New California Bicycle Helmet Safety Bill

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New California Bicycle Helmet Safety Bill

Annie Sun, Senior Reporter

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Assembly Bills 2989 and 3077 are the newest laws enacted in 2019. The bills are meant to cover the increase in new electric scooter usage and adjust the old law related to bicycles and helmets. AB 2989 dictates that minors must wear a helmet when riding electric scooters, while adults can choose whether to wear a helmet or not. Additionally, a driver’s license or learner’s permit is required to ride an electric scooter, and the rider’s speed cannot exceed 15 mph.

“With new companies emerging, from Bird to LimeBike, new laws were needed to address the issues that arose with this new technology. I am glad that these problems were addressed in AB 2989 to ensure the safety of the riders and those around them,” junior Anureet Chahal said.

AB 3077 addresses the ticketing system for minors riding bicycles, scooters or skateboards without a helmet. The bill allows minors and their parents to correct the violation of not wearing a helmet by proving to the ticket agency that the minor owns a helmet and has attended a bike safety course within 120 days after the citation was issued. By doing so, the fee will be waived and a record will not be brought to court.

“AB 3077 will definitely promote bicycle safety and prevent injuries against minors riding without helmets. I see many people riding bikes, scooters and skateboards without a helmet, and it is very dangerous if they are involved in an accident. I am glad that awareness is being raised and that people are given a chance to waive the fee,” Chahal said.

Previously, law enforcement was reluctant to fine minors without helmets because of the expense it posed to the minors and their families. Although the base fine is $25, fees and other adjustments can bring the total to several hundreds of dollars. Now, law enforcement is more willing to issue tickets knowing that families are able to waive the fee if they prove that the minor has a helmet and has attended a safety course. The purpose of these new bills is to reduce the amount of bicycle-, scooter- and skateboard-related injuries and keep the streets safe.