Are Mandatory Bicycle Helmets in California's Future?

Child Bicycle Helmet Laws California

California State Senator Carol Liu recently introduced a bill that would make it illegal for adult bicyclists to ride without a helmet. If the SB-192 bill passes, law enforcement officers will be able to issue tickets for up to $25 to riders not wearing proper head protection. The bill would also require bicyclists to wear reflective clothing at night or face a $25 fine as well.

In the state of California, riders age 18 and younger are already required to wear helmets. So, when it comes to making helmets mandatory for riders of all ages, Liu said, “This should not be a big deal. It is kind of a common-sense deal.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), California is leading the nation in the number of bicycle accident fatalities. In 2012 alone, 726 cyclists lost their lives in accidents – 65 percent of whom were not wearing helmets.

The state senator also has personal reasons for introducing the bill. Two of her family members were involved in bicycle accidents which killed one and rendered the other a paraplegic. “This law will help protect more people and make sure all riders benefit from the head protection that a helmet provides,” Liu said in a press statement.

However, according to the head of the California Bicycle Coalition, Dave Snyder, the bill is a bad idea that, while attempting to save more lives, also discourages people from getting on a bicycle in the first place.

Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates Jim Brown voiced similar arguments, saying that state law already gives adults the right to make the personal choice about whether or not to wear a helmet. He would rather the government spent its time and money on preventing bike collisions by creating more dedicated bike lanes throughout the city, rather than delegating what bikers should wear.

While the bill remains in its early stages of development, the personal injury attorneys at Demas Law Group, P.C., will continue to watch the debate as it progresses. Please let us know your thoughts by visiting our Facebook or Google+ pages and leaving a comment.