California Bike Helmet Laws for Kids & Adults

California has strong laws for bicyclists, including a mandatory helmet law for kids. Adults who ride motorcycles must wear approved helmets, but are encouraged to wear helmets also while riding bicycles. This is intended to help reduce the bicyclist fatality rate, which was the highest in the nation during 2012. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, in the time period between 2010 and 2012, California reported the highest number of cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles, 338, slightly ahead of Florida’s total of 329.

California Bicycle Accident Lawyer

The high rate of accidents that involve bicycles and motor vehicles has also increased the demand for legal assistance from California Bicycle Accident Lawyers. Injured persons and survivors of those killed while bicycling seek help from these experienced accident attorneys to obtain fair compensation for injury expenses and survivor loss claims. The cost of medical treatment for typical bicycle accident injuries can be very high, as riders are most likely to suffer serious head, neck and spine injuries. The strong helmet laws in California are an attempt to help reduce these most traumatic types of injuries and deaths.

If you were injured in a bicycle crash or had a loved one die from injuries received in a bicycle/motor vehicle collision, an experienced California Bicycle Accident Lawyer can help you find justice through the legal system. You can seek fair compensation for accident expenses and other damage claims to help you recover and suffer less financial stress. Your attorney can help you decide which course of legal action will bring best results, from initial demand letters to negotiation efforts or litigation in court.

California Helmet Laws

Helmet laws in California have evolved over time to try to help offset the problems that occur with the rising numbers of people who enjoy bicycling and motorcycle riding in the state. Similar to those requirements for motorized riding, helmet laws for bicycle riding are designed to offer optimum protection for riders of all ages. Wearing a helmet is the best way to avoid serious injuries riders get even from minor collisions.

It is proven that helmets are the most effective tool for saving lives and money. When California passed helmet laws for motorcyclists, death risks were reduced by 37% and head injury risks by 69%. Helmets do not reduce the rider’s vision or hearing, and they offer unique protection for the rider’s head area. The California Highway Patrol reported that in 2012, nearly 14,000 bicyclists received injuries in crashes, up from 11,760 in 2008. This demonstrates that as the popularity of bicycle riding in California continues to increase every year, crash rates also increase.

Helmets must meet strict manufacturing requirements to be acceptable under the newest California helmet laws. They must meet standards set forth by the American National Standards Institute, the American Society for Testing Materials, or the Snell Memorial Foundation’s Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling. Helmets must be labeled prominently and have a certification that it meets all required safety standards. In addition, it is illegal in California to sell a bicycle helmet that does not meet these accepted standards.

Under the law, a bicycle is defined as a human powered vehicle that people ride on and that is powered by a belt, chain, or gears, and that has at least one wheel. In Bidwell Park, Chico, and El Cerrito, bicycle riders of all ages must wear helmets. Across the state, the following rules also apply:

  • Kids – Under CVC 21212, all kids must wear helmets when riding or being transported by bicycles. Bicycle riders under 18 must have helmets that are properly fitted and fastened. Kids must wear the helmet anytime they are riding a bicycle on a street, public bicycle path, trail or bikeway. Children that are being towed in a trailer behind a bicycle or sitting in restraining seats also must wear approved helmets. Helmets must be worn when kids are using skateboards, scooters or inline skates.
  • Adults – Currently, only adults on motorcycles are required to wear helmets, however, there is an attempt to get mandatory helmet requirements passed for those over 18 who are riding bicycles. The bill, S.B. 192, was introduced by Sen. Carol Liu, was introduced February 11, 2015, and it would require adult bicycle riders to wear approved helmets. Currently, in three cities, Bidwell Park, Chico, and El Cerrito, adults also must wear helmets when riding bicycles.

Arguments against helmet laws for adults voice the opinions that this law would reduce bicycle use and that that would tend to make roads less safe. Other arguments against this law say it would make people think that bicycling is dangerous.

Bicycle Accident Claims

Bicycle injuries can be very extensive and traumatic, because the rider has very little protection in a collision. Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect the vulnerable head area. Medical costs for head, neck and spine injuries can be very high, and the aftereffects of those injuries can be life changing as well as life ending.

Your California Bicycle Accident Attorney can help you recover medical expenses, work losses and other damage claims. If you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle crash, as soon as possible, contact your attorney and consult with them about possible legal actions you are entitled to take to recover fair compensation for your injuries.

Most Personal Injury cases are accepted on a contingency basis, so there is no fee unless your case is won. Getting competent legal assistance from an experienced California Bicycle Accident Lawyer is a move that can make a huge difference for your future. Survivors also may seek compensation if their loved one died in a bicycle accident caused by negligent behavior. Contact your lawyer immediately, so you can begin recovery faster and get the best opportunity to receive maximum settlement offers from the person who caused your injuries.