Put a lid on it? Winnipeg to study mandatory bike helmets

Winnipeg is taking a look at making bike helmets mandatory for cyclists.

Council's protection committee gives city staff until fall to look into the idea for all cyclists

Winnipeg city committee votes to study whether bike helmets should be mandatory. (John Rieti/CBC)

Winnipeg is taking a look at making bike helmets mandatory for all cyclists.

City council's protection and community services committee voted Monday to ask city staff to look into making bike helmets mandatory.

The motion came forward on May 17 from council's East Kildonan-Transcona community committee, which is made up of Couns. Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan), Russ Wyatt (Transcona) and Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan).  The motion also calls for city staff consider whether all bikes should have a noise-making device, such as a bell or horn.

On Monday, Wyatt, Schreyer, Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie and Point Douglas Coun. Mike Pagtakhan voted unanimously in favour.

"If you want cycling, wear a helmet," Wyatt said.

Winnipeg's community services department now has until September to consider the idea and come back to council with a report.

Bike Winnipeg executive director Mark Cohoe opposes the idea. While bike helmets reduce head injuries, making it illegal to cycle without them would discourage people from exercising, he said.

"You're trading fewer head injuries for more heart attacks, for more kidney disease, for more diabetes," he said.

Eadie, meanwhile, wants the city to consider licensing bicycles.

Right now, there is a provincial law stating anyone under the age of 18 has to wear a helmet and parents or guardians could also be fined if their children are not wearing helmets.