Some Bike Riders Are Required to Wear Helmets but Do These Laws Help?
If you ride your bike on a regular basis then you likely know that anyone under the age of 18 is required by California law to wear a helmet anytime they are riding. However, there is no similar law for adults to wear helmets. Some have discussed passing a law that would make it illegal for adults to ride their bike without wearing a helmet. The idea behind the law is that if you were to be involved in a bike accident, the helmet protects the head and reduces the chances of a traumatic brain injury.
At Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas have worked with enough bike accident victims to hope that new laws will help prevent injuries and deaths. However, many question: Do these helmet laws really help save laws? Today we are going to look at opinions of those who support mandatory helmet laws for adults and those who do not. If you have questions about a bike accident you or a loved one has been involved in, you can get a free legal consultation by contacting us at 909-982-0707.
Arguments against a law to require bike helmets for adults
Those who do not support the passing of a law to require adults to wear helmets often bring up a few points. First, they say that if you require helmets, there will be fewer people riding bikes. They also say that participation ins bike-share and other public bike programs will be lower because helmets would be required.
Finally, they argue that requiring helmets can actually make it more dangerous to ride a bike. They say that when these types of laws are passed, it perpetuates the idea that bike riding is dangerous. For example, one study showed that when helmet laws are passed, safer riders are less likely to ride because they believe it is dangerous, while those who are riskier are more likely to ride.
Arguments for a law to require bike helmets for adults
Those who do want bike helmet wearing to be required by law say that they want to increase safety and lower injuries for bike riders. A person who is riding a bike and is hit by a car has a greater chance of traumatic brain injury compared to someone in a vehicle. Helmets act as the last line of defense to protect against injuries.
In fact, one often-referred-to study from 1989 showed that if a person wears a helmet, their chances of being seriously injured while on their bike decrease by 85%. Another study from 2009 found the risk of a head injury to a cyclist wearing a helmet is reduced by 68% – 88% compared to a cyclist who does not wear a helmet.
As you are considering both sides, remember that head injuries are the leading cause of serious injuries to bike riders. For example, in 2014 there were 720 bicyclists killed in accidents. 429 of the were not wearing helmets.