Colorado HB 1147: Helmet legislation for children

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Saturday, January 30, 2010
By Yokota Fritz

“I will pursue any legislation in order to protect children as best I can,” says Colorado state senator Bob Bacon of Fort Collins. To that end, Senator Bacon and Represenative John Kefalas (also of Ft Collins) are sponsoring legislation to mandate helmet use for children under age 18. The proposed law doesn't have teeth -- enforcement will consist of police lecturing bike riders to ride their helmets, instead of any actual citation or fine.

Kefalas says he's responding to "numerous tragedies on Fort Collins roads involving car collisions with children riding bicycles," according to the Coloradoan. There were 38 bike / car collisions involving children in Ft Collins in 2008 reported to the Ft Collins police.

Long time cycling advocate Rick Price of Ft Collins believes cycling education for children would be a much more valuable use of state resources to improve cycling safety for children.


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How about spending money to actually teach motorists how to drive properly and enforce the existing laws on the books?

Legislation in this arena that has any fiscal impact would go down like the Heene's balloon. I.e., there's no money to spend and this bill costs nothing. What it does do that is unique is "allow" cops to stop kids or parents and remind them that we have a law in Colorado requiring minors to wear a helmet. Enforcement, therefore, is not punitive nor is it mandatory. But it gives the cop an opportunity to become a part of the educational process. That would be a nice switch.

The law also requires Colorado Dept. of Transportation consider all users of the public streets and roads (read bicyclists and pedestrians) when they build roads.

Finally, it requires CDOT and the Departments of Education and Public Safety to make available to schools, communities, advocacy groups, and others a comprehensive bicycle safety curriculum for all grade levels.

In short, there is WAY more to this bill than helmets. That's the least of it. We're talking educating citizens in this state about safe cycling. Morotists included.
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