One of my primary objectives when I first stood for election was to ensure that the City of Cote Saint-Luc became a pioneer in the field of making bike helmets mandatory for all cyclists with its first helmet by-law in 1992.
Cote Saint-Luc became the first city in Canada to adopt such a by-law in 1992. Since then, half the provinces require helmets to be worn for cycling. Unfortunately, Quebec is not one of them.
Since the 90s, a number of other wheeled devices have appeared in the market and our by-law is due for an update, to include kick scooters, skateboards, electric bicycles, etc.
In order to comply with Canadian standards, CSA approved helmets are the standard one should look for when purchasing a helmet. The bylaw permits helmets that have the CSA label, as well as those that meet the American ANSI or the Snell Foundation standards.
The updated bylaw now covers electric bicycles, which are not governed by the Highway Safety Code (amongst other things, they do not require a license plate, a special driver’s license classification or the provincial requirement to wear a helmet as a motorcycle or gas-powered scooter would). Also included are in-line skates, skateboards and any self-propelled device used on the street or sidewalk.
The fine for non-compliance is now $25 (plus applicable court fees). While the amount is relatively low it is meant to serve as a deterrent to non-compliance with the by-law. Ultimately, the city has taken the approach of education and awareness to gain compliance with the 21 year old bylaw.
If you cycle, scoot, skate or blade, wear a helmet! You might just save your head from avoidable trauma.