Adult cyclists are not required to wear helmets in Ontario. Many forgo this safety measure because they do not want to wear one. This situation is so universal that Swedish company, Hovding, decided to make a stylish alternative to traditional helmets. Using airbag technology, they made a scarf-type-collar that encapsulates a person’s head in the event of a crash.
Hovding’s founder Terese Alstin says “We got a lot of feedback for why people would not like to wear a helmet. It was everything from not wanting to destroytheir hairstyle or that it was impractical to carry the helmet around; you wanna feel free and feel the wind in your hair.”
While currently only available in Europe and only for people aged 15 and up Alstin says we can expect it in North America” around 2016.”
Ontario has required cyclists less than 18 years of age to wear helmets since 1995. The province also requires that E-bike riders wear helmets. While e-bikes are limited to 32 km/h, adult cyclists often travel at this speed or higher, especially while riding downhill but are not required to wear helmets in Ontario. British Columbia, PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick require all cyclists of all ages to wear helmets.
In the wake of the cyclist deaths in Toronto in recent years, the Ontario coroner did an investigation into the death of cyclists and the report recommended implementation of mandatory helmet legislation for cyclists of all ages, within the context of an evaluation of the impact of this legislation on cycling activity.”
Despite this recommendation, the Ministry of Transportation(MTO) is reluctant to change the laws. Ajay Woozageer, the MTO media spokesperson said in an email “A mandatory helmet law may reduce the number of cyclists and have a negative impact on safety”
Many adult cyclists are more proactive and do not need to be told to wear a helmet. Former mayor David Miller is a cyclist in Toronto and said, “From my experience, everyone should wear a helmet. It’s common sense.”