Bike helmets won't be the law in Winnipeg, for now

Winnipeg cyclists won't have to worry about fitting their toques beneath bike helmets this winter.

Active-transportation experts to study what other cities do first

Winnipeg will take at least another six months to decide whether bike helmets ought to be mandatory.

Winnipeg cyclists won't have to worry about fitting their toques beneath bike helmets this winter.

City hall will take another six months to study whether bike helmets ought to be mandatory in Winnipeg.

Council's protection, community services and parks committee was expecting a report about bike helmets on Monday morning. Councillors Russ Wyatt (Transcona), Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan), Ross Eadie (Mynarski) and committee chairman Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) asked for the report in June.

City staff, however, asked for another six months to conduct a review of what other North American cities do with respect to bike helmets. The committee approved the request, as the city is already engaged in a broader bike-and-pedestrian route planning study.

"It made sense it go to the active transportation folks here in the city of Winnipeg," Pagtakhan said after the meeting, suggesting it may not take six months for a report about bike helmets. "We'd like to have an answer soon enough. We don't want to wait too long."

Pagtakhan said the idea must be studied because there is a difference of opinion about mandatory bike helmets. 

"Sometimes I wear a helmet. Sometimes I don't. It depends if I keep my hair nice and set, you know?" Pagtakhan said. "I think there's good value in terms of having a helmet, certainly. When the bike group came forward with their opposition about mandatory bike helmets, I found it surprising."

The lobby group Bike Winnipeg maintains a mandatory-helmet rule would discourage cycling and create more health problems than it would protect people from injury.

About the Author

Bartley Kives

Reporter, CBC Manitoba

Reporter Bartley Kives joined CBC Manitoba in 2016. Prior to that, he spent three years at the Winnipeg Sun and 18 at the Winnipeg Free Press, writing about politics, music, food and outdoor recreation. He's the author of the Canadian bestseller A Daytripper's Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada's Undiscovered Province and co-author of both Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg and Stuck In The Middle 2: Defining Views of Manitoba. His work has also appeared in publications such as the Guardian and Explore magazine.