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It’s Not about Wearing a Helmet—The HER Helmet Thursdays Project. Also: A proposed CA law, SB 92, since withdrawn.

MIIS student at HER Helmet Thursdays spot - Cannery Row Brewing - May 2013

  • We personally wear a bicycle helmet about 99% of the time–partly because we feel it reduces our risk of injury, and partly to show solidarity with minors, required by CA law to wear a helmet.  With sadness, we remember the death of local 17-year-old Kyle Beardshear.
  • We encourage people under 18 to wear helmets. DMV VC Section 21212 states that minors are required to wear helmets when biking (and also when skateboarding, skating, or on a nonmotorized scooter).
  • We oppose—for a variety of reasons—the proposed California law mandating bicycle helmet use for adults, SB 192, introduced by State Senator Carol Liu. See the California Bicycle Coalition’s SB192 Quick Facts and Stop the Mandatory Helmet Law. [Update, 4/10/15: “California 25th District Senator Carol Liu amended her extremely controversial mandatory helmet law, SB-192, to only study the effectiveness of helmets, and removed the mandatory helmet use for adults language in its entirety. The requirement for high visibility apparel has also been removed. ” Read more from Rich Masoner, Cyclelicious here.]
  • Surprised? Ah! Maybe you thought The HER Helmet Thursdays Project was to promote helmet use. Nope. Scroll down to “It’s not about wearing a helmet.”
  • What about another aspect of that bill, “require a person engaged in these activities in the darkness to wear retroreflective high-visibility safety apparel”? See what we have to say about high-visibility apparel and accessories, and biking in the dark.
  • We urge education of people who bike, drive, walk, and otherwise share our streets, trails, and other public areas.

What makes biking safer?

  • Infrastructure improvements
  • Responsible behavior of people who bike, drive, walk, skate, or otherwise get about
  • Effective laws
  • Law enforcement
  • And simply an increase in the numbers of people who bike makes communities safer for biking too

Learn more about all those contributing factors on the Bicycling Monterey website, or contact me with your questions. You might start with “Bicycle Riding Skills, Bike Safety, and CA Bicycle Laws–for Children, Teens, and Adults,” and “Bicycle advocacy: What you can do” and “Keeping the local bike scene cool: It’s a multi-pronged effort.

Bicycling Monterey’s posters page has bike law summaries like these, and much more:

Instead of enacting a law requiring adults to wear helmets, if you feel helmets are important, consider encouraging them. Here’s one way:

Tell them about the 10-50% discounts that males and females of all ages can get on Thursdays year-round, from participating HER Helmet Thursdays businesses and organizations. The HER Helmet Thursdays Project reached its 5th Anniversary in 2014.

In Monterey County, hundreds of businesses and organizations participate; download the list: HER Helmet Thursdays – Quick Reference Guide – 1 March 2015 (For the most current list anytime, visit the Listings/FAQs page.)

The young man at the top of this post–being over age 18–wasn’t required by current California law to wear a helmet. He chose to wear one. The place he was entering, Cannery Row Brewing Company, would reward him with a discount just because he biked there. No need for a plastic card, coupon, punch card, etc–his bike helmet serves as evidence.

Live in another area? Catch the vision!

Questions? Contact Mari.

Below, read “It’s Not About Wearing a Helmet: The HER Helmet Thursdays Project.


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The Bicycling Monterey website and projects were established May 2009. Contributions and volunteers are welcome and appreciated.

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Below, read our 2010 post…

Part II:

It’s Not About Wearing a Helmet:

The HER Helmet Thursdays Project

HER Helmet Thursdays 5th Anniversary poster JQ2

Why the helmet in HER Helmet Thursdays?

As told in a 2-minute introduction aired on KUSP 4/14/10,What’s up with the bike helmet buzz,”  the HER Helmet Thursdays Project is not a bike safety project to get people to wear helmets!

The helmet simply serves as evidence of bicycling. It avoids any need for a punch card, coupon, plastic, card, etc.

  • And a helmet as evidence is only necessary for the  “E” (educational and entertainment) and “R”(restaurants and related spots, such as wineries). 
  • “H”/hotels/lodging have different guidelines, with no helmet involved; see “How to get a lodging discount.”

Wearing a helmet is entirely up to you (unless you’re under 18 and are concerned about the risk of a California ticket).  To get the HER Helmet Thursdays discount, at those E and R spots, you only have to walk in with helmet in hand, as evidence you’re bicycling. (Or if leaving your helmet with a valet parking or hat-check room attendant, just ask them to jot “bike” or “helmet” on the claim check, for you to show the person who’ll prepare your tab.)

To learn more, see FAQs, or see  Quick Links to the HER Helmet Thursdays project. To read how HER Helmet Thursdays  began, see “Wheel the Earth [click here]” in the Monterey County Weekly.

Thanks to a helpful comment from  Nipper, a U.K. reader of this blog, and himself a person who bikes. Nipper’s comment prompted me to further clarify what the helmet in HER Helmet Thursdays is all about!  Curious? See that helmet chat by scrolling to the end of Introducing HER Helmet Thursdays, then reading the comments from and to Nipper.

“It’s Not About Wearing a Helmet: The HER Helmet Thursdays Project” was previously published January 13, 2010, with subsequent updates.

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