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Police checks on cycle helmets

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Police have begun road traffic checks on cyclists for protective helmets after a law made it obligatory to wear one.

Not wearing a proper protective helmet will incur an on-the-spot fine of €50. If fines are not paid, the offender will be taken to court.

If the case goes to court, according to the police, a maximum cash penalty of €500 will be imposed in case of conviction.

Police advise that helmets used by cyclists and co-passengers over 14 must comply with standards and bear the CE sign.

Traffic Police said they would take a ‘soft stance’ in the early days of the new law.

Police said they would not go into parks and deliberately look out for cyclists not wearing a helmet.

Four cyclists were killed on the roads last year, two of whom were not wearing helmets and the cause of death was a head injury.

But some cycling groups argue the law is “destructive and regressive”.

According to critics, Cyprus became the only country in the European Union and the fourth in the world to implement legislation on the mandatory use of helmets for cyclists.

Activists say it will deter people from cycling and shifts responsibility from the absence of safe infrastructure that caters for the car.

Organised cycling groups argue that more evidence must be presented on the amount of protection helmets provide.

They say accidents happen due to the road network design, high speed limits and poor driving behaviour.

DIKO MP Chrysis Pantelides, who tabled the bill, disagrees with their arguments.

“I do not share the assessment that wearing a helmet is a disincentive to use the bicycle.

“Similar miscalculations also existed in the past, when other protective measures, such as seat belts in cars or crash helmets on motorcycles, became mandatory.

“And the cost of buying a bicycle helmet, with the appropriate specifications, is not prohibitive. I repeat, the helmet protects,” he said.