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.
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.