HB 339 is current making the rounds in the Environmental Matters Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates, and the legislation calls for the “Required Use of Protective Headgear” in Maryland (full text here). Current law states that helmets are not mandatory for cyclists above the age of 16. HB 339 aims to remove that language.
We do not typically make these kinds of posts at Baltimore Velo. However, whether you are a helmet supporter or opposer, I want to stress a couple of things:
- The criteria for testing helmets, and their safety record as a whole, both remain hotly contested in cycling circles.
- Cycling continues to grow in Maryland and in Baltimore especially. However, a dramatic side effect of mandatory helmet laws is propagating a fear of cycling and unsafe streets. Unfortunately, we have not gotten past that fear in Baltimore, and this legislation has the potential to stunt cycling culture growth.
The WABA sent out an action alert about HB 339 earlier today, which you can find here. If you’re interested in contacting the Environmental Matters Committee to oppose the bill, visit this WABA page, which makes it a snap.