Bicycle Helmet Regulation Enforcement

To and
August 14, 2012
Dear Vancouver Police Department,

It is to the great dismay of the people that the publicly funded police department has decided to put the vitality and health of this city in jeopardy by ticketing people on bicycles for failing to wear a helmet.It has been long shown that riding a bicycle will benefit the health of the person, and therefore decrease health care costs related to the person. In fact, numerous studies have shown that the health benefits of riding a bike outweigh any risk by a factor of more than 20 to 1 [1].
To say that you are “helping us” by giving us a ticket cannot be more misleading. By giving us a fine, we are less likely to cycle, and therefore puts our health in danger. This is because studies have shown that enforcing helmet mandation causes the number of people on bikes to decrease dramatically [2].
Though riding a bike without a helmet is against the law, those cyclists do not put the safety of others in danger. Cycling without a helmet doesn’t hurt anyone.I hear weekly stories of people on bikes being ticketed for helmet lackage, then being cut off (and almost maimed) by motor vehicle operators with their eyes on their cellular phone at the next intersection. There is also the daily  occurrence of automobiles parked in bike lanes, forcing people on bikes to weave into traffic.

Police time and money is much better spent enforcing drunk drivers, distracted drivers and dangerously parked vehicles which threaten the safety of others, rather than go after helpless bike riders improving their health. Please let us control our health ourselves and focus your attention on dangerous offenders.

Kyle Zheng
[1] Helmet Laws Have “A Large Unintended Negative Health Impact”, Says Study: ECF Newswatch
[2] Helmet laws: British Columbia

UPDATE: VPD has Replied to my letter: Aug 15, 2012

Reply to “Bicycle Helmet Regulation Enforcement”
Hello Kyle,
Thank you for taking the time to write your email to the Vancouver Police Department regarding your opinion about enforcing cycling helmet laws.  I have forwarded your email to the St/Sgt in charge of the Traffic Enforcement Unit for his consideration.
The VPD Traffic Section works year round to reduce fatal and serious injury collisions involving cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. We endeavor to balance our messaging & enforcement so that no one group is unfairly targeted over another and we do this by focusing on various safety campaigns throughout the year aimed equally at cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.
The police are also not the ones who create and enact the laws – that is up to the Government bodies.  If you do not agree with helmet laws then perhaps you should petition the Government to have the law changed?
Best regards,





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