Press Release. Given the possible mandatory helmet
BEFORE the mandatory helmet use
Murcia, to March 9, 2013.
Murciaenbici, as an association of bicycle users, opposes CATEGORICALY THE OBLIGATORY USE OF A BYCYCLE helmet law recently published by the DGT in draft copy of future Rules of the road. There are many reasons that lead us to this opposition.
First it causes fewer bicycle users and this leads to less security of bicycle traffic, particularly when the bike is a less aggressive means of transport than the car or motorcycle. It leads to a greater number of minor accidents of pedestrians. Cyclists produce calmer safer traffic. Quoting De Marco: "Ultimately, the helmet law saves some brains, but destroys many hearts."
We do not argue the good capability of the helmet to prevent head injury but its a different thing is to force its use. The accident data collected shows that helmet use can be useless as most damage to the rider affects feet, legs and hands, so on many occasions it’s ineffective. Therefore, the helmet does not attempt a comprehensive security of the rider. There are more suitable and less burdensome ways to improve safety. Fatal accidents are due in a large part to being knocked off or severe traumas and most occur on interurban roads where its use is mandatory. Unfortunately we can name many victims who were wearing helmets and died with it on.
Another reason is the enormous social benefits that would be lost to the city by reducing the number cyclists by making the wearing of a bicycle helmet mandatory. We will not be able to talk of cleaner, quieter, and healthier cities ... just for the sake of partially protecting one part of the cyclist. On this scale to measure the benefits, the town has little weight.
The helmet law is contrary to the general rule in countries with greater experience in the use of bicycles. Riding without helmets is allowed in countries like Germany, Holland and Denmark, with use ratios of up to 40%. It goes against the world at large, for only in some states of the U.S. and Australia is it required. The latter went on to take the action you want to take in Spain and they saw a dramatic decrease in the number of bicycle users.
Meanwhile, Spain suspends the controlling of emissions of the main greenhouse gases, causing 16,000 premature deaths annually in our country, ten times more than the annual death rate from traffic accidents. Spain has an important responsibility to energy consumption and methods of transport. We should add that the Spanish government spent 770 million euros on buying CO2 allowances during the last legislative term.
Landing in our country, we urge Maria Segui, Director General of Traffic, to reconsider this measure and to consider their ineffectiveness and break the assumption that cities involved in the environment with the only excuse, that complete security is compromised.
We also urge the Mayor Miguel Angel House and the Delegate of Environment Adela Martinez Chaca to express themselves publicly to this measure. Murcia holds the Presidency of the network of cities for the bike use and it must position it self clearly before implementing obstacles to the use of the bicycle as a means of transportation along with priority to pedestrians and public transport.
Dangers to cyclists in general and public bike systems, in particular in the cities have been implemented and have given an important boost to the use of bike trips in the city, if the helmet becomes mandatory, the helmet law is against sustainable mobility policies.
Lord Mayor, Deputy Mayor Ms. Delegate of Environment, we invite you to support our position on mandatory helmet use on urban roads that the General Board of Traffic wants to implement
Murcia en Bici.
C/. Capitán Balaca, 10. 30003 Murcia
Tel +34 652 369 371 (We speak english).