Lifestyle: The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) decided today on the controversial helmet judgment [Link] - with the result that a cyclist without a helmet cannot automatically be held responsible for the consequences of an accident.
The BGH thus reverses the controversial judgment of the Schleswig Higher Regional Court of June 2013. The General German Bicycle Club (ADFC), which had supported the plaintiff on her legal action, welcomes the decision of the Karlsruhe judges as restoring legal certainty.
In its judgment, the BGH notes: "It is true that an injured party can also be held responsible for contributory liability without violating regulations if he disregards the care that a prudent and reasonable person uses to avoid his own damage. This would be affirmative here if the wearing of protective helmets at the time of the accident had been necessary and reasonable for one's own protection according to general traffic awareness. However, at the time of the accident, the plaintiff did not have such traffic awareness.”
ADFC Federal Managing Director Burkhard Stork says: "If a cyclist is the victim of a traffic accident through no fault of his own, then no one may dispute his justified claims for damages - regardless of whether he was riding with or without a helmet. That is the quintessence of the BGH judgment. The ADFC fought for this verdict with the cyclist who had an accident – and we are pleased that after the hardships of the legal dispute that lasted almost two years and the handling of the serious consequences of the accident, she was right at the highest instance.”
The topic is also being addressed at the highest level. Federal Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt (CSU) would like to warn cyclists to wear helmets voluntarily. "We advertise in schools, in many places, again and again that the helmet can prevent serious damage", he is quoted as saying in Der Spiegel. "But we believe that volunteering is the way to go."
A general obligation to wear a helmet is not planned by the government - with reference to international developments. In countries where helmets are compulsory, the willingness to ride a bike has decreased.