Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Standardise motorcycle helmets

Published:Friday | September 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM

I am almost sure that there is a law on the statute books which requires motorcyclists to wear protective helmets, and that there is a penalty under the law for non-compliance. If there is such a law, if not more honoured in the breach than in the observance, one could say with certainty that it is at least often honoured in the breach.

One cannot help but admire most of the bearers who ride motorcycles around the Corporate Area and the major rural townships. Helmets vary in style - from the World War II German vintage helmets, to the ultra-modern, flush with simple or wildly creative designs. One wonders, however, if all or most of these helmets meet any acceptable standard for safety.

While police personnel in the motorcycle division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force almost always have their regulation helmets affixed, too often, they have their pillion riders wearing only their soft-peaked regulation caps which provide no protection were there to be a spill.

If the wearing of safety helmets is required by the law, surely all police officers should abide by the law in the strictest sense. And, there should be an increased enforcement effort on all motorcyclists, notwithstanding the possible howls of protest which might erupt for reasons of the expense and the violation of one's constitutional rights.

Perhaps, upon being issued a licence to ride a motorcycle, there should be some provision at that stage for the licensee to demonstrate proof of ownership of a helmet that meets the safety standard approved by the authorities. Then, maybe, the incidence of fatalities and serious head injuries sustained by motorcyclists in Jamaica could be reduced.

Christopher pryce