California Bicycle Helmet Law
- September 30, 2015
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More and more Californians are enjoying the benefits of riding a bike. When compared to cars, bikes are much better for the environment. They also offer physical activity and the opportunity to interact with nature. However, in the event of a crash, bicycles offer very little protection. Motorists, on the other hand, have a car or truck surrounding them that will cushion the impact of a crash. Because of this, many states mandate the use of helmets. While helmets can’t protect against all types of accidents and injuries, studies have shown that they reduce the risk of head injuries and fatalities. Read on to learn about California bicycle accident helmet laws.
State laws are always changing, but at this time, only those under age 18 must wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. The helmet must be worn when the rider is on a public road, including a bike path or trail. Even children who are not physically operating the bicycle but riding as a passenger – either on the bicycle or being towed by the bicycle – must wear a helmet. There are two places – El Cerrito and Bidwell Park in Chico – that require riders of all ages to wear a helmet.
Wearing a helmet is a requirement for children, but not just any helmet will do. The helmet must meet one of three standards:
- Snell Memorial Foundation’s Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling
- American National Standards Institute
- American Society for Testing Materials
All bicycle helmets sold in California should meet one of these standards. They should be labeled with the proper certification. The helmet must also fit snugly and be properly fastened in order for it to meet the requirements and work properly.
If a child is caught without a helmet, the fines are not too pricey. If a child is caught the first time, he or she will likely get the ticket dismissed by appearing in court and telling the judge, under oath, that this was a first offense. If the child is caught without a helmet again, the fine is $25 or less. The fine does no increase with each subsequent offense. So while the fine is relatively low, it’s still cheaper – and safer – to buy your child a helmet. Visit Personal injury of California Homepage here.
Currently, adults are not required to wear bicycle helmets in California, but Senator Carol Liu tried to change that earlier this year with Senate Bill 192. The bill has since been dropped while a study is being conducted to assess the benefits of enacting such a law. No state currently requires adults to wear bicycle helmets, so California would have been the first to enact this law had it passed.