Why is it Important to Wear a Bike Helmet?
Bike Safety and Manitoba Bike
As of May 1, 2013 a law took effect in Manitoba that makes it compulsory for cyclists or passengers under the age of 18 to wear a suitable helmet while cycling or riding on or in anything attached to or towed by a bicycle. While this legislation does not make it compulsory for cyclists over the age of 18 to wear a helmet, adults are encouraged to do so to reduce the chance of head injuries and to act as positive role models for children.
Parents and guardians are responsible to ensure their children are wearing bicycle helmets when cycling. If you are the parent of someone under 18 that is not wearing a bike helmet while cycling, you can be ticketed under The Highway Traffic Act.
This law also provides an alternative to paying a fine, for cyclists who have received their first ticket for not wearing a helmet. They can take the Manitoba Bike Helmet Safety Course and have their fine dismissed. The course provides cyclists with important safety information about bike helmets.
Helmets must be certified by standards such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Snell Memorial Foundation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
**Effective May 1, 2013, bicycle helmets are exempt from provincial sales tax; no age restriction applies.
Bicycle helmet observation studies, both prior to and after introducing legislation, have shown that helmet use has increased significantly. Helmet wearing rates among children and youth cyclists in Winnipeg improved from 31% in 2012 to 61% in 2013; in Rural Manitoba, helmet use also significantly increased, from 44% in 2012 to 78% in 2013. These increases suggest that bicycle helmet legislation has had a positive effect on the number of cyclists choosing to wear helmets in Manitoba.
A certified helmet will last 3 to 5 years, depending on use. But, if your helmet has been in a crash, or damaged, you need to replace it with a new one.
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Injuries can happen anywhere - close to home, on the sidewalk or side streets. Research shows that cyclists are more vulnerable to injury at intersections and on multi-lane roads. For children and youth, most bike injuries happen due to:
Most young children, particularly under the age of 10, do not have the maturity and skill to cycle safely alone. Younger children should always cycle with a parent or guardian, especially in traffic.
The links below are intended to help parents make safe choices in selecting outdoor equipment and ensure that they are using it safely.
Bicycles and tricycles are vehicles. Riders must obey road signs and traffic rules just like people driving cars, trucks and buses.
For more information, Manitoba Public Insurance has published an "I Cycle Safely" brochure for children and youth, and a "Bike Safely" booklet for adults on learning and following the rules of the road.
Take steps to be visible while riding your bicycle:
For more information about biking safely, check out the Manitoba Local Government Active Transportation web portal for information on a safe cycling program in your community. Ask your school, local police service or community club about local bike safety programs for your children.
To view the Traffic Skills 101 & Bike Handling Skills 101 videos click on the following links.
Traffic Skills 101 (English only)
Bike Handling Skills 101 (English only)