Across California, more and more people are choosing to ride bicycles for pleasure and to commute to work or school. As more adults start to ride, lawmakers have considered whether the safety regulations in place for bicyclists are enough to keep everyone safe on the road.
Right now, only children — those 18 years of age and under — are required to wear a helmet when bicycling in California. As a result, a state senator recently proposed a bill that would require adults to wear helmets when biking, as well. The law — SB 192 — would have imposed a $25 fine for those found riding a bicycle without a helmet.
The proposed legislation was in response to an increase in the number of bicycle accidents in California in the past few years. From 2008 to 2012, the number of bike accidents in the state rose 18 percent — reaching over 14,000 such collisions in 2012, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Despite the rise in bike crashes, the proposed mandatory helmet law for adult bicyclists was met with significant opposition. Members of the bicycling community, including the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, suggested that fewer people would choose to ride bicycles if the law was passed. They argued that implementing a mandatory helmet law would make bicycling appear unsafe and would deter people from riding.
As a result, the bill was amended to request a study to determine whether using helmets would reduce the frequency of injuries suffered in bicycle crashes.
Do you choose to wear a helmet when bicycling in San Diego?