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Should helmets be mandatory for all Californian bicyclists?

Not only is riding a bicycle a healthy form of exercise, for a growing number of city dwellers, biking is the preferred mode of transportation. San Diego recently joined other several other cities across the country when it instituted a bike share program. While the program has only been up and running for roughly one month, some worry that a proposed California law may put the brakes on the bike share program before it really takes off.

If passed into law, Senate Bill 192 would make the use of bike helmets mandatory for all riders, regardless of age. Considering the significant and debilitating injuries that can result if a bicyclist is involved in a car accident the law makes sense.

According the nonprofit Helmets on Heads, roughly three-fourths of all bicycle accident fatalities result from head and brain injuries. Additionally, 83 percent of bicycle accident fatalities involve individuals who were age 20 and older. Based on these statistics, it's clear that adults who choose to ride a bicycle would be wise take precautions to protect against suffering a head or brain injury. The best way to do this is to wear a bike helmet.

However, many California bicycle advocates, including those from the pro-bicycle nonprofit BikeSD, don't support the passage of the new mandatory bike helmet law. Bicycle advocates argue that, if passed, the new law could negatively impact not only the future of the city's bike sharing program, but also of bicycling in the region in general.

In the coming months, we’ll continue provide updates about this proposed law as well as the impact it could potentially have on San Diego’s bike share program.

Source:, "Bike Helmet Bill Could Dampen San Diego Bike Sharing Enthusiasm," Claire Trageser, March 2, 2015

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