British Motorcyclist Federation has welcomed a magistrate’s
court decision over the wearing of helmets when riding BMW’s
unique safety-caged C1 motorcycle.
Last year, Peter Parker an Architectural
Technician from Bedford, was prosecuted for not wearing a helmet
while riding on his BMW C1. Now, at long last, his much-deferred
case came up on 3 March at Bedford Magistrate’s Court and
The court ruled that riders of
the BMW C1 were riding IN and not ON a motorcycle and therefore
did not need to wear a crash helmet! Riders would not therefore
contravene the protective headgear regulations that require a person
riding ON a motorcycle to wear a helmet. Simple as that.
What we don’t know at this
stage is if the powers that be might appeal against this ruling
(they have 21 days in which to do so) but if not, the C1 could become
the only class of motorcycle that has been legally ridden without
wearing a helmet. However, the BMF point out that because it was
only a magistrate’s court, this verdict has no binding effect
on any other court or Parliament.
Peter based his case on two main
points. 1. That he was riding in and not on a motorcycle so was
therefore legally not covered by the compulsory helmet law. 2. The
purpose of the helmet law was to protect the rider’s head,
something the C1 was designed to do, so therefore a helmet was unnecessary.
In fact, having passed European
crash tests for rider protection the C1 is exempt from compulsory
helmet laws in most European countries including France, Germany,
Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal,
Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, Hungary and even South Africa.
Peter, an experienced motorcyclist
and supporter of helmet wearing on ordinary motorcycles and scooters,
is obviously pleased with the verdict but points out that this is
a unique case and only applies to the C1. Simple weatherproof enclosures
such as that on the visually similar Benelli Adiva, do not count!
The BMF welcomes this as
a good commonsense decision but points out that it has no implications
for any other form of motorcycle and reiterates that because it
was only a magistrate’s court, it has no binding effect on
any other court or Parliament.