The school year has ended, the weather is sunny, and quarantine restrictions are slowly being lifted. More and more people are out on bicycles – including teens and young adults.
“New Jersey state law requires that anyone under the age of 17 must wear a helmet when operating a bicycle,” stated Livingston Police Chief Gary Marshuetz. “Originally, the helmet law only applied to those under age 14; however, excessive numbers of injuries to children above age 14 led to a change in the law, making it apply up to age 17.”
“A bike helmet has to be correctly fitted and fastened to assure that it will properly protect the head in the event of a fall,” stated Chief Marshuetz. “Relatively minor bicycle crashes where injuries would likely have been insignificant if the child had worn a helmet have instead resulted in serious injuries and even brain damage to those children.”
Parents are reminded that allowing their children to ride bikes is a positive physical activity that can be especially helpful now that many have been quarantined due to COVID-19. However, it is important to be aware of potential dangers associated with this activity and have conversations with your children about possible consequences of not wearing a helmet.
New Jersey state law requires that parents be held responsible for minors who are not wearing a helmet. Those parents face fines of $25 to $100 if their child rides a bicycle without a helmet.
“The Livingston Police Department has begun an initiative to help get the word out about these laws. Our officers will stop any child observed operating a bike without a helmet and properly inform them of the safety requirements,” stated the Chief. “This advisory program will continue for several more weeks. After that, we will begin actively enforcing the laws, and parents will face fines if their children are not wearing helmets.”
“Please don’t take any chances,” concluded Marshuetz. “No parent wants their child’s health at risk when something as easy as wearing a helmet can prevent devastating injury or even save a life. Obey the law when operating a bicycle and above all, stay safe.”
All are reminded that any individual under 17 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet.