New York State law aims to protect children who ride a bike and are passengers in motor vehicles from injury through helmet and seatbelt laws. The problem is there may be a bigger push to wear seatbelts than helmets.
The law in New York State says that children under the age of 14 are required to wear an approved helmet when riding a bicycle, otherwise they face the maximum penalty – a $50 fine. N.Y. Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1238.
Drivers are required to wear a seatbelt. Additionally, to protect passengers, a seatbelt is required to be worn by anyone under 16 years old in the back seats, as well as in the front seat. N.Y. Vehicle and Traffic Law section 12129-c.
Though both laws exist to keep people safe, do people respect both equally? Also, do police officers and parents emphasize helmets as much as seatbelt safety?
It’s generally uncommon to see a police officer issue a child a bicycle helmet ticket, however seatbelt campaigns like New York’s Click-It-Or-Ticket are highly widespread.
It’s obvious that safety is incredibly important, especially to young riders who are still learning how dangerous the road can be. Parents should talk about bicycle safety and wearing a helmet as often as wearing a seatbelt, and should emphasize that helmets do save lives.
Each year, almost 2,000 New York State residents suffer personal injury and are hospitalized due to bicycle accidents.
Of these hospitalizations, approximately 38 percent involve a head or brain injury. Head injuries can range from small cuts or lacerations to a concussion, open head injury, or traumatic brain injury. The severity of a traumatic brain injury varies greatly. Symptoms of mild head injuries include forgetfulness, lack of concentration, slowed work performance, poor reading comprehension, and fatigue. Additionally, symptoms of serious head injuries include bleeding from the nose or ears, headaches, loss of consciousness, loss of balance, slurred speech, and repeated vomiting. Compared to the dollar cost and pain and suffering related to brain injuries, helmets are an inexpensive insurance.
With offices in Clifton Park, Albany and Plattsburgh, NY, LaMarche Safranko Law’s dedicated attorneys diligently handle motor vehicle personal injury cases involving pedestrians, bicyclists and runners, as well as a broad range of legal matters. If you or someone close to you has been injured, contact us today for a free consultation.
 Notably 1229-c also requires all front seat passengers, as well as the operator to wear a seatbelt.