25 Mar 2008

Cook Islands teacher petitions against compulsory motorcyclist helmets

8:28 pm on 25 March 2008

A Cook Islands school teacher is starting a petition to stop the wearing of helmets by motorcyclists being made compulsory.

The Government announced a raft of moves earlier this year to try and arrest worsening road safety figures, which also include lower speed limits and the use of breathalysers.

The amended transport act comes into force in the second week of April, but teacher Nga Puna says while he understands the argument for helmets it is speed that kills.

Mr Puna says most Cook Islanders travel slowly on motorcyles and do not get hurt.

"If you fall off the bike at ten ks[kilometres] per hour, 20 ks per hour, you scratch your nose or something like that. So I am saying we are actually avoiding the problem of speeding, we are not dealing with it. We are just saying its safe to wear a helmet. of course it is safe but lets stop the speeding first."

The road safety council's Don Silk says Cook Islanders have had ample time to voice any concerns over the planned changes and Mr Puna has left his run too late.