Taking your beach cruiser for a leisurely ride down around the neighborhood? This iconically laidback California activity could soon require you strap on a helmet.
A proposed law would require adult cyclists in California to wear helmets and to wear reflective clothing when riding at night.
The law would apply to people biking on roads, bike paths and public trails. If passed, it would make California would become the first state to require helmets for adult riders.
State Sen. Carol Liu of Los Angeles County introduced the bill (SB192), which would require adult cyclists to wear helmets or pay a $25 fine. Currently, the state requires minors under the age of 18 to wear helmets while riding.
“Any responsible bicycle rider should wear a helmet,” Liu said in a statement. “This law will help protect more people and make sure all riders benefit from the head protection that a helmet provides.”
Liu’s nephew was killed by a drunk driver while riding a bicycle in Sonoma County in 2004, according to the Sacramento Bee. Her nephew was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident.
The proposed law has provoked opposition from cycling groups, who argue it would create an unnecessary barrier to bike riding.
Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, said the organization encourages bike safety and helmet use, but doesn’t support a mandatory helmet law.
“Studies show that when you put a mandatory requirement in place fewer people ride bikes,” Hanshaw said. “The discussion should be about building biking infrastructure and making biking safer period. If we get more people riding, our streets will be safer. We need larger trail networks and more protected bike paths.”
Hanshaw also said that policies that encourage safe driving around cyclists, such as the recent California law that requires drivers to give cyclists a 3-foot buffer, could reduce accidents and injuries.