Police are currently cracking down on those who bike without a helmet. This is due to recent incidents where individuals have fallen off their bikes and sustained brain injuries. Most recently, an intoxicated woman fell off her bike after drinking at a liquor establishment. “She sustained head injuries that most likely could have been prevented if she was wearing a helmet,” said Cpl. Don Erichsen, Elk Valley RCMP.
“The public is asking us to do more as there are many people biking without helmets. It is a matter of community safety and the law.”
Elk Valley RCMP will now be stopping all bikers spotted without a helmet, speaking with them about the importance of wearing a helmet and issuing them a warning ticket. “We are taking every opportunity to educate the public on this issue,” he said.
Biking without a helmet is a concern throughout the Elk Valley, and predominantly Fernie. Cpl. Erichsen encourages adults especially, who are more inclined to not wear a helmet, to snap one on and set a good example for children. “Poor examples set up future generations for more harm,” says Erichsen. “Sometimes, getting an adult to wear a helmet is like trying to teach an old dog new tricks, but it is very important,” he said.
“The public reviews have been mixed, but mostly positive about the concentrated effort of getting people to wear helmets. In one case, a man was beside himself when his daughter was issued a ticket. People get angry and ask us how we have time to do this. Of, course this is not our highest priority, but it is a serious community issue.”
The Elk Valley RCMP hope to engage young people in fun programs and talks on bike safety when school begins. “This issue is important to the Valley and important to us,” said Cpl. Erichsen.