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The Senate in France has once again debated a bill to mandate bike helmets, with violators receiving a fine of 135 Euros and possible impoundment of their bikes:

While the practice of cycling is exploding, a group of centrist senators led by François Bonneau proposes to make the helmet compulsory for “any driver of a vehicle with one or more wheels, whether motor or electric assistance, as well as ‘to any cycle driver’, under penalty of a fine of 135 euros. “Nearly two-thirds of fatally injured cyclists were 55 years and over in 2019” and “head trauma is the main cause of death among cyclists,” said the senator in his proposal.

“It seems that this is a false good idea,” reacted Françoise Rossignol, president of the Club of cycling towns and territories, Tuesday at a press conference. “So that there are more bikes, we must not put the brakes on practice”. “Safety is linked to the speed of other vehicles, to visibility (of the bikes), and to a number of essential arrangements for safety on the course”, underlined Françoise Rossignol. “Foreign studies which have looked at behavioral changes following the obligation to wear a helmet all conclude that the number of cyclists has decreased”, underlines the FUB, citing the examples of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. On the other hand, the number of injured is not decreasing as much as we expected.

“The French are fed up with having obligations imposed on them,” said Elisabeth Borne, then Minister of Transport. “We recommend wearing a helmet and everyone takes their responsibilities.” “Let’s stop pissing off the French,” Bruno Millienne, MoDem co-rapporteur, argued, believing that with a helmet one could falsely feel “safer”.

Thankfully, the proposal was rejected by the Senate Law Commission. However there is still the possibility of a helmet mandate for riders of electric scooters.

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