Push dropped for Indiana law requiring youth bicycle helmets

An Indiana legislator is dropping his push for a new law requiring all youthsto wear protective helmets while riding a bicycle, skateboard or skates on public property.

Safety advocates had backed the proposal that would have given police officers the option to issue tickets with maximum $25 fines to violators under age 18 or impound the riding device until the child is shown to have a proper helmet.

Republican Rep. Randy Frye of Greensburg said he was modifying his bill to focus on providing free helmets to youths because many legislators considered a helmet requirement too intrusive by government.

Frye, a retired Indianapolis firefighter, said he now aims to create a program within the state’s Department of Homeland Security to distribute helmets and provide education about their use.

“We still intend to get as many helmets as we can buy into the hands of public safety across our state and eventually, with training, into the hands of these young people to protect them,” Frye said.

Safety advocates had urged adoption of the helmet requirement, citing the tragedy of severe head injuries suffered by youths in riding accidents. They said that having a state law could encourage helmet use much like the introduction of seat belt laws improved the safety for all riding in cars.

The Indiana House is expected to vote on the bill Monday.

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