Did anyone else catch the editorial in todays Sun?... with the headline:
Salad-bowl helmet laws put motorcyclists' lives at risk.
Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2006
When the newly elected Liberal government set out to update and streamline the regulatory burden in British Columbia, it somehow overlooked B.C. Regulation 366/87.
The 87 refers to the year it was enacted. It may not be the most useless regulation ever set to paper, but the one that backs up the law requiring motorcycle riders to wear a helmet certainly comes close to earning that title. Rather than adopt one of the readily available standards, such as those set by the United States Department of Transport or the Snell Foundation, to define an effective helmet, the regulation is a list of specific manufacturers and models.
It was out of date as soon as it was written and it has never been updated. As a result, B.C.'s helmet law is all but unenforceable. So this province has the dubious distinction of being the only one in which motorcyclists can drive around with what one coroner described as the equivalent of a salad bowl on their heads.
There is no doubt that well-designed helmets save lives. That fact was emphasized again this week as the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a 13- per-cent increase in motorcycle fatalities, largely as a result of declining helmet use in states where mandatory helmet laws have been repealed.
All helmets sold in the U.S. have to meet their Department of Transport standard. Not so in B.C., where virtually useless skull caps or skid lids, such as the one worn by the motorcyclist killed on the Pattullo Bridge last week, are readily available and commonly worn by self-styled outlaw bikers.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, municipal police forces and the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police have all asked the provincial government to give them a regulation -- such as the one already in place for bicycle helmets -- that sets a standard that can be enforced.
A proper helmet will not save the rider in every accident, especially when speeding or dangerous driving is involved, but it can significantly increase the odds of survival.
B.C.'s police are trying to save lives. With the province's help, they can.