February 1, 2015
A new bill that has been introduced by a California state senator would make it illegal to ride a bicycle without wearing a helmet in California. The bill would require that all adult bicycle riders in California wear helmets. Any violations would result in citations and fines of up to $25.
Bill 192 is currently modeled on other laws in California that require persons under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. However, California does not mandate bicycle helmets for adult users. The bill would target that deficiency, and require that all adult bicyclists wear helmets while riding.
The number of injuries and fatalities in bicycle accidents is on the increase around the country. In 2009, 91% of the bicyclists who were killed in accidents were not wearing helmets at the time. Failure to wear a bicycle helmet while riding could cost a bicyclist up to $25 in fines.
Any California bicycle accident attorney would recommend that bicyclists wear helmets while riding, simply because it reduces the risk of suffering serious head injuries in an accident. However, many critics believe that bicycle helmets don’t necessarily keep bicyclists safer, or prevent the risk of accidents. In fact, they point to other bodies of research that indicate that motorists get a false sense of security when bicyclists wear helmets. That immediately places the bicyclists at risk of harm.
In other words, motorists may be more likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors around a cyclist, if they believe that a bicyclist is safe from serious head injuries in an accident. In fact, one study conducted in the United Kingdom that whenever motorists were driving around a bicyclist wearing a helmet, they drove as much as three inches closer to these bicyclists, increasing the risk of an accident.