Denmark wants to make motorcycle helmets mandatory

Motorcycle and moped riders will no longer be able to ride without helmets if the Danish government has its way.

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
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. 


Coronavirus: Danish government calls for end to hoarding

Denmark's government has called on people to stop hoarding food and other essentials after supermarkets were hit by a sudden rush on Wednesday night.

Coronavirus: Danish government calls for end to hoarding
Shoppers in Ringsted. Photo. A collage of empty shelves in Danish supermarkets after a spate of hoarding on Wednesday night. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Scanpix
“We encourage people to shop normally and to follow the current advice,” Food Minister Mogens Jensen said at a press meeting on Thursday morning.  “There is no problem with the security of supply at our stores, but there is a problem with hoarding.” 
Following the announcement of far-reaching measures to slow the spread of coronavirus on Wednesday night, supermarkets across Denmark faced an onslaught of shoppers, stripping the shelves of some items. 
The panic to secure supplies was so intense that police were called to a branch of Netto in Odense on the island of Funen, and to a supermarket in southern Jutland where a group of customers refused to leave at closing time, according to Denmark's state broadcaster DR.  
A collage of empty shelves in Danish supermarkets after a spate of hoarding on Wednesday night. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Scanpix. 
Danish Twitter was on Wednesday night and Thursday morning filled with images of supermarket queues and empty shelves. 
The country's leading supermarkets, Salling Group, Coop, Dagrofa and Rema 1000, on Wednesday a joint press release assuring consumers that they had adequate supplies of all products, asking them not to change their shopping habits. 
“We will all throughout the supermarket industry make sure that we remain continuously stocked,” Dagrofa said in a tweet. 
Simon Kollerup, Denmark's Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, on Thursday urged “calm and sanity”. 
“The government is in close contact with the retailers and the government, and the message from the supermarkets is clear: The shops are open as usual,” he told the Ritzau newswire. “There are items in stock and the trucks are operating as normal. There are enough goods for everyone.”