STATE POLLING DATA:

PRO:   ______%

CON:  ______%

IDK:     ______%

IMPORTANCE: ____

 

INTRODUCTION:

            Ask Frank Chen, Sunnyvale Middle School student, he can tell you how valuable a bicycle helmet can be.  In 2004, he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle.  The police officer who filed the accident investigation report  stated, "…without his helmet he could have been seriously injured."  There are over 85 million bicyclists in the United States.  Each year 540,000 receive treatment in emergency care facilities for accidents sustained while riding their bikes.  Nearly 67,000 of these visitors are treated for head injuries sustained while riding without a helmet.  Surveys by the National Transportation and Safety Board have determined that wearing helmets could reduce these injuries by nearly 88%.

 

WHAT THIS BILL WOULD DO:

            This bill would require all bicyclists of any age to wear a certified safety helmet.  First time offenders would receive a warning.  Upon a second offense, they would be fined $100 and have their bicycle confiscated until they completed an authorized, certified 12 hour bicycle safety course.  Upon a third offense, they would receive a $250 fine and confiscation of their bicycle until they complete 50 hours of community service.  Subsequent offenses would be subject to fines and service in minimum security federal prisons at the discretion of a federal judge.

 

PRO ARGUMENTS:

            This bill will prevent substantial loss of life and permanent maiming of individuals.  This will serve to lower health costs and savings by reducing the amount of necessary services required.  A safer bicycling environment is to everyone advantage.

 

CON ARGUMENTS:

            This bill will not protect against poor or hazardous drivers who run into bicyclists.  Forcing bicyclists to wear helmets will increase the cost of operating a bicycle because of the cost of certified, safe helmets.  What bicyclists need is more room to ride not more rules to follow.  Already over worked law enforcement agencies will now have to add bicycle watching to their workload and the government will have to raise revenues to support this effort.

 

CONCLUSION:

            Whether helmets are unattractive or infringe on the personal choice of riders is irrelevant to the fact that bicycle helmets will save lives and prevent permanent maiming of citizens.  There is no cost equivalent to the prevention of death or serious injury and the bike helmet market will eventually settle on a price that everyone can afford.