Q&A - Bicycle Helmet Enforcement

Q&A ImageI believe bicycles and motor vehicles can exist together on our highways. I am concerned, however, with the amount of bicycle riders I see not wearing a helmet. I was most pleased back in 1997 when BC came out with a bicycle helmet law and other provinces probably didn't.

You know probably better than most that laws are only good if they are enforced. So why are the police not enforcing the bicycle helmet laws? At least from my perspective living in the Comox Valley is concerned they are not. I heard from a lady in Victoria that they do there.

What can I do as a concerned citizen to bring my observations to the RCMP?


Same problem in Penticton

We have the same problem in Penticton, and here bicyclists use the sidewalks, sometimes not even yielding to pedestrians. I think the solution lies first and foremost with education. Most bicyclists don't realize that they are subject to the rules of the road as any motor vehicles.

Obviously, training begins at home and it's up to parents to ensure the child learning to ride has all the proper safety devices. It would be useful to see the police enforcement, but it would also be helpful to spread the word. When I was in school, not in Canada, the police gave school assemblies in the spring about bicycling safety.


I was going to hold Penticton up as a good example! When I was policing there the Ironman Triathlon had a strong influence on youth because all the athletes had to wear helmets during the race. I saw lots of young cyclists and a fair number of adults who followed suit then. I guess that has changed.

The police used to do bicycle rodeos the help children learn the safe way to ride a bicycle and to share the road with others. I think that they are lucky to be in the schools for the DARE program and that most other education has to be done elsewhere. As you say, parents should be taking the lead.

Adults know better and often set a terrible example, even while wearing cycling club uniforms.

How would I try to convince the police to take an interest? Probably the only way that you are going to get any kind of response is to write to the head of the police force or detachment in the area of your concern, ask why you don't see any enforcement being conducted and request that they pay more attention to the problem. Politely request a reply to your letter.


For the most part, the athletes are great when riding. I live out in the country along the bicycle route and drive by the athletes when they're training.

Over the last year I have been getting out an walking more, to improve my health, in the afternoons so being at ground level (so's to speak) I may notice something that may not indeed be a big problem. Personally, I'd rather the police concentrate on hwy 97 between Penticton and OK Falls, which has become a speedway.

Words of Wisdom from the Victoria Police

Cycling in the Ridge

In Maple Ridge there is still about 50% of riders who do not use helmuts and at least that many that use sidewalks and crosswalks as their idea of bike lanes. The problem is two-fold. First, when told what they are doing is wrong, they tell you to "F off", and cite the passing polce car as evidence that what they are doing is just fine. Secondly, there is no enforcement. Whether it be a ticket, with ID, or a confiscated bicycle until they return with ID, it needs to be addressed. Years ago when I taught my kids to ride, I rode beside them with them on the sidewalk and me on the street, until they got stable, then I folowed them one at a time on the road, while they learned their skills. However, without someone to enforce the laws, what chance is there that they will be respected? 

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