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Annette Brooke MP Presents Bill to Protect Child Cyclists

July 14, 2011 5:16 PM

Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, presented a Private Members Bill to Parliament today. The Bill aims to protect children from head injuries, and the devastating effects of brain injury, by making it compulsory for those under 14 to wear cycle helmets.

The Cycles (Protective Headgear for Children) Bill will make it mandatory for children under 14 to wear cycle helmets when cycling on roads and in open spaces. In the last year 5717 children have been admitted to hospital due to accidents whilst cycling, more than twice the number injured as pedestrians. The law will not criminalise those cycling without helmets, instead requiring proof of purchase of a helmet within 28 days to avoid a fine.

Annette said: 'We have a duty to protect our children, and the Cycles (Protective Headgear for Children) Bill will do just that. Brain injury devastates the lives of individuals and their families. Children are at a higher risk because not only are their brains not fully developed but they are less experienced at cycling and on the roads in general.

Brain injury lasts a lifetime. We owe it to children to protect them in the years before they are old enough to make their own minds up. More children wearing helmets will mean a reduction in child deaths and serious brain injury. Through this Bill I hope we can make cycling even safer, and encourage children to get out on their bikes."

The bill has the support of the BMA, brain injury charity Headway, Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust, Child Brain Injury Trust, road safety charity BRAKE, and the Child Accident Prevention Trust, who all deal directly with the effects of brain injury.