Fix-it-Tickets: New Bicycle Helmet Law

New California Law

California Highway Patrol has always been advocates for the safety of all forms of transportation, for all ages. Yet, they are now making efforts to increase the safety for children. While those of any age should be riding safely, there is a new law designated for those under the age of 18. This new California law (AB-3077) provides all law enforcement with the ability to write a “fix-it-ticket” to those under 18 who doesn’t wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, skateboard or skates. 


The fix-it-tickets designed to encourage minors and their guardians to get a safety helmet – within a reasonable amount of time. “Fix-it-tickets” are unique because they are arranged to be correctable. This “fix-it-ticket” is correctable if the minor gets a helmet and completes a bicycle safety course within 120 days of that ticket being issued. The violation of this is an infraction punishable with a fine of up to $25. This does also fall onto the parent or legal guardian of the minor. This provision is jointly liable. 

The helmet must be within safety standards meaning it is the correct size for the child’s age and head size. It should fit snug to provide safety in the occurrence of a fall or other accident. Bicycle safety courses that can be completed are very informative about bike safety for all ages. 

Bicycle Safety

When laws like this arise, it is only done for the protection of the minor. These laws work to keep everyone safe on the road together. Often times kids (and adults too) might not feel a helmet is necessary. Helmets protect from traumatic brain injury during an accident. Serious brain injury can occur even when traveling at low speeds. Along with increased safety, there is another positive note about laws like this arising – Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies are recognizing the significance of all forms of transportation. 

Feel free to contact The Bicycle Lawyer about California laws and bicycling.

Does Your Helmet Actually Protect You in an Accident?

Helmet Testing

In the United States, helmet testing is still using techniques and guidelines set in 1999. This means they are about 10 years old at this point, and what we know in 10 years can change a lot. The truly unfortunate part is that the testing that these helmets undergo doesn’t even accurately mimic the type of impact that actual cyclists undergo in an accident. They prevent fractures in terms of direct impact, but direct impact to the head on a bicycle is typically not what happens in an accident. Instead, you likely rely on the rim of the helmet more for protection, something that isn’t tested.

The Protection You Need

So how do you know if your helmet will actually protect your head in an accident? If you are concerned, what you want to look for is a helmet that advertises that it is MIPS-equipped. MIPS, or Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, is a rather new technology but allows the head to slide and twist slightly inside the helmet to actually reduce the amount of impact that can be caused in a trauma.

If you are using an urban-style helmet or a very old helmet, it is time to upgrade. With luck, you won’t need to find out how good your helmet is in an accident. However, wouldn’t you rather have a good one just to be safe?

Accidents Happen

If you have been in an accident, you likely won’t walk away from it unharmed. If you have been in a cycling accident and need help, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Gary Brustin can do to help you get the compensation that you deserve.

Where Do E-Bike Fall in Bicycling Law?

Just when you think bicycling law is making great strides, there comes another complication that confuses things not only in the eyes of the law but that of the public. This latest complication is the advent of e-bikes. In almost every way, an e-bike is the same as a regular bicycle. It simply has an electric motor that allows the bicycle to reach occasionally faster speeds, but never above 30 miles per hour.

Unfortunately, the addition of a motor complicates things. Is it a bicycle? Is it a moped? Does it use the bike lane or does it travel on regular roadways? In many cities, no one really knows and it creates dangerous situations for cyclists and complicated matters for law enforcement.

However, the classification of e-bikes varies not just on a state level, but on a city level. Some cities see them as mopeds and demand they are ridden as such while others classify them as bicycles. In many more cities, there are simply no rules at all for them. While e-bikes can be a great jumping in point for new cyclists, it becomes a not-so-great situation when the riders don’t know in what place they fit. If they travel on roads and get into an accident, what then? The driver may argue they shouldn’t have been there. The same can be said for if they use a bike lane.

The key is to know where your city stands before riding. Some cities make it simple while others without laws for them leave it up to the rider’s choice. If you have been in an accident on an e-bike and find the law being difficult, you should talk over your options with a lawyer. For those in the Los Angeles area, contact us today.

