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Denmark wants to make motorcycle helmets mandatory

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Denmark wants to make motorcycle helmets mandatory
The government wants the guy in the middle to be more like his helmet-wearing buddies. Photo: Mathias Bojesen/Scanpix
15:43 CET+01:00
Motorcycle and moped riders will no longer be able to ride without helmets if the Danish government has its way.
The transport and health ministers presented a proposal this week that would eliminate exceptions to wearing a helmet. Current laws allow riders to go without a helmet if they obtain a doctor’s note or have a legitimate non-medical reason such as wearing a turban. 
 
Transport Minister Ole Birk Olesen said the proposed change is for riders’ own good. 
 
“There is a much higher risk of being killed or seriously injured in a traffic accident when you travel by moped or motorcycle when compared to other forms of transport. It is thus essential to the safety of moped and motorcycle operators that they wear a helmet, and there should be no exceptions,” Olesen said via press release. 
 
Health minister Ellen Trane Nørby said that “biker gang types” often threaten doctors in order to obtain the note that allows them to legally forego a helmet. 
 
“It’s unlikely that all have a good medical reason [for not wearing a helmet]. We certainly should not in any way accept biker gang types who either cheat or threaten their way to a doctor’s note that gives them a dispensation to ride a motorcycle without a helmet,” she said. 
 
The ministers conceded they had no idea if false or coerced doctors’ notes are a major issue in Denmark, but Olesen said it was an assumption based on “a clear hunch”.
 
“You can see on the streets that many are riding without a helmet. I can neither see nor believe that they have deformed heads or claustrophobia that would keep them from putting helmets on their heads,” he said. 
 
Olesen said that if there really is a medical reason to not wear a helmet, those people shouldn’t ride motorcycles in the first place. 
 
The government’s proposal was presented this week and if it passes the new rules would take effect on January 1st. Those with an existing doctor’s note would be given a grace period through July 1st. 
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