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Children must wear helmets - Police insist on protection in motorcycle crackdown

Published:Friday | May 8, 2015 | 12:00 AMChad Bryan, Staff Reporter
A motorcyclist riding dangerously without helmet on the roads of the Corporate Area.

At the recently held launch of the third United Nations Global Road Safety Week, held at the ATL office in New Kingston, it was noted that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) prosecuted 3,147 motorcyclists this year for not wearing a helmet.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Clifford Blake, who heads the JCF’s Operations portfolio, says of that number 1,735 (or 55 per cent) were in the parishes of Westmoreland, St Elizabeth, Hanover and St James.

Blake also said that the police will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to traffic infractions such as the improper use of the roadways and failure to wear seat belts and helmets.

Speaking with Automotives on Thursday about the wearing of motorcycle helmets, specifically by children, head of the JCF's Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen, said they must be outfitted with the proper protective gear. And not ony must the child wear a helmet, but it should be up to the standard of the one which should be worn by the adult rider.

“They must be fitted with the same quality helmets as the driver of the bike. The same quality standard must hold, because you do not want for the child to be wearing any inferior material to what the driver of the bike is wearing,” said Allen.

“The pillion must be in the appropriate gear,” he continued.

Clarence Simpson of the Honda Motor Cycle Division of Stewart’s Auto Sales explained that there are children with larger heads who can wear big helmets. However, there is a range of sizes in the protective device.

“The head varies because you have kids with adult sized heads. You have small and extra small for kids. We sell small, because we find that it fits most kids,” Simpson said.

He emphasised that it is always better to purchase helmets that fit snugly on children's heads, rather than purchasing one that are too large..

Simpson was, however, quick to point out that helmets are sold based on the possible speed of the bike and that top of the line ones, including the Bell, Lawrence and Simpson brands, are made from the best quality material.

There are helmets which some children on motorcycles wear that, like bicycle helmets, only cover the top of the head like a cap.  Simpson said he does not consider those adequate protective devices.