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Cycling in Los Angeles? California Law Requires You to Wear A Helmet

Looking for a Personal Injury Attorney? We Specialize in Representing Injured Cyclists

If you are an avid bicyclist, wearing a helmet is one of the most common safety laws that should be practiced frequently to ensure your safety. You may have heard this time and time again. In fact, both cyclists and non-cyclists alike have strict opinions regarding helmet use when on the road. Not everyone adheres to it or agrees to follow this safety precaution. While it is up to an individual cyclist, adults are free from this restriction. Read on to learn how California law impacts adults, minors, and what to be aware of on the road.

Are Cyclists Required to Wear A Helmet?

Twenty-two states in the U.S. have bicycle helmet laws and requirements. In California, adults have more flexibility when it comes to wearing a helmet. Bike laws are clear and enforced primarily on public properties, as accidents can turn into extensive lawsuits. If you were recently involved in an accident, whether you wore a helmet may impact the amount of compensation you receive. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Grey Law can help you recover for damages caused when you are unexpectedly tossed from your bike. Additionally, the following information breaks down what is required of cyclists in the state.

(1)  Bicyclists who are older than 18-years are not required to wear a helmet, though it is strongly encouraged.

(2)  Bicyclists who are 18-years and younger are required to wear a helmet while riding a bike.  The helmet must be approved, fit properly, and ability to fasten. This applies to both the rider and passenger when operating a bike on public roads, bikeways, paths, and trails.

In some cases, sidewalks are a grey area for cyclists that fall off, experience an obstacle, or get into an accident with a negligent driver. A common question is whether it is applicable. Yes, sidewalks are included in the law – cyclists must wear a helmet regardless of belief or practice. The exception to this mandate is bicycle use on private property, depending on the circumstances.

The Legal Argument Behind Helmet Use

Most attorneys specializing in bicycle accident cases would agree, not wearing a helmet can hurt your chances down the road when you decide to file a lawsuit. An insurance company can find you liable for the accident, even if you did nothing to contribute to it. For example, the defendant’s insurance may find you 30% at fault after a bike crash. Whether you were following all the traffic laws, your compensation can get reduced to 50% if you were not wearing a helmet. Depending on damages caused, it can drastically impact medical coverage, lost wages, and restitution for pain and suffering.

Bike Safety Standards

More than 700 cyclists die every year in a bike-related accident according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Compared to driving, bicycling as a mode of primary transportation is becoming more dangerous than operating a motor vehicle. Wearing a helmet is one way to prevent serious injuries in a bike crash, such as:

  • Skull fractures
  • Cranial hemorrhage
  • Concussions
  • Contusions
  • Dental fractures
  • Rib fractures
  • Ruptured spleen

Millions of people avoid helmet use. Without one, one’s chances of experiencing a fatal injury increase significantly. Regardless of how skilled one may be, or how long he or she has been riding, accidents happen unexpectedly. Why not prepare for it? NHTSA reports that nearly 90% of serious crashes result in a head injury. NHTSA, California law enforcement, and accident attorneys all emphasize that people of all ages should take preventative measures. Fatal head injuries are the most common factor in a lawsuit or wrongful death suit.

Buying the Right Helmet

When it comes to picking the right helmet, one of the most important things to evaluate is how it fits. It should feel comfortable and provide enough coverage to protect your head if you were tossed from your bike or fell off in an accident. A lawyer for cyclist accident injuries in Los Angeles will strongly encourage you to do a little research before making your purchase. There are ample reports and resources for new and experienced riders, including those with pre-existing health conditions and uniquely shaped heads. There is no specific price range, as most helmets meet all U.S. safety standards. It is important to keep in mind that cyclists 18-years-old and younger should only use helmets that are certified according to The Consumer Product Safety Commission.

You Can Still Request A Legal Review

You may not think of bicycle injuries as ones that need legal attention. Though you were not behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, you have a right to file a claim against negligent drivers that inhabit the same road. When motorists make minor mistakes or cyclists are unnoticed, it can result in life-threatening injuries. Immediately after seeking treatment reach out to an attorney for bike crashes to file a personal injury suit to avoid getting stuck with unanticipated expenses. Seeking advice from a legal professional allows you an opportunity to determine if you have a legitimate claim worth pursuing.

About Grey Law

“When it comes to getting you more, I won’t settle for less.” – David Grey

When you or a loved one are injured due to negligence, carelessness, or wrongful acts of another person, David Grey is ready to help. Seeking compensation or negotiating with insurance companies can be stressful, especially while recovering. Let us do that for you. Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are well-versed in several practice areas:

Why do you need a lawyer for accident compensation? With thousands of lawyers in California, we understand it can be difficult to choose the right legal representation. We have 35+ years of experience and secured millions for our clients. From the time you retain our firm, we build your case. For a free case evaluation and consultation, reach out to us at (323) 857-9500 or email

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