NICOSIA – A new law on Cyprus making it mandatory to wear a helmet is being fought by bicyclists who want it repealed because they said it will discourage people from riding despite the intent to keep their heads safe.
The call came immediately after the law went into effect, bicyclists not named telling Philenews that, “We believe that all cyclists should be able to choose what they wear on their bikes, and should be respected if they choose to wear a helmet of if they choose not to.”
But Traffic Police said riding without a helmet is dangerous although it wasn’t said why it took until now to pass a law requiring the use, which authorities said could save lives.
Senior traffic police officer Harris Evripidou violators would be fined 50 euros
($53.85) if caught, but not in every case. “We will be lenient. Where we see cyclists riding in places where their lives are endangered, namely on highways and busy roads where they mix with vehicles, then they will be fined,” he said.
He also said that officers wouldn’t go parks to hunt for bicyclists not wearing helmets, not explaining the selective enforcement of the law. He noted that four bicyclists were killed riding in 2022, and two weren’t wearing helmets.
“These figures, show us that not wearing one has that effect, whether the cyclist is at fault or not. So, our recommendation is that helmet use should be enforced to protect cyclists,” he said.
Cyprus now joins Argentina, Australia and New Zealand as the only countries in the world that currently have a mandatory helmet law for people riding bikes, said the site Road.cc, which noted that the law doesn’t require a helmet that could withstand angled or oblique impacts nor from a motor vehicle.
In December, Japan announced that it would make helmets compulsory for bike riders with effect from 1 April, although there will be no sanction for anyone found riding a bicycle while not wearing one, the site said.