Councillor asks for draft bylaw to make bike helmets mandatory

Cyclists in Prince Albert are not required by law to wear a helmet, but that could change in the near future.

Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick has asked administration to prepare a draft bylaw on mandatory bike helmets for debate at the next regular council meeting in November.

Saskatchewan and Quebec are the only two provinces without any mandatory bike helmet laws. None of Canada’s three territories have them either.

“I’m asking just for a bylaw that anybody on a bike on public property be required to have a bike helmet, and if they don’t, that there be consequences,” Ogrodnick said following Tuesday’s council meeting. “Administration will come back with a report stating what kind of consequences, but I would hope for maybe confiscation of the bike, that kind of thing (or) maybe a fine, perhaps.”

Prince Albert’s current bike bylaw includes fines of up to $50 for punishable offences. It also allows bylaw officers to seize and impound bikes if they believe the offence was wilfully committed without regard for public safety.

Ogrodnick decided to bring the issue forward after hearing concerns from local residents. He’s confident responsible cyclists won’t have a problem with the bylaw, if it’s approved.

“Anybody who’s a law abiding citizen won’t have a problem having a bike helmet and riding around with a bike helmet on,” Ogrodnick said.

A few Saskatchewan municipalities have debated implementing their own laws with mixed responses. The City of Yorkton requires all cyclists to wear helmets, while the City of Moose Jaw requires them for riders under the age of 18.

Saskatoon city council voted against a mandatory helmet bylaw in 2007. The City began revising their cycling bylaw in September, but a mandatory bike helmet law was not included in the proposed draft, according to a report from the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

The next Prince Albert regular city council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 12.

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