Police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be allowed to stop wearing helmeted helmets for the first time on public transport in 2018, with a trial starting this week.
The change is aimed at tackling the growing problem of head injuries on public transit, as more and more drivers are facing helmet-related problems.
It will also be part of a wider push to make helmets compulsory on buses, cycleways and other public transport vehicles.
Since 2008, England and Welsh police have been allowed to wear helmets on the public transport network, although not on buses or cycleways.
While helmets are not compulsory in the UK, the law states that helmets must be worn by every driver, including those in the private hire sector, unless they are necessary for the protection of the driver or passengers.
“The police and ambulance service will be able to wear helmet-type equipment at bus stops, cycle-riding stations and other designated places where the police and the ambulance service are required to carry out their duties,” said a statement from the Policing and Crime Commissioners’ Office (PCSO).
“This will mean that officers can now be wearing helmets at all stops, including in the public places where police are responsible for the safety of the public.”
The new rules come after a review of public transport safety last year, when police forces across the UK said that helmets were a “key safety issue” in public transport.
But the review also recommended that the police wear helmets at certain times of day, as well as at certain locations.
In 2018, the PCSO has said that it will only allow the police to wear the new helmets if they are wearing them when the driver of the bus is not wearing a helmet.
A new policy for cycling police in the North of England has also been announced.
Northumbria Police are currently allowed to use helmets on their motorcycles, but are not allowed to do so on their motorways.
In a statement, the force said: “We want to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of all road users is a priority for all police and public sector employees, which includes cyclists.”
It added that the helmet requirement is “designed to prevent a potential increase in injury and death on our roads, and it is essential that all cyclists are able to safely cycle safely in our communities.”
Read more about police, cycling, cycling helmets, helmet law source Engdget title Policing for the helmet law article Police officers are already being trained to wear protective headgear on the job, but the new policy will allow them to wear it in public on buses and cycleways in 2018.
Transport for London is also considering a similar change, which could see cyclists given the option to wear goggles, as long as they are worn by their helmeted police officer.
There are currently some cyclists who do not wear helmets, but a recent study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that nearly half of British people don’t wear helmets.
According to the IPPR, around one in five people have suffered head injuries while riding on public transportation.
Currently, there is no requirement for cyclists to wear a helmet while cycling, meaning cyclists who ride without a helmet face increased risks of injury, with serious injuries such as fractures, skull fractures and strokes the most common injuries.
The new policy, introduced by Transport for London, will be announced on Wednesday and will be phased in across the capital over the next two years.
Police will not be able start wearing helmets on public buses or bike-rides until April 2020.
Under the current law, police in Scotland are allowed to only wear helmets when their own officer is on board.