Governor Brown Signs Bill to Remove Helmet Requirement
If you’ve joined the thousands of Californians who have embraced scooters as a way to get around town, there’s good news—you won’t be required anymore to bring along and wear one of those pesky helmets—at least, not after January 1, 2019, when the new law goes into effect.
On September 18, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed new legislation that waives the helmet requirement for anyone 18 and over operating a scooter in the state of California. Proponents of the bill say that, as a practical matter, it eliminates the requirement for virtually all scooter operators, as most dockless scooter companies don’t all minors to use their vehicles. Under the legislation, there are minimum requirements that apply throughout the state, but local communities still have the option to impose tougher restrictions.
Advocates for the bill called it a common-sense response to the unique factors that affect scooter rentals. Most medium-to-large cities in California have seen an influx of scooter companies, such as Bird and Lime, making electric vehicles that can be picked up and dropped off at almost any location. Scooter enthusiasts say that, because the scooters cannot travel at high rates of speed, the risk of injury is significantly less. In addition, they contend that requiring riders to wear helmets dramatically reduced the inclination of customers to spontaneously opt for a scooter as means of transportation, as most folks don’t carry a helmet with them at all times.
The new law also includes another significant provision unrelated to the use of helmets. Under existing law, scooters were not allowed on roads with posted speed limits in excess of 25 miles per hour. Under the new law, that has been changed to 35 miles per hour.
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