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John Demas
John Demas
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Is wearing a bike helmet a law in California?

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Whenever you take to the streets on your bicycle, it is important to not only be safe, but to be aware of the laws and regulations that can impact your daily ride. Staying aware of posted traffic signage and your surroundings can go a long way towards ensure your safety, and the safety of those around you. However, accidents do happen, so please make sure that when bicycling, you ensure that you are wearing your helmet. It’s not only for your safety, it’s the law.

The California bicycle helmet law is fairly easy to understand, and should be taken into consideration by all those on the road. A bicycle, by California standards is “any vehicle on which any person may ride and which is propelled only by human power….which has at least one wheel.” And of those individuals using such modes of transportation, anyone under the age of 18 is required to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Be it on the street, trail, or public path.

When ensuring compliance with the laws, and safety on the street, it is important to check to make sure that the helmet is fitted properly; remains fastened to one’s head, and is approved by the National Standards Institute or other similar testing facility. Any reputable bicycle shop, or national retail location should sell you an appropriate helmet which meets correct safety specifications as it is illegal in the state to sell a helmet for such purposes which does not meet these testing standards.

If an individual under the age of 18 is found to be riding his or her bicycle without any such helmet, then a law enforcement professional may potentially issue a fine to the rider. For first time offenders, no fine shall be issued, however after an individual’s first warning, fines may be assessed at no more than $25.00 per occurrence.

Although the potential for fines are minimal for first time offenders, California bicycle riders of any age should invest in proper protection when riding a bicycle. Taking the appropriate steps to ensure your safety on the road is worth more to your physical wellbeing, than $25.00 is worth to your wallet.

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If you or someone you love has been harmed in this manner, you need to seek out the immediate help of Sacramento bicycle accident attorneys — like those with the Demas Law Group. We've been fighting for the rights of injured clients for nearly 20 years. Contact our offices today to schedule your free initial consultation.

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  1. Colin says:
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    Clarke, CF, Evaluation of New Zealand’s bicycle law, NZMJ 10 February 2012, Vol 125 No 1349
    http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/125-1349/5046/

    Clarke CF, The Case against bicycle helmets and legislation, VeloCity Munich, 2007
    http://www.ta.org.br/site/Banco/7manuais/colin_clarke_cycle_helmet.pdf