Is a Bicycle Helmet Required in California?

Cycling is an increasingly popular activity in California, with its beautiful landscapes and favorable weather providing the perfect environment for riders of all skill levels. However, while cycling can be a fun and healthy pastime, it can also be dangerous and involve accidents that can lead to serious injuries. As a cyclist, your safety should always be a top priority, and wearing a helmet can greatly reduce the risk of serious head injuries in the event of an accident.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident due to another person’s negligence, The Barnes Firm is here to help. With over 100 years of combined experience, our team of California bicycle accident lawyers are equipped with the knowledge to get you the best result possible for your accident case. Call us today at (800) 800-0000 for a FREE case evaluation.

Is Wearing a Helmet While Cycling in California Required by Law?

The laws regarding bicycle helmet usage vary from state to state. According to the California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 21212, anyone under the age of 18 must wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet while operating or riding as a passenger on a bicycle, roller skates, skateboard, or non-motorized scooter in the state of California. This law applies to all public roadways, bike paths, and trails, as well as private property that is open to the public. Those 18 years of age and older are not required by law to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle in California.

What are the Benefits of Wearing a Helmet While Riding a Bicycle?

While not required for adults over the age of 18, it is highly recommended that all cyclists wear helmets for safety reasons. Wearing a helmet while cycling offers several benefits including:

  • Head Protection. The main benefit of wearing a helmet is head protection in the event of a fall or accident. Helmets provide a protective barrier and help prevent concussions, skull fractures, brain trauma, and other head injuries. Studies have shown that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 69%.
  • Protection from Bad Weather. Helmets also provide some degree of protection from external elements. They shield your head from rain, wind, and sun, and allow you to ride in various weather conditions.
  • Enhanced Visibility. Many helmets come equipped with reflective elements or bright colors, improving your visibility to motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists. This increased visibility can help prevent accidents, particularly in low-light conditions or situations with heavy traffic.
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How to Choose The Proper Bicycle Helmet?

Choosing the proper bicycle helmet is essential for maximizing safety while riding. When selecting a bicycle helmet, it is important to consider the following factors.

  • Safety Certifications. Look for helmets that meet safety standards established by reputable organizations such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These certifications ensure that the helmet has undergone testing and meets specific safety requirements.
  • Proper Fit. To find the proper helmet fit for your head, measure the circumference of your head just above your eyebrows to determine your helmet size. Try on helmets in that size range and adjust the fit system (usually a dial or straps) to achieve a snug, but not overly tight, fit. The helmet should sit level on your head, with the front edge just above your eyebrows.
  • Look for helmets with ample padding that provide cushioning and help absorb sweat. Ventilation is also important, especially if you ride in hot or humid conditions. Helmets with well-placed vents allow for airflow, keeping your head cool and comfortable.
  • Helmet Style. There are various helmet styles available, including road helmets, mountain bike helmets, and urban/commuter helmets. Each style offers different features and levels of protection. Choose a helmet that suits your specific cycling activities and preferences.
  • Visibility. Consider choosing a helmet with reflective elements or bright colors to enhance your visibility, especially if you ride in low-light conditions or busy traffic areas. This can improve your safety by making you more noticeable to others on the road.

What are the Consequences of Not Wearing a Helmet While Riding a Bike?

Not wearing a helmet while cycling can have serious consequences including:

  • Head Injuries
  • Facial Injuries
  • Increased Risk of Fatality
  • Legal Consequences
  • Increased Medical Costs

Helmets can save your life and reduce the risk of injury if you are involved in an accident. Even if it is not required by law, wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle is always a good idea.

Steps to Take Following a Bicycle Accident

Even with safety precautions in place, like wearing a helmet, accidents can still happen. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of another person, our bicycle accident attorneys suggest that you take the following steps to assure your safety and protect your legal rights.

  • Call 911 to report the accident and request emergency medical attention if needed.
  • Gather insurance and personal information from everyone involved in the crash.
  • If any witnesses were present, collect their information and a statement from them.
  • Take as many videos and pictures as you can of the accident scene, including injuries, damage to your bicycle, and anything that may have contributed to the accident.
  • Before leaving the scene, request a copy of the police report.
  • Seek medical attention.
  • Contact an experienced California bicycle accident attorney at The Barnes Firm at (800) 800-0000.

The Barnes Firm is Here to Help After a California Bicycle Accident

As a California cyclist, it’s important to know the laws and regulations regarding helmet use. Despite the lack of a statewide law, wearing a helmet is strongly recommended for all cyclists. By wearing a helmet, you can protect yourself from serious head injuries and reduce the risk of fatalities. It’s important to choose a helmet that fits properly and is appropriate for your specific cycling activities. Remember, a helmet is your best defense against head injuries in the event of an accident.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact The Barnes Firm today at (800) 800-0000 for a FREE case evaluation. It could be the best call you make.

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