Georgia Law: Kids’ Must Wear Bike Helmets
Bicycle riders, like motorcycle enthusiasts, often resist wearing a helmet when riding. As we will explore in this post, statistics show that wearing a helmet can reduce injury. First, as Gwinnett County bicycle accident lawyers, we pay close attention to what the law requires. Georgia law only requires that children under the age of 16 wear a helmet. However, those over the age of 16 are not required to do so. Although there is no criminal penalty for a young person not wearing a helmet arguably, parents might be held responsible for failing to equip their child with a helmet.
Several years ago, a Centers for Disease Control study on bicycle accidents revealed that leads than half of riders wear helmets when riding. Since there are an average of about 1,000 fatalities and about 500,000 emergency room visits related to bicycle injuries, we think it is wise to explore the reasons why helmets should be considered.
Helmets Can Help Reduce Severe TBI
Studies show that those riders who wear a helmet and are involved in a bicycle accident are less likely to sustain a fatal injury. They are also less like to injure or break facial bones. Some medical personnel liken this to wearing a vehicle seatbelt. If a car or truck hits you on your ride or if a road is not maintained properly and you fall and are seriously injured, a helmet is likely to lessen the severity of your injuries depending on the circumstances of the bike accident.
Several years ago, the American College of Surgeons’ National Trauma Data Bank reviewed the outcomes for those cyclists who sustained a brain injury. Helmet users had a far lower risk of needed brain surgery after a bike crash. For those who were wearing a helmet the reduced risk of severe TBI was an astounding 52 percent lower. And would-be fatal injuries were reduced by 44 percent. In addition to these serious injuries, riders were also protected against facial injuries. These injuries can include breaking or fracturing of the bones around the nose, eyes, jaw and chin.
The best way to get older kids and adults to wear a helmet is to start young. Teens are less likely to wear a helmet when riding because they think it doesn’t look or seem “cool.” But if you and your child start riding together when your kids are young, they will see using a helmet as the norm and not the exception. Helping to keep them safe while riding as they get over the age of 16, literally seems like an obvious safety measure. Educating our kids about safe riding, whether that means a helmet or lights or protective, reflective clothing is not difficult.
In their educational programming the CDC has suggested in the past that these guidelines be followed for helping the public understand the importance of helmet use:
- INFORM the public about the many bicycle injuries sustained annually.
- EDUCATE the public that helmets really do protect against injuries.
- REMIND adults and caregivers that if they wear a helmet, their kids are more likely to do so.
- ADVISE the public that TBI can change a life and that recover can be slow and lengthy.
Scholle Law supports those who have been injured or harmed in a bicycle accident caused by the negligence of others. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while riding a bicycle, we can help you recover medical and other damages, such as time away from work and pain and suffering. Please feel free to contact us at any time for guidance and support.