CSL strengthens pioneering helmet bylaws

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Bike helmets are a must for all ages

Bike helmets are a must for all ages

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.

Make bike helmets a family affair

Make bike helmets a family affair

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.

Cyclist safety campaign underway across Montreal

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The cyclist safety campaign is underway.  From June 4 to August 26, 2012, Montreal police officers will pay special attention to enforcing the highway safety code provisions for cyclists and drivers. Cyclists and drivers both engage in risky behaviour – it’s a two-way street!  In fact, 50% of the cyclist accidents leading to death or injury are the driver’s fault, and the 50% are the fault of the cyclist.

Read more via Cyclist safety.

And remember to always wear a bicycle helmet.  It’s the law in Cote Saint-Luc.

There are excellent promotional materials available online from the Quebec government’s automobile insurance board (SAAQ) on cycle safety such as this flyer.

Business offers free helmets for Bixi users cycling in Old Montreal and the Old Port

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Business offers free helmets for Bixi users cycling in Old Montreal and the Old Port (Montreal Gazette)

Jack Kowalski has been pitching an odd idea for several years.  He’d like helmets to be worn inside cars.  While his idea has yet to gain much traction I share his enthusiasm for increased awareness, promotion and use of helmets for cycling, skiing and other sports that can easily result in traumatic brain injury.  TBI is preventable in 80% of cases by wearing an approved helmet.

Kowalski is upset that Montreal’s bike sharing system, BIXI, does not offer or require helmets. I agree with him on this point.  So he has done something about it.  He has purchased 50 helmets that he will loan for free to BIXI users at his store in Old Montreal.  Great initiative. Bravo Jack Kowalski.

Helmet safety

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CBC News reports surprising findings on helmet safety: CBC.ca Player.

Bottom line?  Ensure you and your kids wear a helmet for tobogganing, skating and skiing.

As we mark 20 years since I proposed helmet legislation in Cote Saint-Luc leading to the first municipal bylaw in Canada, once again, I call upon the Quebec government to require helmets for all cyclists and skiers.

Our dynamic and engaged MNA, Lawrence Bergman, could be a key advocate to influence the government to take action.

Post your comments here.

My Grandma Doesn’t Wear A Helmet

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My neighbour, Fran, recently learned about my advocacy regarding mandatory legislation for bike helmets and loaned me a copy of this delightful little book for kids.

“My Grandma Doesn’t Wear A Helmet” was written as a tribute to the writer’s mother, Roz, who passed away accidentally in 2001. Author Shoshanna Anisman says Roz was the most amazing, loving and giving person who instilled in her grandchildren a zest for life! This story is based on her many and wonderful adventures with her granddaughter. The warmth and closeness of the relationship between the two of them is felt on every page and in each illustration. The story is told from the granddaughter’s perspective and relates, in a most touching manner, the importance of always wearing your helmet; whether biking, rollerblading, motorcycling or even climbing.

This is Shoshanna (Shawnie) Anisman’s first foray into the writing world. She works full-time and is the single mother of two fantastic teenagers. She was inspired to tell this story so that others would be aware of the importance of wearing a helmet, at any age, while biking. In a split second her family’s life was changed forever because there are no formal helmet laws in Quebec, Canada. She is not a political activist or lobbyist and chose to get this important message out to the world in a much softer and perhaps a more effective manner.

Available on Amazon or check your local library.  A copy is available at the Cote Saint-Luc Public Library.

In my opinion:  Hats off (but keep your helmets on!!) to Shawnie on this excellent initiative and wonderful tribute to her mom. Every form of activism for a good cause is helpful.  I hope her efforts in creating this project help influence many people to wear a helmet while cycling and in other sports activity.  Perhaps this will also help the Quebec government in passing this much-needed legislation.  Remember, Cote Saint-Luc was the first municipality in Canada to adopt mandatory helmet legislation in 1991. Search this blog for lots more about bike helmet legislation.  I hope you agree?  Please comment.