Just like driving a car, riding a bicycle has certain state statutes, local ordinances and safety and traffic laws. The most common bicycle laws include helmet regulations. Continue reading this blog to learn more about bicycle helmet laws.
Bicycle Safety and Helmets
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), states that approximately 700 cyclists die every year in bike and car accidents. Bicycle trips account for one percent of all trips made in the U.S. in a year, yet bicyclists account for 2% of accident fatalities. Just like motorcycles, bikes offer no protection from accidents. Unfortunately, bike riders wear substantially less crash protective gear than motorcyclists. However, the Pedestrian Bicycle and Information Center states finds the health benefits of bicycle riding outweigh the risks.
In order to prevent head injury or even fatality, the NHTSA urges everyone (regardless of age or experience) to wear a helmet. Cyclists are more prone to severe head injuries in the event of a bike-on-car accident, which is why it is especially important for cyclists to wear helmets. Helmets are so critical, that they prevent serious brain injury in 88% of serious crashes. Unfortunately, even with all the risks of bicycle riding, less than half of bicycle riders wear helmets.
Bicycle Helmet Laws
State bicycle laws vary, so be sure to check in with your state and city websites as well as the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI) to determine what laws apply to you. There are twenty-two states and the District of Columbia that have state bicycle helmet laws. These laws typically require riders under the ages of 18 (or 16 in some states) to wear helmets when riding bikes. For example, California requires riders 18 years old and under to wear helmets. In Georgia, a law states that no bike shall be rented or leased without a helmet to a person under 16. New York requires helmets for for professional cyclists and children 13 years or younger.
Buying a Helmet
While you may not feel the need to, it is important to do a little research before buying a bicycle. For more detailed information and a purchasing guide, take a look at Consumer Reports and the BHSI. Find a helmet from a major brand that has been around for a while. You should look to spend around $50 on a quality helmet.
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