Although the helmet laws applicable to bicyclists in Atlanta are generally lax for adults, they are considerably stricter for children. In addition, an adult responsible for supervising a child may be held criminally liable if they fail to ensure that the child is wearing a helmet while bicycling, as mandated by state law.
Depending on the circumstances of a biking collision, failing to adhere to the bicycle helmet laws in Atlanta could have significant consequences. A seasoned bike accident attorney could discuss with you about how these regulations may or may not impact your particular case.
What Are Atlanta’s Helmet Laws?
Atlanta’s helmet laws describe the required headgear for those operating a bicycle in Georgia. Specifically, Official Code of Georgia §40-60-296 mandates that no person under the age of 16 can ride or be a passenger on a bicycle on a highway bicycle path or sidewalk without a helmet. If someone is over the age of 16, there is no specific requirement for them to wear a bicycle helmet in Atlanta.
The legislature defines a qualifying helmet for the purposes of bicycle safety as a piece of protective headgear which meets or exceeds the impact standards for bicycle helmets set by the American National Standards Institute. Bikers to whom this helmet law applies must also wear their approved helmet properly, meaning it is a good fit and is seated securely on their head with the straps fastened under their chin.
Also, it is important to note that no bicycle can be rented or leased to anyone under the age of 16 without an accompanying protective helmet, unless that person is in possession of a helmet at the time of the rental or lease. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that entities and companies that sell or lease bicycles to children are not just bicyclists out onto the roads unprotected, but are instead ensuring that every user has the proper protective head gear in the event of an accident.
Legal Ramifications for Not Wearing a Bicycle Helmet
Strictly speaking, there are no legal ramifications for an adult who does not wear a helmet while biking in Atlanta, since they are not required by law to wear helmets under any circumstances. However, if an adult is the guardian of or has supervision over a child and allows that child to operate a bicycle without a helmet, they may face criminal charges.
Specifically, O.C.G.A. §40-6-297 provides that a parent in Atlanta could be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to equip their child with a bicycle helmet. In the eyes of the state legislature, it is very important for people who have children under the age of 16, or who are the guardian of a child in that age range, to make sure they are wearing an approved bicycle helmet.
Atlanta Bicycle Helmet Laws Should Be Taken Seriously
Even though it is not legally required for persons over 16 years of age to wear bicycle helmets in Atlanta, it is always a good idea for anyone riding a bike to wear proper head protection. Many bicycle accidents result in severe injury, and head trauma to an unprotected rider is often incredibly damaging and can even be fatal.
If you have any questions about bicycle helmet laws in Atlanta, a lawyer from our team is prepared to answer them for you. We could also offer clarification about your legal options in the event of a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, so do not hesitate to reach out to our firm today.