If you missed the news this week, State Senator Carol Liu introduced a bill mandating all cyclists to wear helmets and high visibility clothing at night. As most valley folk know, Liu represents Burbank and Glendale among other areas east.
Mind you, cyclists are already required to ride with a front light and reflectors at night, but not a rear light which most do.
If there was a new law that mandated a rear light, that would be something I’d be for, but the reflective clothing is a bit of a stretch. Studies have shown that reflective clothing does not impactfully improve cyclists safety.
As for the helmet part of the law, they are only supposed to protect from collisions up to 12.5 mph. Get hit any faster, you’re probably going to experience greater problems beyond what a helmet can protect.
Of course, no one can enlighten better than Biking In LA did yesterday:
Yes, they can offer some degree of protection in a wreck. But thinking of them as the bicycle equivalent of a seat belt or air bag is dramatically off base.
And while they can help prevent head trauma, they aren’t designed to prevent concussions. Or to protect against injury to any other part of the body.
Which is something Senator Liu should understand, since her own nephew was wearing a helmet when he was killed, and his girlfriend paralyzed, in a collision with a drunk driver in 2004.
This law would put a great financial burden onto bikes and have a trace amount of impact on safety.
Please contact State Senator Carol Liu regarding the helmet law at (818) 409-0400 and let your voice be heard.