Riding in France with your kids this summer? By law, they now have to wear a helmet

Law came into place in France last week that makes it mandatory for children under 12 cycling to wear a helmet.

If you're planning a holiday to France this summer and are packing your child's bike, as well as your own, be advised that it now law for children under the age of 12 to wear a helmet in the country.

Law was passed last December that made it mandatory for under 12s to wear a helmet when riding a bike or even just as a passenger, and it came into effect on March 22. It affects all French citizens and all visitors.

If a child is spotted without a helmet on, the parent or guardian can be fined €90.

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The new law coincides with figures that show that the number of cyclist deaths in France increased by seven percent in the last year. Between 2011 and 2015, 26 children died in cycling accidents.

It is hoped that the law will persuade more adults to wear helmets: "If parents aren't wearing helmets, their children will ask them about it. We want to pass on the message through the voices of the children," Emmanuel Barbe, the government's road safety adviser, told Le Parisien newspaper.

The issue of making helmet use obligatory is a long-running debate. In New South Wales, Australia, cyclists can be fined $319 for not wearing one, but opponents say that it can discourage recreational cyclists.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.