Hey cyclists: keep your lid on
Traffic cops are cracking down
By Chris Woodall
It'll be a $29 fine for lack of melon protector for cyclists caught by The Man.
RCMP are getting serious about bikers not wearing helmets. A two-day blitz by traffic officer Const. Lee Hamilton last week netted a fair-sized catch, including a run of 18 tickets in a 2.5-hour time period.
"We may do it any time," Hamilton says of keeping an eye out for lid-less riders.
"The law has been around for two years, so there's no excuse," Hamilton says of cyclists who left their helmet at home, or just straight out don't own one.
Youth have proved to be the smart ones in this game.
While 99 per cent of kids and young adults have the sense God gave a goose to wear a helmet, Hamilton finds that only 45-50 per cent of those aged 25-45 strap on the protective gear.
Bike rental companies hand out helmets as part of the bicycle rental fee — and get the renter to sign a waiver acknowledging that fact — so tourists caught without a hard hat have no excuses either, says Hamilton, who has seen a lot of the sad outcomes of accidents involving unprotected riders or vehicle drivers in his several years as a collision analyst.
Whistler RCMP detachment have been active in other traffic control.
Playground zones where the posted speed drops to 30 km/h have been patrolled, and Mountie eyes are peeled for folks not wearing seatbelts.
"Americans are wearing them, but they are more likely to get caught doing U-turns," Hamilton says. "It's the locals who are not wearing their seat belts."
The biggest excuse is the distance travelled isn't so great that a seatbelt is needed, but Hamilton begs to differ.
"I've seen the A-to-B trips and I know what can happen," he says of deadly accidents that can occur anywhere, anytime.
"In North Vancouver a dad and his daughter were going to drive two blocks to a store when their vehicle was T-boned by a van," Hamilton recalls.
"No one was wearing a seatbelt. The dad popped out one side of his vehicle and his head was crushed when the van tipped over onto him, with the daughter watching that happen," Hamilton says.
"I don't give warnings," he says.