Pedro Delgado joins battle against helmet compulsion in Spain

Delgado won the 1988 Tour de France (Photo: Numerius, Flickr)
1988 Tour de France champion Pedro Delgado has walked out of a meeting with María Segui, the director of the national traffic authority (DGT), in protest at the Government's plan to force cyclists in urban areas in Spain to wear helmets.

Pedro Delgado told María Seguí that he was opposed to mandatory helmet legislation because it would discourage people from cycling.

19 city councils - including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, and Bilbao - have now joined Spanish cycling organisations in public opposition to the proposed ban on cycling without helmets. Last week, the national consumers' organisation (OCU) also announced that it opposed mandatory cycle helmets.

ConBici, the national association of urban cycling groups, has started an Internet petition calling for the resignation of the director of the Spanish national traffic authority (DGT) because of her refusal to discuss proposed changes in legislation with cycling organisations.

These proposals to ban cycling without a helmet reflect the pig-headedness of the minister of the interior and the traffic director. The government has made no effort to find a consensus with the long-established bicycle legislation working group, nor with the parliamentary road safety commission, nor with any of the city councils."

Pedro Delgado
Spokesman for professional cycling in Spain

Writing on his blog, Delgado said: "The minister and director say that it is the victims of accidents who want cycling without a helmet banned. Yet several associations of traffic accident victims have contacted me to say that the government refuses to meet them."

Cyclists from Europe can lend their support to Spanish cyclists by signing a petition. Simply add your name (Nombre), email address, country of residence (País), postal code (Código postal), and sign by clicking on (Firmar).

Last month, ConBici co-ordinated a series of demonstrations around the country in which people pleaded for a 'cyclists' amnesty' at embassies and consulates of cycle-friendly northern European countries.

Many cyclists have already written to the Minister for Tourism to suggest that they may have to reconsider their holiday plans if they are forced to ride wearing helmets.