California’s bicycle helmet law is simple. Section 21212 of the California Vehicle Code requires a rider under the age of 18 to wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet that complies with applicable safety standards while riding a bicycle on any roadway, public bicycle path or trail. There are no helmet requirements for anybody over 18.
If an adult rider who was the victim of an accident wasn’t wearing a helmet and suffered a head injury, he or she shouldn’t bring a personal injury claim without the benefit of a Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer. That rider can expect an extremely difficult time with the opposing insurer. The insurer will argue that the rider was partially at fault for his or her injuries because of the lack of a helmet. The amount of any settlement offer won’t come close to approaching the actual value of the case. There are several arguments that can be used to refute that allegation. Here are a few of them:
- The Legislature’s Intent: California’s legislature has considered mandatory helmet use by bicyclists, but it wasn’t deemed necessary for adult bicyclists to wear a helmet when riding on public property. What distinguishes mandatory helmet use on motorcycles from no adult requirement on bicycles is that motorcycles travel at far greater speeds than bicycles. They also take longer to stop.
- Confusion in Eligibility for Compensation: There is no rational connection between the failure to wear a helmet in a bicycle accident and a fractured leg and ankle. Headgear isn’t going to prevent lower extremity fractures.
- Proximate Cause: If you suffered head injuries, California law requires you to prove that the crash you were involved in was the direct and proximate cause of those injuries. This is most often proved by the testimony of one or more of your treating physicians. Should the defense fail to allege otherwise through its own hired expert, that would likely be cause for us to bring a motion to bar any arguments that the defense attorneys might make about helmet use before a trial even begins.
You Didn’t Break the Law
When an adult bicyclist in California who wasn’t wearing a helmet was complying with all applicable laws suffered head injuries from a careless and negligent driver, that cyclist can’t be accused of being partially responsible for those injuries. There is simply no law requiring an adult cyclist to wear a helmet on public roads, trails or paths. Our experienced and dedicated Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers will challenge unfounded allegations of negligence that are routinely made by insurance companies against our clients.
After a bicycle accident, either you or somebody at the scene must call 911 and ask that both police and paramedics be sent to the accident location. Police can investigate the crash and write up a report. Paramedics can stabilize you and transport you to an emergency room. Don’t speak with the insurer of the motorist who caused your accident and injuries before speaking with one of our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers first.
Contact a Bicycle Injury Lawyer
Los Angeles Bicycle Law represents bicyclists because we are bicyclists. We know first-hand how rewarding, yet dangerous, cycling can be in the Los Angeles area. Even though the law treats bicyclists with the responsibilities and rights of a motor vehicle, the road itself offers far fewer protections. That is why we actively fight to protect bicyclists in our community. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, contact Los Angeles Bicycle Law today.