criminal lawyer Carol Liu

Senator Carol Liu Senate Bill 192 to Require Cycling Safety

 Senator Carol Liu Introduces Bill to Require Cycling Safety

criminal lawyerAs adults we often tell young children how to live their lives safely and avoid injury. We tell them to look both ways before crossing busy streets. We correct them if they forget to buckle their seatbelts on a car trip. We also make sure they wear the correct safety equipment when they participate in sporting activities. For most of us this means we have young children strap on their helmets before they take off on their bicycles. As adults, however, we aren’t exactly accustomed to others telling us how to live our lives safely. Most of the time we evaluate our own risks and proceed with whatever level of caution we sit fit. For those us who cycle around our state this may be changing slightly. The rule of strapping on a bicycle helmet for safety may soon apply to California adults.

Cycling Safety or Else?

Recently Democratic Senator Carol Liu of La Canada Flintridge introduced a bill aimed at promoting cycling safety and fining those who don’t comply. The fundamentals of the bill are quite simple: wear a helmet or pay a fine. Senate Bill 192 will require cyclists of all ages to wear the required headgear or pay a fine of $25. Current California law requires that anyone under the age of 18 must wear an appropriate helmet. The fine for violating that law is also $25. The new law would also require anyone wishing to cycle after dark to wear highly reflective safety gear. Violation of the law would be considered criminal, which means that violators would be subjected to a state mandated local program. The bill, despite its minimal fee, has drawn quite a bit of attention from both supporters and detractors.                        

The Pros 

Senator Liu says her only goals are to protect cyclists and encourage people to try biking and walking. Although she recognizes that helmets are not the only way to keep cyclists safe, she says,  It certainly protects people more than not wearing anything on their heads. Liu is not wrong to be concerned about cycling safety, and she has the support of statistics on this issue. California collisions involving cyclists rose 18% over the most recent five-year study. This study focused on collisions from 2008 to 2012. The difference between reported bicycle-related collisions during these two years was 11,814 up to 14,013 respectively. This is the most recent available data from the California Highway Patrol.

The Cons

Not everyone sees the bill as a harmless way to promote cycling safety. Detractors have predicted that the mandatory helmet law will likely discourage cyclists from riding and impose unnecessary fines on those who don’t wish to wear a helmet. Dave Snyder, the executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition, takes a slightly different view on how to best protect cyclists. His organization recently started a petition against Liu s proposal calling it, ineffectual at best, dangerous at worst. Snyder has previously stated that he firmly believes in the importance of cycling safety but would like to see it accomplished in more efficient ways. His suggestions have ranged from protected bike lanes to creating new bike lanes or even simply slowing down traffic.

At Brownstone Law our team hopes for a safe and satisfying resolution to the SenatSenator Liu says her only goals are to protect cyclists and encourage people to try biking and walking. Although she recognizes that helmets are not the only way to keep cyclists safe, she says, It certainly protects people more than not wearing anything on their heads. e proposal.

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