VIENNA, Austria – Last June the Austrian Minister for Traffic installed mandatory wear of a helmet for children when riding a bicycle. According to the Traffic Minister this will guard 900 children annually from head injuries.
The wear of a helmet is even obliged when the child is in a bicycle trailer or in a kids seat on a bicycle. The passing of this bill caused lots of debate in the Austrian Parliament where the Greens were in favour of voluntary measures.
The liberals wanted an obligation for everyone. The compromise: a legal obligation with no sanctions attached. Austrian authorities want to find out first of all what an awareness campaign will lead to.
According to a survey by a traffic safety institute, a large majority of the Austrian population supports the mandatory wearing of a helmet. Of all motorists and cyclists surveyed, 96% were in favour of an obligation to wear a helmet until age 11 and 91% want this up to and including age 16.