Helmet Safety

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Velo-city 2007 – Proposal for Presentation

Three years of Spanish compulsory helmet: Some results of an inconvenient law Author: Name, Forename Contact Details: Institution, Postal Address, E-mail Please fill in wether Merallo Grande, Juan ConBici-Spain C/ Luis Cernuda, 16, 19208 Alovera, Guadalajara merallo@telefonica.net x poster presentation

In 2004 a reform of the General Regulation of Traffic was approved containing some improvements for cyclists. Nevertheless, it also had some points in that regulation breaking that positive tendency. The compulsory helmet regulation in interurban routes created a serious sensation on which bicycle was a risk sport, ignoring its function like means of transport, means of healthful leisure and tool for cyclotouring. This Regulation, done by the Spanish government, but in fact written by the technicians of the Spanish National Traffic Safety Committee, had to develop the Road Security Law, dictated by the Parliament, which already placed the helmet like an obligatory element. But the technicians did not know very clearly how to approach the development of that law that had been made with no attention to all the users of the bicycle. Regulation then proposed somewhat subjective conditions in which the helmet would not be compulsory. This double moral to force restrictively in one hand and to be open-handed on the other hand, showed the deep contradictions of a law that should never had to have carried out. After three years from the beginning of the Regulation, I analyze its results, demonstrating that after this time the intentions that the law persecuted with the compulsory helmet are far to make progress but a deep lack of success in the primary intention of the law: improve the security of the cyclists. Cyclists have not been a priority Spain don’t care about cyclists; in fact it is one of the countries in Europe more carefree about it. Trustworthy and updated data on the number of cyclists that exist in the country are unknown either the number of bicycles that exist nor the kilometres travelled with them. Likewise, percentages of the reasons for the trips by bicycle (leisure, sport, transport, etc...) do not exist By ignorance of these data, statistics of cycling accidents cannot be totally trustworthy. So we are losing a large amount of information which prevents us from understanding the problem and to find possible solutions. Focal Theme: Country: Spain Gender: Male Merallo Grande, Juan

Velo-city 2007 – Proposal for Presentation

In Spain, the context used for solving the problems on road safety of cyclists up to year 2004 has mainly been two: 1) Trying to improve the safety of cyclists in inter city areas, normally ignoring urban areas. The characteristic mistake to consider cycling from an almost exclusively sport point of view avoided one more global conception of bicycle. 2) Implementing compulsory rules for cyclists as some of them dissuade from using the bicycle, doing responsible the own cyclists for which it happens to them, without a previous study of the real causes that made cyclists to be such a vulnerable group. It is an attempt to solve the problem of road violence treating the symptoms of the final link of the chain, cyclists, instead of focusing on the automobile aggressiveness and the responsibility of Public Administrations.

What Law and Regulations say about cycle helmet.
In the “Adaptation of rules of traffic to the cycling practice” (1999), the sadly known as “Anti-cyclists Law” obligation of using helmet for cyclists in inter cities road was imposed as follows: “Users of bicycles will be obliged to use the protective helmet in inter cities roads under the conditions statutorily established”. In the justification of the Law was recognized that “helmet is not the solution for the cyclist accidents in road1”. And it was also stated “If out of 100 cyclists one survives ...2”. That is to say, Administration agreed with 1% of effectiveness,...
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