3 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Bicycle Helmet

Around three-quarters of all bicycle-related deaths are caused by head injuries, which is why it’s not just important to wear a helmet, it’s important to wear it correctly. Here are some helmet safety tips for a safe bicycle ride.

Keep It Fastened Securely

In the case of an accident, your helmet needs to stay on at all times. If it slips off easily and leaves even a small part of your head exposed, then it won’t be effective in the case of multiple head bumps (for example, a car bump and a road bump). Before riding out, make sure that your helmet is fastened strongly to your head and that it doesn’t move easily.

Make Sure Your Bicycle Helmet Meets Safety Standards

You want a helmet that does its job, not one that will impress your friends. Don’t choose a bicycle helmet that has all sorts of fancy stuff sticking out or one with too many holes. You want a smooth helmet with as much foam as possible to protect your head. You also need to make sure that your helmet meets the CPSC’s safety standards, so look for their sticker inside.

Keep It Comfortable

Make sure that your bicycle helmet lets your head cool off and provides a good air flow. It also needs to fit comfortably, not affect your eyesight and not cause any discomfort, which will affect your concentration. You might also want to consider getting a bright-colored helmet for additional visibility.

In the case of a bicycle accident, get legal help immediately. Contact a California bicycle accident lawyer so that you get the full compensation that you deserve.

Bicycle Safety Includes a Proper Fit, Position and Core Strength

If you’re a cyclist, then most likely you’ve suffered from shoulder and neck pain and stiffness. Many assume that the pain is the result of the position your body takes on while riding a bike. But that is not necessarily true. The pain could be the result of your core strength, the position you assume, or your body’s fit in the seat of your bike. Because bicycle safety is more than just following the rules of the road, we’d like to provide you with some tips on how to correct the issues that could be causing you pain.

Improper Bike Fit

To determine if the result of your pain is improper bike fit, we suggest you visit your local bike shop. Subtle adjustments can be difficult, and some bike shops have software that can automatically adjust your fit.

Riding Position and Core Strength

In order to have the core strength needed for cycling, you have to pay attention to your overall health and fitness. has a great article on how to train your core muscles for cycling. Also, paying attention to your muscle fatigue is extremely important when cycling. Your body does a great job of telling you when it’s tired, so listen to it.

As for the proper position, again, your local bike shop can help you determine the proper frame for your size, handlebar position and more. If you’re not riding in the correct position, your body is only going to get sorer and sorer with each ride.

We want you to stay safe while riding, and proper fit, position and core strength is key. If you’ve been injured while cycling, please reach out to our experienced team today.

A Bicycle Accident Brings Changes to Berkeley

On February 2nd, 2016 Megan Schwarzman was wearing fluorescent green safety gear and a helmet. She had lights on her bike, as she rode south on Fulton Street near Bancroft Way in Berkeley. She was struck from behind, trapped beneath a car, and dragged for a short distance. Firefighters had to raise the car to free Schwarzman so they could rush her to the hospital. Her injuries were so severe that almost immediately, police called in the fatal accident investigation team. She had 20 fractured ribs, a smashed pelvis, two partially collapsed lungs, complex facial fractures and a bleeding liver. She arrived at the hospital unresponsive from blood loss. Amazingly Schwarzman, a doctor and research scientist at UC Berkeley, survived.

In 2000, the city of Berkeley designated the block where Schwarzman was hit and the next block of Fulton Street as bike lanes in the city’s bicycle master plan. The master plan contains projects designed to make cycling conditions safer. Six weeks after the accident project approval for Fulton was granted. Now, 16 years later and just months after Schwarzman almost died, the new bike lane on Fulton street is open. The new southbound bike lane runs for two blocks on Fulton from Bancroft Way to Channing Way. It previously ended at Bancroft, dumping cyclists and motorists together in the intersection. Now it closes a gap in the city’s bike lane network between existing bike lanes on Fulton Street/Oxford Street north of Bancroft Way and the Bicycle Boulevard on Channing Way.

