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Helmet law on the way

Monday July 11, 2016 Written by Published in Local
Ahead of a new motorcycle helmet law being introduced, police are continuing to issue stern warnings about drink-driving. 16071086 Ahead of a new motorcycle helmet law being introduced, police are continuing to issue stern warnings about drink-driving. 16071086

POLICE Commissioner Maara Tetava says the Cook Islands Police Service is waiting for the Transport Amendment Bill to get the Queen’s Representative’s official stamp before beginning a campaign toA educate motorcycles about the new helmet laws.

 

Once the bill becomes law, there will be extensive efforts to inform motorcyclists about their need to comply with rules that will make helmets compulsory for drivers aged 16 to 25, says Tetava.

“Once the bill is granted, we are going to inform people of the date when it comes into force and will advise people about helmets that comply with safety standards. They must purchase these to comply with the law.”

“You can’t just buy any helmet; it has to meet New Zealand, Australian and European standards.”

Tetava emphasised the need for motorcycle riders to take heed of safety warnings right now, before the new helmet requirements are enforced.

“It’s sad to see that a lot of people still don’t comply with the safety messages issued by the police department while they’re out on the roads.

“We are determined to get on top of this and people need to take ownership of the problem as well. The police can only do so much, and we also have limited resources.”

Tetava warned that harsh penalties were being enforced on motorists caught driving over the breath-alcohol limit and over 90 drunk drivers had been disqualified since last year. Despite the punishment being doled out by the court, the number of motorists caught drink-driving seemed to be increasing every week.

“The whole community approach to drink driving needs to change. Attitudes need to change and people need to take responsibility for their own safety and for the safety of others when they are on the road.

“Be with us on this, it’s not just the police service’s concern, it concerns the whole community. People need to take notice and do something about the problem. If you drink and drive, it’s already too late. It’s an accident waiting to happen and we need to avoid that situation.”

Meanwhile, the Cook Islands National Road Safety Council believes little thought was put into formulating the new Transport Amendment Bill.

Council’s acting president Brent Fisher says lawmakers really need to reconsider road safety legislation and perhaps adopt a “no tolerance” attitude towards drinking and driving.

“It sounds a bit harsh, but look at the number of people who have died. It also affects innocent people,” said Fisher.

“The new helmet bill is not for everybody: It only covers a certain area, a small spectrum of a community.

“You have to start somewhere with such an initiative but we did start somewhere about five years ago when we supported the legislation (for compulsory helmets).

Fisher said the National Road Safety Council had organised

public consultation on the matter and frequent feedback they had received was the need for motorcyclists to wear helmets.

“We went all around the Vakas and talking to the community about what they wanted and they wanted helmets.

“But the minister took it upon himself to water the legislation down making helmets compulsory for people aged 16 to 25 because statistics showed these ages are mostly affected.

“What about the other accidents? Why are we not protecting the rest of the community?

“Why just narrow the legislation down to that small group of people?

“I believe the way it is right now, you can have the situation where a 16 or 17-year-old boy or girl will have to wear a helmet, but whoever is sitting on the back doesn’t have to wear one. “To me, it should be compulsory for everyone riding a motorbike to wear a helmet.”          

5 comments

  • Comment Link Lindsey Petramale Wednesday, 03 August 2016 19:11 posted by Lindsey Petramale

    But it is likely that increased helmet use, prompted by passage of the first law in 1989 and the promotion campaigns in New York communities, played a role in the reduction of injuries.

  • Comment Link I agree totally with first comment helmets should be warn by every person who is riding on a motorbike children included to adults as EVERYONE IS AT RISK! there should be zero tolerance . You should not drink and drive period! follow the new australian la Friday, 15 July 2016 16:32 posted by I agree totally with first comment helmets should be warn by every person who is riding on a motorbike children included to adults as EVERYONE IS AT RISK! there should be zero tolerance . You should not drink and drive period! follow the new australian la

    Message

  • Comment Link Lottie Cook Monday, 11 July 2016 21:49 posted by Lottie Cook

    Only people aged 16-25 have to wear helmets. Who thought of that? Everyone who rides a motorcycle is at risk, not just that age group. Who thinks of these watered down, idiotic versions of such good laws meant for the good of everyone. And for those who drink and drive give them a fine and impound their bikes or cars OML ...

  • Comment Link Brad Tomkins Monday, 11 July 2016 14:45 posted by Brad Tomkins

    That is great news about the helmet law..my question is what is the legal breath alcohol limit...meaning what would your breath alcohol have to be to receive a drunk driving summons, and if you are below the legal breath alcohol limit can you proceed on your way on your scooter or car?

  • Comment Link Rangi Observer Monday, 11 July 2016 13:50 posted by Rangi Observer

    One will be interested which family business will be bringing these " Helmets " in to Raro and what price......we will see............

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