TRENTON – The Senate approved legislation today sponsored by Senate Shirley K. Turner that would raise the mandatory age for wearing a bicycle helmet from under 14 to up to 17 years old.
“Helmets save lives, plain and simple,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “While every individual from 3 to 103 should wear a helmet while riding a bike or skateboard, it is especially important for our children to be protected. It is estimated that bicycle, skateboard and roller skate injuries cost American families more than $8 billion each year and that much of that cost comes from head injuries. There is simply no excuse for our youngsters to go out without a helmet on.”
Senator Turner’s bill, S- 2529, would require all minors less than 17 years of age to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, roller skates or skateboards. The law currently requires all minors under the age of 14 to wear a helmet. Over 150 states and municipalities have enacted age-specific helmet laws, and most of those laws cover bicyclists under the age of 16. California’s law is the most comprehensive with all individuals under the age of 18 required to use a helmet.
“It’s a fact of life that teenagers don’t always make the best decisions when it comes to their own personal safety. By extending the minimum age for wearing helmets, we improve their safety during these critical years and hopefully encourage them to adopt these healthy habits for a lifetime,” added Senator Turner.
The bill was passed by the Senate by a vote of 38-0 and now goes to Governor Codey’s desk for his signature.