Proposed legislation would fine Ohio parents if children don’t wear bike helmets

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - As the weather gets nicer, and families take to the outdoors, often on their bikes, Ohio lawmakers are looking to make those outings safer for children.

A bill introduced in the Ohio senate this week would require children under the age of 16 to wear a helmet when riding a bike - and if they don't their parents or guardians would face the penalty.

Senate Bill 157 is being sponsored by State Senator Shannon Jones of Springboro. The bill requires that anyone riding on a bicycle on public land - as the bike's driver or as a  passenger - wear an approved safety helmet that is "fastened securely on their head". If not, the parent or guardian of the child faces a $25 fine for a first offense, and a $100 on the second offense.

The bill also would require that bike rental businesses provide helmets to renters under 16.

According to Jones' website, it's estimated that just 10 to 20% of Ohio’s children wear bike helmets, but more than 70% of children ages 5 to 14 ride a bike regularly.  Each year, more than 50,000 individuals suffer serious injuries while riding a bike without a helmet.

The legislation has been referred to committee for further consideration.