More and more people are opposing the mandatory helmet threat in Spain. But not yet succesfully.
Pedro Delgado, winner of the 1988 Tour de France and Spanish professional cycling spokesman, suddenly walked out of a recent meeting with the director of the Spanish national traffic authority (DGT), María Seguí, after a heated discussion about government plans to ban cycling without helmets. Pedro Delgado told María Seguí that he was opposed to mandatory helmet legislation because it would discourage people from cycling. As Pedro says himself on his blog (my translation)
“These proposals to ban cycling without a helmet reflect the pig-headedness of the minister of the interior and the traffic director. The government has made no effort to find a consensus with the long-established bicycle legislation working group (GT-44), nor with the parliamentary road safety commission, nor with any of the city councils. The minister and director say that it is the victims of accidents who want cycling without a helmet banned. Yet several associations of traffic accident victims have contacted me to say that the government refuses to meet them.”
Currently a total of 19 city councils have joined Spanish cycling organisations in publicly opposing the proposed ban on cycling without helmets – including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, and Bilbao. Last week, the national consumers’ organisation (OCU) also announced that it opposed mandatory cycle helmets.
ConBici, the national association of urban cycling groups, has started an internet petition calling for the resignation of the director of the Spanish national traffic authority (DGT) because of her refusal to discuss proposed changes in legislation with cycling organisations.
Cyclists from Europe can lend their support to Spanish cyclists by signing the petition at: http://goo.gl/DEH5F. Simply add your name (Nombre), email address, country of residence (País), postal code (Código postal), and sign by clicking on (Firmar).
Guest Contributor John Rawlins