Arizona bicycle helmet laws save lives. They also prevent non-fatal traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in many cases. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), about one-third of all serious injuries from bicycle accidents are head injuries, and more than half of these cases involve riders who were not wearing a helmet.
Additionally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that policies promoting consistent bike helmet use can reduce riders’ risk of suffering head injuries by 20 to 55 percent. This is a significant amount, and it underscores the importance of wearing a helmet every time you ride.
Bicycle helmet requirements vary between states and from one local jurisdiction to another. Here is an overview of the Arizona bicycle helmet laws and ordinances:
At the state level, wearing a bicycle helmet is not mandatory in Arizona. While Arizona bicycle helmet laws are designed to promote rider safety, it has stopped short of requiring helmet use for riders.
But, while the state legislature has not adopted a statewide Arizona bicycle helmet laws, some countries have adopted bicycle helmet requirements. Currently, the following local jurisdictions require helmet use for riders who are under age 18:
These localities’ helmet requirements apply regardless of whether children are riding alone or with their parents. They may also require helmet use when children are riding in bike seats or trailers with their parents. For example, Pima County’s bicycle law states:
“No person under eighteen years of age shall ride a bicycle or be a passenger on a bicycle, ride in a restraining seat attached to a bicycle, or ride in a trailer towed by a bicycle unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet which meets the current standards of the American National Standards Institute for protective headgear.”
Most bicycle helmet manufacturers will state whether their helmets meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. If you aren’t sure whether a bike helmet meets the ANSI standards, you can check the manufacturer’s website, contact the manufacturer directly, or simply choose another helmet.
Even if you are choosing a helmet for yourself or you live in a part of Arizona where children’s bike helmets aren’t required, it is still a good idea to choose a helmet that meets the ANSI standards. The ASTM International (ASTM) standards are frequently used as well; and, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, the ANSI and ASTM standards for bicycle helmets are identical.
Along with meeting ANSI or ASTM standards, there are some other important considerations for choosing a bicycle helmet as well. Some of these considerations include:
Just like other types of safety equipment, bicycle helmets require proper maintenance. Abusing or failing to properly maintain a bicycle helmet can compromise its strength and integrity. With regard to helmet maintenance, the CDC advises:
In terms of when to replace a bicycle helmet, the CDC advises following the “one impact” rule. As the CDC explains:
“Bike helmets are designed to help protect the rider’s brain and head from one serious impact . . . . You may not be able to see the damage to the foam, but the foam materials in the helmet will crush after an impact. That means that the foam in the helmet won’t be able to help protect the rider’s brain and head from another impact.”
While an impact can result from a bicycle accident, it can also result from dropping a helmet on the ground. If you have any reason to be concerned about whether a bicycle helmet is still safe to use, it is best to err on the side of caution and buy a replacement.
As shown by the statistics we highlighted above, the risks of not wearing a bicycle helmet can be substantial. Riders who aren’t wearing helmets are more likely to suffer head injuries, and TBI from bicycle accidents can have life-altering or life-threatening consequences.
What types of head injuries can bicycle riders suffer if they aren’t wearing a helmet? Some of the most common head injuries sustained in bicycle accidents include:
These are just examples. Bicycle accidents can result in all other types of traumatic brain injuries as well. If you or your child is experiencing headaches, blurred vision, trouble sleeping, or any other symptoms of a possible TBI, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Regardless of the severity of a head injury, the costs of treatment and recovery can be substantial. Medical bills can far exceed families’ budgets, and riders’ loss of income can lead to further financial strain. In a typical case, a serious head injury sustained in a bicycle accident will lead to:
Injured riders and their families can recover these costs in many cases. If you or your child has suffered a head injury in a bicycle accident in Arizona, you should speak with a lawyer about your legal rights.
The short answer is, “Yes.” Bicycle helmets do work. Studies have shown that wearing a bicycle helmet not only reduces the risk of suffering a head injury in a crash, but it also reduces the risk of a head injury having serious or life-threatening consequences. With that said, not all helmets are alike, and it is important to choose a quality helmet that is suited to your (or your child’s) specific needs.
No, bicycle helmets do not prevent all head injuries. As a result, while it is important to wear a helmet when riding, it is also important to stay alert and follow the rules of the road. Bicycle riders and parents should do everything they can to reduce their (and their children’s) risk of injury, and wearing a helmet is just one piece of the puzzle.
The type of bicycle helmet you choose is important. Simply put, some helmets are safer than others. Additionally, certain types of helmets are better-suited to certain types of riding. At a minimum, riders and parents should choose bicycle helmets that are ANSI or ASTM certified. Helmet manufacturers make helmets that are specifically designed for road riding, trail riding, and BMX riding as well.
When it comes to selecting a bicycle helmet, a visit to your local bike shop is highly recommended. A knowledgeable professional can guide you in choosing the ideal helmet that suits your specific needs or those of your child. They can provide valuable insights regarding various certifications and styles. Additionally, ensuring a proper fit is essential, and the staff at the bike shop can assist you in trying on helmets before making a purchase. By consulting an expert and considering the guidelines set by Arizona bicycle helmet laws, you can make an informed decision to prioritize safety while enjoying your biking experience.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident and you weren’t wearing a helmet, don’t despair! You may still be eligible for financial compensation under Arizona bicycle helmet laws. It’s important to note that although bicycle helmets aren’t mandatory in Arizona, it’s generally advisable to wear one for safety reasons. However, we understand that circumstances may arise that lead to riding without a helmet. Even if insurance companies assert that wearing a helmet could have minimized accident costs, fear not! Arizona bicycle helmet laws grant you the right to pursue partial compensation for your head injury. So, rest assured that you have legal recourse and can explore your options under Arizona bicycle helmet laws to seek the compensation you deserve.
For a comprehensive understanding of Arizona bicycle helmet laws or to gain further insight into your legal rights following a bicycle accident in Arizona, we encourage you to reach out. Our experienced team of bicycle injury lawyers at Phoenix Accident and Injury Law Firm is here to assist you. Take advantage of a free consultation by calling 480-634-7480 or submitting an online inquiry today. Don’t miss the opportunity to discuss your case with professionals who specialize in Arizona bicycle helmet laws and are dedicated to advocating for your rights.