Bicycle Accident that almost took a life may save many lives, as a route that many students and faculty take to get to campus is now safer. If you are in a cycling accident, please contact us. We specialize in protecting the rights of injured cyclists.

Bicycle Laws Regarding Helmets

Many medical and other professionals agree that wearing a helmet prevents or reduces serious head injury to riders who have collisions. Surprisingly, no state bicycle law requires adult cyclists to wear a helmet, and only 22 require younger cyclists to wear them, usually up to age 16. By contrast, 47 states have motorcycle helmet laws, and 19 of them have universal helmet laws – that is, they require all motorcyclists of all ages to wear a helmet.

Localities sometimes impose stricter helmet requirements than the state bicycle law. For example, Alaska has no state helmet law at all, but cyclists under age 18 in Juneau, Bethel, and Sitka must wear a helmet, and those under 16 must wear helmets in Anchorage and Kenai. New York requires all riders to wear helmets up to age 14, but several counties and localities have higher age limits; in addition, Rockland County and Greenburgh have universal helmet laws, as do all parks in Erie County. Enforcement activity generally consists of issuing warnings, but some jurisdictions provide for fines on subsequent violations. California, for instance, dismisses the charge if it’s a first offense, but afterwards, violators are subject to a fine of up to $25.

From a legal perspective, wearing a helmet where it’s legally required is a wise course of action. This is because the law considers a bicyclist negligent who violates a helmet law, and thus at least partially responsible for any head injury sustained. Whether the cyclist can recover any compensation at all for medical or other costs is then dependent upon the state’s rules on shared fault. Some states, including California, New York, and Florida, observe a doctrine called “pure comparative negligence,” and accident victims can recover some compensation no matter how negligent they were. Some other states observe a modified version of comparative negligence, which limits a victim’s compensation if the level of negligence exceeds a certain threshold. A few states, including Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC, observe the doctrine of contributory negligence, which denies any compensation to a victim whose negligence, no matter how slight, contributed to the accident.

Of course, the best way cyclists can avoid these kind of problems is simply to wear a helmet when cycling, regardless of age. Those who suffer injuries while cycling, whatever the circumstances, should protect their rights by consulting with an attorney who’s proficient in representing accident victims in bicycle cases.

How To Get Your Child To Wear Their Helmet

Every cyclist, particularly those who have been in an accident, knows the importance of a helmet. Helmets can reduce the chance of severe head injuries by 88 percent. Unfortunately, helmets aren’t “cool” and up to 50 percent of child cyclists forgo wearing them while on their bikes. So how can you get them to protect their heads?

Start Early

If your child isn’t already cycling the neighborhood, introduce the helmet early, as in the very first day of teaching them to ride a bike. Be sure to stress how important it is to wear a helmet each time they ride a bike.

Wear a Helmet Yourself

If you aren’t wearing one, why should they? It is as simple as that. Children need their parents to lead by example.

Reach Out to Non-Helmet Parents

One of the easiest ways to get a child to do something, is to get their friends to do it. If your child refuses to wear their helmet because the other kids don’t have to, talk to those other kids parents and ask if they could persuade their children to wear a helmet as well.

Stress Why You Need to Wear a Helmet

There are a hundred little tricks to help your child take to wearing a helmet while cycling, but let’s not forget that children are people too. Be real with them for a moment and let them know why they need to be wearing a helmet. Tell them you want to make sure their heads are protected and that you care about their safety. It is cheesy, but surprisingly effective.

Getting a child to wear a helmet is difficult, but it will protect them in case of accident. If you have been in a cycling accident, or worse, your child already has, contact us today to see if you have legal action available to you.

California’s Bicycle Helmet Law Debate May Reignite Thanks to Latest Study

The December 2015 edition of the journal, Injury Epidemiology , is likely to reignite a bicycle law debate that took place throughout California earlier this year. The debate centered on bicycle helmets, which are mentioned in the state’s Vehicle Code Section 21212, Subsection A through F3 as well as Penal Code Section 1463. Presently, it only impacts minors and their parents or legal guardians.

