By Debi Brazzale, COLORADO NEWS AGENCY
A measure heard Thursday by lawmakers requiring kids to wear helmets while riding their bikes, skateboards or scooters is again moving forward, passing on a party-line vote through the Senate Education Committee.
House Bill 1147 would authorize law enforcement to issue an “informational” traffic citationĐa card containing safety information about wearing a helmet, not an actual ticketĐto any child over 2 years old who is on a public roadway or public place and who is not wearing a helmet.
Sponsored by Bacon
Senate Education chair Bob Bacon, a Democrat from Fort Collins, is the senate sponsor of HB1147, which narrowly passed the full House earlier this month by one vote.
“I think we can go a long way in mitigating some of these (brain) injuries with this bill,” said Bacon.
Leslie Feuerborn, speaking for Children’s Hospital, told the panel enacting a helmet law for kids will not only saves lives but could save the state some money because approximately 15 percent of brain injuries from biking and skateboarding accidents treated at Children’s were covered by Medicaid.
Feuerborn went on to cite a study done by State Kids WorldwideĐa global network of organizations aiming to prevent accidental childhood injuryĐwhich concluded that 53 percent of 8-12 year olds said parental rules would motivate them to wear a helmet and 49 percent said they would be motivated to wear a helmet if a law was passed. Feuerborn said most parents she’s involved with would welcome such a law.
“Enacting a helmet law provides parents with the leverage that they often need to get their kids to wear helmets,” said Feuerborn.
GOP lawmaker Mark Scheffel of Parker, said passing such a law is a clear-cut case of government overreach in an area that private entities are already dealing with.
“There are all kinds of non-profits that educate the public on helmet safetyĐsome even giving away helmets,” said Scheffel. “This is an area that government just doesn’t need to get into.”
Scheffel, who requires his own kids to wear their helmets, sees the measure as an affront to parents who care about their kids’ safety and exercise good parenting skills.
“This is classic nanny-state. We don’t need to be doing this,” said Scheffel.