Under Florida Statute Section 316.2065(3)(d), children 16 years of age and younger must wear bicycle helmets that comply with 16 CFR part 1203. Although adults do no have to wear helmets, it is highly recommended they so do. But what exactly is this regulation and what does it say? What are the safety standards for bicycle helmets?
First: The Purpose of 16 CFR Part 1203
Sixteen CFR part 1203 sets forth, among other things, the safety standards for bicycle helmets. The purpose of these regulations was to reduce the likelihood of serious injury and death to all bicyclists due to head injuries. Believe it or not, there were no federal guidelines or regulations for bicycle helmets until 1999, when 16 CFR part 1203 became law.
Second: 16 CFR Part 1203 Contains Various Safety and Warning Requirements
Sixteen CFR part 1203 requires that bicycle helmets meet various safety and warning requirements. As a few examples, bicycle helmets must:
- Contain a warning that no helmet can protect against all impacts and that death can occur (part 1203.6(a)(2));
- Have a warning that after impact helmets may no longer safe, even when there is no visible damage to the bicycle helmet (part 1203.6(a)(4));
- Include a warning that certain household chemicals can damage helmets, and such damage may not be visible to the user (part 1203.6(a)(5)); and,
- Allow for peripheral vision, specifically 105 degrees to the left and right sides (part 1203.12).
Third: 16 CFR Part 1203 Contains The Testing Requirements for Helmets
Sixteen CFR part 1203 details the various testing methods helmets must undergo. The tests are detailed and check the various components of the bicycle helmet, including the strapping system.
Always remember that bicycle helmets save lives and money. In fact, according to the Children’s Safety Network every $10 bike helmet results in saves $50 in medical costs, $140 in future earnings, and $380 in quality of life costs. Additionally, the Children Safety Network estimates that if 85% of all child bicyclists wore helmets in 1 year, the lifetime medical savings would be between $197 to $256 million.
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