We reported on Peter Bone MP’s 10 minute rule bill on cycle helmets here.
There has been some criticism regarding my 10 minute rule bill to make it mandatory for children of the ages of 14 and under to wear a safety helmet when cycling on a public highway. Parliament gave leave to bring in the Bill on Tuesday 16 October 2007 without anyone speaking or voting against the Bill.
One of the issues I had to decide on before introducing the Bill was that we did not want yet another piece of nanny state legislation. As I am often regarded as a Conservative from the right of the Party, I was once labelled a son of Thatcher and am a member of the Cornerstone Group, I certainly would not have introduced this Bill if I thought this was a piece of nanny state legislation. I made it clear in my speech that this legislation would not apply to adults or children over the age of fourteen who I believe are able to make their own decisions relating to this matter.
However there were a number of reasons why I thought it should be brought in for younger children. First whilst wearing a cycle helmet has increased by nearly 50% from 1994, increasing from 16% to 28%, for children in the same period the wearing of cycle helmets has actually fallen by over 20% to just 14%. Clearly whilst adults are understanding the need to protect themselves, this is actually not being extended to children.
Secondly there were 1600 children either killed or seriously injured over a three year period when riding their bikes. It is a fact that a child’s skull depth is half of that of an adult and does not fully develop until their late teens so their natural protection is not there.
Thirdly, we have a duty to protect our children against dangers that they can not fully appreciate and I am sure if my Bill became law, children’s lives would be saved and serious injuries would be reduced.