I'm not sure where you live, but where I live you have to wear a helmet while cycling if you're sixteen years of age or under. If you're an adult, it's optional.
Recently, one province decided to implement a law that would require children to wear a helmet when cycling. They are one of the few provinces that don't already have that law in place:
Manitoba will soon require that minors wear a "properly fitted and fastened" helmet when riding a bicycle.
Healthy Living Minister Jim Rondeau introduced legislation this afternoon that would make helmets mandatory for bike riders under the age of 18.
In the event of a crash, bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of death and serious injury by as much as 90 per cent, Rondeau said.
From 2005 to 2009, 374 children were hospitalized for cycling-related injuries in Manitoba, according to the province. Fifty-four were hospitalized for cycling-related head injuries.
However, some politicians would also like to make it mandatory for adults to wear safety helmets as well:
The NDP bill makes bike helmet mandatory for cyclists under 18 years of age. Based on evidence from other jurisdictions, it is increasingly clear that it would have been smart to include adults as well as those under age 18. Protecting the heads of adults is important, just as protecting the heads of children is. We did not apply mandatory seat belt legislation just to those under 18. We should not now just apply mandatory bike helmet legislation just to those under 18.
Personally, I don't have a problem with a law that children wear safety helmets while cycling. You'd think responsible parents would already make sure their child is wearing a helmet anyways. But I do have a problem with governments passing laws that adults wear helmets - not because I don't think it's a smart move to wear a helmet but because I despise governments poking their nose into every facet of life.
You could make the argument that it's similar to laws that require adults to wear seatbelts in motor vehicles. I can see the validity to that argument but to be honest, I don't think that should be a law either. I know seatbelts save lives and I'd choose to wear one regardless of whether or not it's the law. In fact, a seatbelt saved my life twice but I still don't think governments should be passing laws that mandate I should wear a helmet while cycling or a seatbelt while driving. It should be common sense that you do so if you value your life.
You could say that the personal responsibility argument is small comfort to a family who lost a loved one because they didn't wear a helmet or a seatbelt. I think that's a fair point but people do stupid things every day and get themselves killed. Should government pass laws for anything that could result in severe injury or death?
I don't think so. Children are unable to make informed choices about safety but adults should be able to.