As of today, adults with a child under 12 who is not wearing a helmet while riding their bike may be fined as much of 135€. The new measure hopes to reduce serious head injuries among children.
What has been long recommended is now a must: adults accompanying a child under the age of 12 on a bicycle are obliged to ensure the children is wearing protective head gear. The new law was signed by Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve earlier this year and enters into force today. Those who do not respect the new rule must pay a fine of 90€ (135€ if paid at a later date).
According to the authority for traffic safety, wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of serious head injury by 70%, a slight injury by 31% and a facial injury by 28%. In 12 countries of the European Union, wearing a bicycle helmet is already mandatory for children: in Finland, cyclists of all ages must wear a helmet. In the UK, wearing the helmet, on the other hand, remains voluntary at any age.
"The new law is a mild measure, which should also have an educational function for parents," Emmanuel Barbe, Commissioner for Road Safety, stated in an official comment. “People should be aware of the dangers posed by road traffic”
Regarding accident statistics, the new measure appears to be justified: last year, the number of fatal bicycle accidents increased by 7% in France compared with the previous year. It is hoped that the new law will reduce accident rates for riders of all ages.