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.