Bikes and helmets: ‘The police have responsibility to enforce the law’

By Drake Lowthers

Oct. 14, 2015

When Ken Murnaghan was 10 he went biking without a helmet and he was involved in a collision with a vehicle. It resulted in brain injury.

Today, Murnaghan is the president of the Brain Injury Association of P.E.I. The No. 1 reason anyone should wear a helmet is for safety, he said.

“People really need to think about the outcome.”

It was upsetting to hear that the number of bike helmet tickets were down to roughly seven from 100 a few years ago, he said.

“The police have responsibility to enforce the law. If the government is going to enforce legislature, someone needs to uphold it.”

Gary McGuigan is deputy chief for the Charlottetown police. There are a number of reasons why the numbers were down this year, he said.

“Operation Headway wasn’t in effect, so that would be part of the reason. This past summer it wasn’t a priority and we moved resources to distracted drivers.”

Like speeding and wearing seatbelts, the bike helmet issue will never be resolved 100 per cent, he said.

“It’s a collaborative effort of education and awareness,” he said. “There will always be someone who doesn’t follow the rules.”

Cyclists face fines of $200.

Patrick Arsenault still won’t wear a bike helmet.

The 20-year-old college student from Pugwash, N.S., said he hasn’t worn a helmet in years.

“I’m from a small town in Nova Scotia and we rarely see cops. If they do come around, they’re not worried about someone biking without a helmet.”

Arsenault has never received a ticket for biking without a helmet, and he doesn’t plan changing his ways anytime soon.

“I bike without a helmet all the time on University Avenue and the cops have never done anything about it. If they’re not going to enforce it, why should I wear one?”