City crackdown on cycle helmets

By Kiri Gillespie

17 comments


Police are cracking down on cyclists riding without helmets.

Tauranga police Sergeant Wayne Hunter said they received community feedback expressing concern at the number of cyclists riding without helmets, with no obvious consequence.

"We are aware of it," Mr Hunter said.

"It's just prioritising our work load ... so we are going to target them and hopefully get more people wearing helmets."

Anyone caught cycling without a helmet can be fined $55.

The crackdown, which starts on Monday, will be throughout the Western Bay of Plenty over the next two weeks.

Mr Hunter said people needed to be reminded that wearing helmets was for their safety.

"I think people have gotten blase about it. That's why we are doing this. It's a danger. If you hit your head coming off a bicycle, you could get serious injury."

Over a 30-minute period yesterday the Bay of Plenty Times found three of five cyclists riding on Marine Parade at Banks Ave were not wearing helmets.

A new Mount Maunganui resident, who would only be known as Kayla, said she knew it was wrong not to wear helmet. "I know I shouldn't [ride without helmet] but last week when we came here, we thought about getting helmets but no one else was wearing any so why not us as well?"

Another Mount Maunganui resident, who moved from the United States several months ago, said he did not know it was an offence to ride without helmet.

The man, who would not be identified, was cycling while carrying a surfboard yesterday.

"I didn't know it was the law. Where I'm from, it isn't. I've never seen anyone here wear any so why would I?"


Call for reflective bands at night

Optometrists are calling on cyclists to wear reflective bands on their ankles and knees because traditional reflector vests are not safe enough at night.

A new study has found the strategic placement of reflective markers on ankles and knees is three times as effective as reflective vests.

High visibility clothing is not effective at night and reflective vests do not do enough to enhance visibility, the study by Queensland researchers found.

The New Zealand Association of Optometrists has urged all cyclists to adopt the new approach to reflective bands because they indicate to drivers what is known as "biological motion".

"The image of biological motion created by reflector markers on hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows and wrists yields a pattern of motion that is immediately recognisable as a person rather than an object," the association said.

Member Geoff Sargent said there was no known clothing available in New Zealand that had reflective markers in those positions but an alternative was using reflective bands that could be placed at different areas on the body.

The new research by Dr Joanne Wood, professor at the School of Optometry at Queensland University of Technology, found that recognition distances for pedestrians wearing biomotion markers at night was three times greater than those wearing a reflective vest.

Q&A:

What are the rules for wearing cycle helmets?

It's compulsory for all cyclists including children on New Zealand roads to wear cycle helmets. A helmet must meet an approved standard and be securely fastened.

Does one size fit all?

The NZ Transport Agency recommends helmets should fit snugly on your head with a minimum use of pads.

What about wear and tear?

If your cycle helmet gets damaged, replace it with a new one. If a police officer stops you and asks to inspect your helmet, you must give it to them.

What if I don't want to wear one?


Anyone caught riding without a suitable helmet can be fined $55 by police.


 

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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