PEI

Charlottetown police didn't prioritize bike helmet laws this summer

Enforcing the mandatory bike helmet laws was not a priority this summer, say Charlottetown police, and so fewer tickets have been issued.

Bicycle helmet violation tickets down from 100 to about seven

Last summer Charlottetown police said they felt people were getting the message about bicycle helmet use. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)

Enforcing the mandatory bike helmet laws was not a priority this summer, say Charlottetown police, and so fewer tickets have been issued.

Two years ago Charlottetown police were part of Operation Headway, a multi-partner education and enforcement program that received funding from the province. Officers handed out 100 tickets.

Official statistics are not in for this year, but police say they only issued seven tickets in July and August.

"The numbers are down from past years. The bicycle helmet awareness program didn't run this summer. That would be part of the reason," said deputy chief Gary McGuigan.

"The other part would be that we concentrated our efforts this summer on distracted driving — cell phones, texting — so we'll probably see a spike in those numbers and as expected, a drop in the bicycle helmet numbers."

The Brain Injury Association of P.E.I. is disappointed Charlottetown police decreased enforcement.

"I think a lot more people are going to be driving their bikes without helmets. They're not going to bother putting on a helmet because the police aren't going to stop them," said association president Ken Murnaghan.

"Bicycle helmets are part of legislation. If they don't enforce the legislation what's the good of it?"

Charlottetown police say the department may hold a bike rodeo this fall to try to get the message out to kids about the importance of wearing bicycle helmets.

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