NJ would become 1st state to require adults to wear helmets while on bikes, scooters under new bill

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Friday, December 2, 2022
NJ bill would require adults to wear helmets while on bikes, scooters
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Sonia Rincon reports as New Jersey considers a bill that would require adults to wear a helmet when riding a bike.

TRENTON, N.J. (WABC) -- Lawmakers in New Jersey are considering a new bill that would make the state the first in the country to require all adults to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle or scooter.

Studies show that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a deadly head injury by 65%.

The state already requires all children to wear a helmet.

But organizations that advocate for more biking are not necessarily advocating for this.

"I'm half and half with it. I think it's a good idea. We all know we should be wearing a helmet. It's tough when someone tells you you have to wear a helmet though."Jersey City Bicycle Company ownerChristopher DeLosAngeles said. "You want to obviously protect yourself and it's not you you have to worry about, it's everybody else."

State Assemblyman Reginald Atkins, who introduced the bill, says it's not about issuing fines, but enforcement would be similar to something New Jerseyans are already familiar with.

"I would say that it should probably mimic the same thing as not having on a seat belt," Atkins said."It's the same principle. It's having a device that's put in place to keep someone safe."

The fine for not wearing a seatbelt in a car is $25.

Casual cyclists like Colin Cecere say they'd rather choose when and where to wear a helmet and if it's going to be required for adults maybe only for certain circumstances.

"For the e-bikes that whip up and down the streets at 30 miles an hour sometimes, but me, I'm just going from A to B, I'm going from my workouts, small grocery shopping, I stay in the bike lane. I really don't feel like putting a helmet on," Cecere said.

Bike advocate organizations, like the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition, say a law isn't necessary and is likely to discourage people from choosing to ride a bike over taking their car.

"We believe the safety of people who bike will be best advanced through safety improvements to our streets and our cars," the group said in a statement.

As for the bill itself, it's currently being considered in the Assembly, but would also need to pass the State Senate, where a version has yet to be introduced, before it would be sent to Gov. Phil Murphy's desk.

Murphy has given no indication whether he would sign such a bill into law.

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