France says all children under 12 must wear cycle helmets

New law comes into effect this March, affecting residents and visitors alike

The French authorities will introduce a law in March 2017 requiring all children under 12 years old to wear a cycle helmet approved to European safety standards.

From 22 March, an adult carrying a child on their bike without a helmet or accompanying a child who is cycling without one, will be liable to a €135 fine (£118 / $143 / AU$192). This will apply both to French nationals as well as visitors to the country — so if you’re planning a family trip to France, be advised.

Teach your kid how to ride a bike

The new law was announced at the end of 2016 and is part of a raft of measures contained in a report published last October by a government committee for road safety, following a recent rise in road fatalities. The other measures include fines for drivers caught using their mobile phones while driving and stiffer penalties for speeding.

Other places that formally mandate cycle helmets include Australia – any cyclist in New South Wales caught without a bike helmet faces a fine of AU$319 (£198 / $238), and California, which requires all minors under 18 years of age to wear a lid. However, opponents of formal legislation argue that it discourages people from riding a bike in the first place: 

Jamie Beach

Deputy Editor, UK
Jamie's been addicted to bikes from the moment his stabilisers came off. Earliest cycling memory is the chipboard-ramp-on-bricks, but happiest one is bombing down a Mallorcan mountain pass that seemed it might never end. Always on the hunt for the perfect rain jacket, a keen collector of hats.
  • Discipline: Road, gravel
  • Preferred Terrain: Big mountains with long climbs, equally long and fast descents, the chance to get above the treeline.
  • Current Bikes: Genesis Croix de Fer, Brompton M3L
  • Dream Bike: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Moots Routt
  • Beer of Choice: Augustiner
  • Location: Bath, Somerset, UK

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