Some fractions of the government and general public would like to see the law expanded whereas others prefer it be done away with altogether. Those that push for expansion want the a fore mentioned bicycle law to include cyclists of all ages. Those opposed, generally find the bicycle law in question, meaningless. Ironically, at the crux of each side’s argument are scientific studies that have been circulating in America for decades.

As a whole, the opposing studies focus on the cause and effect of bicycle accidents as well as mention preventive measures. Some studies, like the one published in a 2015 edition of Injury Prevention indicate that mandatory or voluntary bicycle helmet use is not as effective as safety experts once believed. Others, including a 2015 piece in Emergency Medicine Australasiacite data to the contrary. As such, they are often used by proponents of bicycle laws.

So which bicycle accident studies are to be believed? Unfortunately, study veracity depends on numerous factors which many on each side of the argument tend to gloss over for argument’s sake. What both sides can agree on is to keep the portion of the bicycle law intact as it pertains to children. This consensus is largely related to the sheer volume of cycling related injuries among minors.

To learn more about the ongoing debate between opponents and advocates of California’s bicycle helmet laws, please contact us. Initial consultations with our California bicycle attorney are free.

California’s Bicycle Helmet Laws

The state of California has a law requiring all bicyclists below the age of 18 to wear a bicycle helmet while riding. However, there is no mandatory state law that requires all adult bicyclists to wear a helmet while riding.

However, some cities may have their own ordinances in place that require all bicyclists to wear helmets while riding. It is important for you to know whether your city has an ordinance requiring helmet use while riding a bicycle. It could possibly impact your chances for a claim for compensation if you are involved in a bicycle accident.

If you have suffered head injuries in an accident, because you were not wearing a bicycle helmet at the time, it could significantly impact the success of your claim. You can expect the other party to claim that your injuries would not have occurred if you had been wearing a helmet.

Additionally, because helmet use is so widely promoted as a way of reducing the risk of head injuries, a court or jury may also be unimpressed with your failure to wear a helmet, and could blame your failure to wear a helmet for your injuries.

Speak to a California bicycle accident lawyer about whether you are eligible for compensation after an accident in which you were not wearing a helmet. A bicycle helmet cannot protect against every type of head injury. If you can prove that wearing a helmet would not have prevented your injury in any way, then you may still be eligible for compensation.

Discuss your options for compensation with Mr. Brustin today.

Bill Would Mandate Bicycle Helmets

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.

Helmets Just Got Smarter

California bicycle accident lawyers like to keep abreast of the latest technology in bicycle helmet technology, because of the important role that these devices play in reducing the risk of a fatal accident. More advanced innovations are already being seen in the field of motorcycle helmet technology. One new motorcycle helmet prototype includes an HUD display screen, GPS functionality, and rearview camera system that allows the motorcyclist to have a clear view of exactly what is behind him.

The motorcycle helmet is called Scully AR-1, and is designed to provide rearview visibility, GPS functionality, and an HUD display screen that allows a motorcyclist to use GPS functions and other functions without having to remove his hand from the handlebar. According to the designers of the helmet, the rear camera system allows the rider to see whether he or she can change lanes with a single glance.

The helmet is designed to pair with a smartphone via Bluetooth. The helmet was introduced in late 2013, and the company is currently taking pre-orders. Once it hits stores, the price will probably be close to $1,500.

It is being billed as the world’s smartest motorcycle helmet that not only helps protect the motorist in the event of an accident, but also significantly helps reduce the risk of an accident in the first place. After all, head injuries are not the only injuries that motorcyclists suffer – they could be at a high risk of spinal cord injuries, fractures, broken bones and other injuries that a helmet cannot help prevent.

Bicycle helmets have gotten better at protecting bicyclists, but it would be great to see similar enhancements in bicycle technology, because of the high rates of head injuries involving bicyclists too.