As both an experienced bike rider and an experienced injury attorney, I often get asked whether it’s important to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. I hope that this post will help answer that question, and give you a good guide to turn to if you’re looking to buy a helmet.
Are Helmets Legally Required When Riding A Bicycle? In Missouri, the answer is generally, No. There is no Missouri state law requiring bicycle riders to wear helmets. Certain areas within the state, though, do have local laws requiring helmet use. Creve Coeur, unincorporated areas of St. Louis County, Columbia, Florissant and St. Charles are some examples of Missouri areas which have local laws requiring helmet use.
Is Wearing A Helmet A Good Idea When Riding A Bicycle? The answer is a definite Yes. Bicycling Magazine recently wrote a lengthy and in-depth story about bicycle helmets, which I strongly recommend for anyone interested in buying a well-designed, well-built helmet. At the time of this posting, the article can be found here. After a comprehensive survey of helmet use and helmet technology, the article’s conclusions were that:
- Helmet use saves lives, prevents some injuries and significantly decreases the severity of other injuries; and
- After remaining stagnant for four decades, helmet technology is finally advancing.
“I’m A Careful Rider. Do I Really Need A Helmet?” Bicycle riding can be a dangerous activity under any circumstances, but it can be especially dangerous on the open road, where the rider has to share the road with cars and trucks. While it’s human nature to think “I’ll be careful” and hope for the best, the simple fact is that no matter how careful the bike rider is, a careless motor vehicle driver can seriously injure or kill them. In a collision between a car and a bicycle, it’s obvious who’s going to be more seriously hurt.
Both bicyclists and vehicle operators have an obligation to drive safely and reasonably. A lot of bike riders get upset with vehicle drivers who refuse to honor their legal obligation to share the road. But while there are some unsafe vehicle drivers, there are unsafe bicyclists, too. Bicycle riders also have an obligation to follow the rules of the road. That means bicyclists must stop at stop signs and red traffic lights, obey speed limits, and not endanger pedestrians. Too many times bicycle riders will simply blow through stop signs or traffic lights, thinking they don’t apply to them. They’re wrong. And that often fuels drivers’ anger at bicyclists.
Children Should Definitely Wear Helmets. The simple fact is that children fall off their bicycles far more frequently than adults do, and it’s therefore more important that they wear helmets. There are many reasons why they fall more. Children generally spend more time riding than adults do. Children generally have less experience riding bicycles, and generally have a less well-developed sense of balance, as well. They also have less experience with traffic, leading them to be more likely to be startled by cars or trucks that they weren’t expecting. All these factors combine to make kids mor elikely to fall than an adult. Even though most kids feel that they’re bulletproof, we adults know that they’re not.
Are All Helmets The Same? The Bicycling Magazine article about helmets discusses new technology available which they said helps prevent or minimize concussions. If you’re in the market for a helmet, I strongly suggest you read the article, which as of this writing is here. It’ll help you make a better, more-informed decision on which helmet to buy.
But Remember: Whatever Helmet You Buy, It Will Only Help You If You Wear It.
Seek Help From An Experienced Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a bike accident, contact an experienced attorney immediately. Bike accidents require quick and experienced legal and investigative response to preserve any evidence and help present your case in the best light possible. Our attorneys are experienced at helping injured people receive the financial compensation they need after their injuries. Contact the Bicycle Accident Attorneys at the Springfield, Missouri office of Rob Curran at www.CurranLawFirm.com or call us at 417-823-7500 for a free consultation.