New legislation requiring cyclists riding certain e-bikes to wear helmets is set to become law in the Netherlands in January, and may trigger law changes accross the European Union.
The law change will require cyclists riding 'speed' electronically power assisted cycles (S-EPACs) - or more accurately e-bikes that can travel at speeds of up to 45kph - to wear specially designed helmets.
Those helmets, pictured on the right hand side of this article's lead image, feature more coverage and protection on the back and sides of the helmet, thicker foam throughout, a viser, and smaller ventilation holes.
The result is a helmet that can better dissapate the energy produced by higher-speed impacts.
While the helmet looks like a combination between the full-face helmets that you see motorcyclists wearing and a standard bicycle helmet, the design is a response to the EU's reclassification of S-EPACs as mopeds by a project group of cycling safety experts.
Standardisation processes in the Netherlands help trigger law changes such as this one, and they fall under the responsiblity of project groups associated with the Netherlands Standardisation Institute (NEN). The introduction of this law in the Netherlands is no different.
The new EU directive (no 168/2013) that now classifies S-EPACs as mopeds would - under current legislation - require S-EPAC riders in the Netherlands to wear the same full-face or poorly ventilated helmets that moped and motorbike riders are required to wear.
That requirement was the motivation for representitives from bike safety companies - such as ABUS, BBB Cycling, KASK, MET Helmets, and more - to form a project group in association with NEN, create the NTA 8776: 2016 standard, and push through the law change.
The change in legislation in the Netherlands that is set for introduction in January will introduce e-bike riders to the option of the e-bike specific helmets, rather than requiring them to use combersome and arguably inapropriate head wear.
The necessity of changes to the Dutch legal system in regards to e-bikes becomes even clearer when you take into account figures published recently that one in three bicycles purchased in the Netherlands was in e-bike in 2015.
With that trend appearing to spread accross many European countries, it's likely we'll see more legislation changes to accommodate ease of e-bike use, and the option of comfortable helmets