Motorcycle HelmetIs there a difference between the helmet laws which make it law to wear a helmet on a bicycle,and the wearing of one on a motorcycle? The reason I ask is that I ride both a motorcycle and a bicycle. I find I can ride my bicycle without a helmet at any time, but when I tried on two occasions to ride my motorcycle without a helmet, the first lasted 10 minutes before being pulled over and the second time I was only a block down the road. It seems to me selective enforcement, and this smacks of injustice.

As I am sure that this reader is aware, there is no difference between having to wear a helmet when you are riding a bicycle or a motorcycle. In both cases it is an important piece of safety equipment that should not be forgotten. If you choose to ride without a helmet the possibility does exist that you will be ticketed for it.

During my service with the RCMP I seldom wrote a ticket for either one. It was rare to see a motorcycle rider without one which removed my opportunity, and until now, I did not stop to examine my motives with regard to bicycle helmets. It is easy to say that I worked the highway rather than in the municipal areas and there weren't many without a helmet on the highways or that the problem of injury due to not using a helmet was vanishingly small there as well. However, enforcement is expected to be preventative to keep that figure low.

Is it unjust to ticket helmetless motorcycle riders while ignoring helmetless bicycle riders? I would have to agree. The police are expected to enforce the law equally and fairly. Perhaps this comes from the perception that motorcycle riders are at higher risk when they don't wear a helmet, they are generally mature enough to know the rules and they are easily identifiable through the use of the drivers licence.

When one looks at how most cyclists operate in traffic there are a lot more opportunities to write tickets for many things in addition to helmets. The most recent collision statistics are from 2004. There were 992 injury and 6 fatal collisions involving cyclists, which are not negligible numbers. This could be a wake up call to traffic enforcement, pay closer attention to cyclists.


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