Minnesota Bicycle Helmet Law Introduced

On Monday, Minnesota state Representative Phyllis Kahn and Senator Scott Dibble introduced a law which would require all individuals younger than 16 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.  Specifically, H.F No. 918 amends Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 169.222, subdivision 6, to read:


“(e) No person under the age of 16 years shall operate a bicycle on a public roadway, shoulder, sidewalk, bicycle path, trail, or other public way or public land, without wearing protective headgear that complies with standards established by the commissioner of public safety. A peace officer who witnesses a violation of this paragraph may provide information to the violator on bicycle safety and on where to obtain a bicycle helmet. No traffic citation may be issued for violation of this paragraph.”

Similar laws have been proposed around the country this year, in what has been a crazy year for bicycling legislation.  We have seen efforts to ban the use of headphones while riding, require bicycle registration (to raise revenue) and ban kids from bicycles entirely.

Representative Kahn, has done so much to help the cycling community as a representative, we are a little bit perplexed by the introduction of this bill.  Essentially all this would do would be to allow a police office to tell a kid to go put a helmet on.

There is likely to be a wide range of reaction to this bill, due to the fact that the use of helmets is one of the longest ongoing fights between cyclists out there, however, we would like to see a further explanation about what exactly do they believe this law will do?  What changes have been seen in the states that already have the law in place? Without answering some of these questions, we don’t really see the point.

Map from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety


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8 Responses to Minnesota Bicycle Helmet Law Introduced

  1. It’s PR. “See? The good little cyclists are wearing plastic bike hats!”

    At its best, which I rarely see in use, some people equate helmet use to seatbelt use to indicate regulation of cyclists, which some of the antis think is needed.

  2. Will Zager says:

    Really none of the governments business. Just like the seatbelt law. It doesn’t hurt or help anyone but the person who’s making the decision to wear or not wear one (helmet or seatbelt.) So how can it be a law?

  3. mindtron says:

    while I question the enforcement features of this bill, I think not wearing helmets actually does have the ability to effect all of us. if people are injured because they did not wear a helmet, then it can increase healthcare costs for all of us.

    also, if we expect to have equal access to roads and want infrastructure created for us, then we need to accept some government regulation of our activity. whether it is stopping for stop signs and lights, using lights on our bikes at night, or wearing a helmet.

    • hokan says:

      Yes, we should all be wearing helmets during activities where we could suffer head injuries… like walking. Many more pedestrians suffer head injuries than do cyclists. People in cars have a head injury rate almost as high as pedestrians and there are more of them. So walkers and people in cars should have helmets too.

      Won’t somebody please think of the children!

    • Gene oberpriller says:

      While a helmet law would be good for my business(i own a bicycle biz), I am totally against it.
      Will our health care costs go up due to people getting injured because they did not wear a helmet? Did my health care cost go up because of the seatbelt law? There are plenty of other health issues going on in this country. Say like big agriculture pumping us all full of corn base high fructose “food”. Thats a very real problem. Over 23% of the population is obese.
      As for equal access. We already have it. We have had it for almost 100years.
      Headlight law. yes.
      Stopsign/stoplight laws. yes.
      It’s not my problem that law enforcement lacks the abilty to enforce the law.
      Look at gun control.

  4. I’m sending out emails to my representatives and urging others to do the same.

    My beef is with the state once again deciding they know better than me what is best for me and my family. It’s not the governments responsibility to make sure my kids wear a helmet. If it were a 1998 report from the Federal Office of Road Saftey showed that brain injuries among motorists would be cut by 25% if drivers were required to wear bicycle helmets (even where airbags were used). I’m not sure if I believe that, but if those are the stats, why are they pushing so hard for cyclists to wear helmets but not motorists? In 2009 almost 34,000 people died in automobile accidents. In that same year only 630 people died on bicycles, most of them caused by automobiles. So why the focus on bicycles? Why not focus on automobiles? In fact, the numbers are even higher for heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. These are all related to our unhealthy way of life. Are they going to legislate away unhealthy eating habits and obesity? For the most part it seems that they regularily do exactly the opposite. I don’t need a governement to dictate every area of my life for me.

    When it boils down to it this is about appearing to be pro-bike, without actually investing in the infrastructure and education that would actually making cycling safer!

  5. Cycling longer than you says:

    Most of comments seem to have come from people who have not children or are ignorant for some simple facts:
    Approximately 1,000 persons die from injuries caused by bicycle crashes each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most serious injuries were to the head in the majority of those killed, stressing the importance of bike helmets. Injuries to the head account for 67 percent of bicycle-related hospital admissions, 33 percent of bicycle-related emergency room visits and 62 percent of bicycle-related deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called helmets the best way to protect yourself from head injuries caused by bike accidents.

    If you think the four year old next door should be riding on the wrong side of the street (as he does) with no helmet so when he does get hit by an oncoming car he will have absolutely have no head protection that might save him from being a vegetable for the rest of his life (which you will help pay for through taxes and increased hospital costs; his parents cannot afford it), then let the blood splattering continue. Brain injured children are our present and future without head protection.

    What the heck, why should football players be forced to wear helmets? Fact: most players don’t get hit in the head on a given play. Let’s pass a law to give them the freedom of personal choice instead. Who needs common sense when there are so many ignorant folks to tell us how to be blissfully ignorant like them..

  6. Barton says:

    There is nothing I find sillier when out biking than seeing a family out with all the kids in helmets and none of the adults. So, your kids will perhaps survive an accident, but now the two parents won’t? That is just stupid. You want your kids to wear a helmet, wear one yourself and demonstrate to them that you practice what you preach.

    I think it is ridiculous to have a kid specific rule, either make everyone required to wear them, or no one. We don’t have helmet requirements for adult motorcyclists, so why should cyclists? And really, what does it matter if they pass the law, no law enforcement will occur, just as none does right now (cyclists going wrong way on one-way roads, drivers not giving the required 3 ft space to cyclists, everyone rolling through stop signs – yes, drivers and cyclists both).

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