January 3, 2012 and was obtained from government documents, websites and personal correspondence.

Most injuries sustained by children and youth are both predictable and preventable, so there is every reason for governments to legislate proactively.

Serious unintended injuries (including those caused by motor vehicle collisions) remain the leading cause of death in children 1 to 14 years of age in Canada. When bicycles are involved, the statistics are especially grim.

Research shows that more people wear helmets in jurisdictions with mandatory bike helmet laws and injury rates are, on average, 25% lower than in areas without helmet legislation. Every year, about 20 young people aged 19 and under die due to bicycle-related injuries.

Every year, about 20 young people aged 19 and under die due to bicycle-related injuries, and another 50 or so experience permanent disability.

In 2009-2010, 1364 children or youth were hospitalized for serious bicycle injuries.

A properly fitted bike helmet decreases the risk of serious head injury by as much as 85% and brain injury by 88%. Yet among youth 12 to 19 years of age, only 31.8% said they always wore a bicycle helmet when riding.  Boys aged 10 to 14 sustain over one-third of all cycling-related injuries, while up to 70% of deaths occur in boys aged 10 to 19.

With legislation and subsequent increased helmet use, head injuries have dropped by more than half in the past decade.

Research shows that more people wear helmets in jurisdictions with mandatory bike helmet laws and injury rates are, on average, 25% lower than in areas without helmet legislation.

If every cyclist wore a helmet, it is estimated that most (4 out of every 5) head injuries could be prevented.

The direct and indirect costs of cycling injuries on roadways were $443 million in 2004, with children and youth accounting for over half that cost.

Aside from the pain and anguish that could be averted, it is estimated that $1 invested in bicycle helmets saves $29 in injury costs.

Despite this, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and all three territories, do not have bicycle helmet legislation.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that everyone riding a bicycle be required to wear a CSA-approved helmet. Laws should
be accompanied by enforcement and public education, which have been shown to increase helmet use.

Bicycle Helmet Legislation Across Canada

Province/Territory                       2009 Status:        2011 Status:                 Recommended actions:

British Columbia                                 Excellent               Excellent                     Meets all CPS recommendations

Alberta                                                  Good                       Good                     Amend current legislation to include all age groups.

Saskatchewan                                        Poor                          Poor                    Enact legislation that requires all age groups to wear helmets.  Some education programs are available.

Manitoba                                                   Poor                          Poor                 Enact legisislation that requires all age groups to wear helmets. Low-cost helmets and education programs are available.

Ontario                                                   Good                       Good             Amend current legislation to include all age groups.

Quebec                                                    Poor                        Poor                        Enact legislation that requires all age groups to wear helmets. Some education programs are available.

New Brunswick                                   Excellent                Excellent                   Meets all CPS recommendations.

Nova Scotia                                           Excellent                Excellent                   Meets all CPS recommendations.

Prince Edward Island                        Excellent                Excellent                   Meets all CPS recommendations.

Newfoundland and Labrador           Poor                        Poor                      Enact legislation that requires all age groups to wear helmets.

Yukon                                                      Poor                         Poor                      Enact legislation that requires all age groups to wear helmets.

Northwest Territories                        Poor                         Poor                       Enact legislation that requires all age groups to wear helmets.

Nunavut                                                     Poor                         Poor                      Enact legislation that requires all age groups to wear helmets.

 

Helmet Legislation in Ontario

Helmet requirement

 103.1 (2)  No person shall ride on, drive or operate a power-assisted bicycle on a highway unless the person is wearing a helmet as required by subsection 104 (1) or (2.1). 2009, c. 5, s. 35.

Motorcycle and bicycle helmets

Motorcyclists to wear helmet

104.  (1)  No person shall ride on or operate a motorcycle or motor assisted bicycle on a highway unless the person is wearing a helmet that complies with the regulations and the chin strap of the helmet is securely fastened under the chin. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 104 (1).

Idem

(2)  No person shall carry a passenger who is under sixteen years of age on a motorcycle on a highway unless the passenger is wearing a helmet that complies with the regulations and the chin strap of the helmet is securely fastened under the chin. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 104 (2).

Bicyclists to wear helmet

(2.1)  Subject to subsection 103.1 (2), no person shall ride on or operate a bicycle on a highway unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet that complies with the regulations and the chin strap of the helmet is securely fastened under the chin. 2009, c. 5, s. 36 (1).

Duty of parent or guardian

(2.2)  No parent or guardian of a person under sixteen years of age shall authorize or knowingly permit that person to ride on or operate a bicycle, other than a power-assisted bicycle, on a highway unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet as required by subsection (2.1). 1993, c. 18, s. 1; 2009, c. 5, s. 36 (2).

Horse-riders, helmets and footwear

104.1  (1)  No person under the age of 18 years shall ride or be mounted on a horse on a highway unless that person has and is correctly using the following equipment in the manner that it was designed to be used:

1. A helmet that complies with the requirements under the Horse Riding Safety Act, 2001.

 

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