Will law save Maryland cyclists from brain injuries?

Will law save Maryland cyclists from brain injuries?

It is probably safe to say that both cyclists and nonriders alike would agree that bike accidents can carry potentially serious injuries. These ramifications could include brain injury, which is especially devastating.

This is why wearing a helmet is so important. However, not everyone in Maryland agrees on what laws are needed in order to limit brain injuries on a bike.

Maryland’s General Assembly is being faced with a bill that would make helmets mandatory for any rider on any sort of bicycle. Right now, children who are 16 years old or younger are required to wear one. Laws in places like Sykesville, Maryland, take it a step further by threatening to impound the bicycle of anyone caught not wearing a helmet on three different occasions. The current bill grows the laws to encompass all Maryland cyclists.

However, some devoted cyclists are against the law and do not believe it addresses the root of the problem. Members of this camp claim that getting more cyclists on the roads and forcing motorists to become aware of them should be the main objective. In fact, this group claims that forcing cyclists to wear a helmet while riding would actually turn many would-be cyclists off from engaging in the activity.

Those who make that argument can point to a 2011 bicycle accident on West University Parkway where a student of Johns Hopkins University was hit by an elderly driver who was turning into a driveway. The cyclists died from his brain injuries, even though he was wearing a helmet.

The sponsor of the bill contended that she has seen first-hand a bike helmet save lives and that it is the only logical measure to ensure the safety of cyclists on Maryland roads.

Brain injuries can be hard to bounce back from. This arduous process can be a drain on a person’s time, productivity and finances. If they have been injured at the hands of a negligent party, pursuing compensation in civil court is a logical maneuver.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, Cycling advocates fight proposed helmet law, preferring ‘safety in numbers’,” Scott Dance, Feb. 13, 2013

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