Hey, bicyclist, Whitehorse has a helmet bylaw.
You probably didn’t know that.
Looking around, almost nobody wears the things.
And bylaw officers don’t seem to care if bikers are coasting around with their hair flying in the wind.
They are too busy ticketing cars.
There is a reason for that.
Bikers are too dangerous for city officials to ticket on their own. Apparently, lidless riders get confrontational and mean.
And bylaw officials are often too young and lack the proper training and equipment to issue fines.
So bylaw officers need backup, a partner, before they attempt to give bicyclists a $25 ticket.
Which is a little bit confusing – it’s not like these people are wearing head protection, or any other kind of armour. How dangerous can they be?
More confusing, bylaw officers are required to wear helmets when they ticket parked cars. Yeah, parked cars.
It is dangerous for a city official to step off a sidewalk and walk behind a car to get a licence number – so dangerous, in fact, that they all have to wear hardhats.
But those same city officials routinely ignore bikers who zip alongside moving traffic without head protection.
Why? Because those bikers pose a threat to a bylaw officer.
Bottom line, if the city’s bylaw manager believes two people are needed to issue a $25 ticket, how often do you think it happens?
That’s right, almost never.
In the last several years, the city has handed out fewer than 20 tickets for riding without a helmet.
Which means, despite the law, bikes are a lot like ATVs – you can ride them sans helmet.
Over roughly the same period of time, there have been about 760 bike-related injuries in the Whitehorse ER.
There was another bad one in front of the Superstore recently.
The concussions and injuries resulting from such asphalt dives are easy to mitigate.
But they cost society a lot of money to treat. And they can cost families a lot of grief.
A helmet is the simple fix.
Whitehorse thought this was important enough to pass a law requiring their use.
And then, for some reason, officials decided enforcing the law was a dangerous hassle.
So it let it go.
The result is plain to see – more trips to the emergency rooms and higher health-care costs.
Whitehorse has a helmet bylaw.
But you can be forgiven if you didn’t know it.