Politicians have expressed their sympathy to the family of a man who died in a motorbike crash at the weekend – and some say it’s now time to make helmets mandatory.
Democratic Party MP Selena Napa asked: “How many head trauma deaths from motorcycle accidents must there be before this government will stop sitting on its hands and make that legislation happen.”
Demos leader Tina Browne confirmed last night that the party wants to make helmets compulsory, if they are in a position to form a government after the Atiu by-election.
“If the Demos are able to form Government after the Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua by-election we will push an amendment,” Browne said, “but subject to consultation with our people.”
The Democratic Party extended condolences to the family of Ngateinakore (Ina) Katu who lost his life last weekend in a motorcycle accident. “This is a tragedy that is felt by everyone,” said Napa.
There could be no further delays to strengthening helmet legislation, she said, and for the government to continue to delay this was “being negligent in the extreme”.
She wanted a helmet law passed at the next Parliament session in December, and the party hoped it would make people safer.
Napa also said police must introduce vigilant security at all nightclubs, to screen customers leaving the premises and stop anyone over the limit from driving a vehicle.
“That’s where they are needed, and that’s where Police should be checking and stopping people to avoid accidents,” she said.
Road Safety Council executive member Brent Fisher said the council supported a compulsory helmet law for all motorcyclists. Public opinion on helmets was changing, he said, and many people were now encouraging the use of helmets for everyone.
Cook Islands Security director Chris Denny was one of the first on the scene of a fatal bike crash in Kiikii.
He said helmet law reform to include every motorcyclist was necessary, because Cook Islands roads were dangerous.
“It’s about the welfare of the people and common sense,” Denny explained. “Helmets should be worn until there is another solution.”
Existing law requires the wearing of helmets only for 16 to 25-year-olds, tourists, and motorcyclists exceeding 40kmh.