Legislative alert: Mandatory helmet law in California?
Jan 04, 2000 12:44 PST
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January 4, 2000
When I heard a couple of months back that a Harris Poll showed something
like 60+ percent of the American public favoring mandatory helmet laws, I
knew we'd be in for this...
A Capitol colleague called me today to let me know that an insurance
industry federation representative is floating a bill for mandatory helmet
usage in California. My preliminary response was something along the
"Opposing this law would become the highest priority of the California
bicycling community. Besides actually banning us from the streets, this is
probably the worst bicycling-related policy the state could enact.
"Why? Because a mandatory helmet law would result in a dramatic decrease
in bicycle usage (That's exactly what happened in Australia). Because the
health benefits of bicycling far outweigh the risks (By a 20-1 factor, says
the British Medical Journal). Because there are many other preferable
measures that the state could take to increase bicycle safety (Education
for motorists and bicyclists, or better street and trail design, to cite
There are other plenty of other arguments that I kept in reserve.
What I want to know is, does the rest of the state's cycling community
share my strong opposition to a mandatory helmet law? For me, a proposed
mandatory helmet law is tantamount to a declaration of WAR. Are you with
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California Bicycle Coalition