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Bicycle Helmet Mandate Dead At California Capitol

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A California lawmaker’s proposal to require all bicyclists – including adults – to wear helmets is dead.

Democratic Senator Carol Liu stripped the helmet mandate from her bill after vocal opposition from the cyclist community. Instead, her bill now would require the state to study bicycle helmet use – including how many injuries might have been avoided if cyclists had worn helmets.

Liu says it’s an opportunity for both sides to take a deep breath and prepare for a future debate.

“I think change is hard for everybody,” she told Capital Public Radio Thursday outside Senate floor session, adding that she wasn't surprised by the opposition. “But you know, we got their attention; we got people’s attention on this. And so people are starting to talk about it. And I think that’s a conversation worth having.”

The California Bicycle Coalition claimed victory after Liu gutted her bill. The coalition insists that helmet mandates don’t make the streets any safer and actually discourage bicycle use.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio