Accidents with No Helmet in Northern California

Insurance companies will almost always try to lowball cyclists who were not wearing a helmet and even blame the victim for being comparatively negligent. However, adults are not required to wear helmets in California.

There are many different ways Paceline Law may combat an insurer’s allegations, even if you suffered a head injury or a brain injury.

California Helmet Law:

California Vehicle Code 21212 requires people under 18 years old wear a helmet when riding on a public roadway or bicycle path. Adults in California are not required to wear a helmet.

While the law is designed with the safety of children in mind, it also applies to young adults and  even those using roller skates, skateboards, and scooters. Here are a few of the key points of the law:

  • All passengers on a bicycle who are 5 years old and under must wear a helmet.
  • Bicyclists who are 18 years old and under must wear a helmet.
  • Regardless of religious beliefs and practices, anyone 18 years old or younger must wear a helmet.
  • The law applies when riding on streets, bike lanes, sidewalks, or public bike paths.
  • The fine for not wearing a helmet is $25, and it increases for subsequent offenses.

It’s also important to ensure that your helmet meets specific safety standards. To get a properly fitted helmet, follow these steps:

  • Sizing – Use a measuring tape to find the circumference of your head and match it with the indicated circumference on the helmet.
  • Positioning – A properly fitted helmet should sit level on your head, about two finger-widths above your eyebrows.
  • Side straps – Adjust the side straps and buckle the chinstrap securely below your chin to ensure a snug fit.
  • Testing – Once the helmet is securely on your head, test its stability by moving your head back and forth and side to side. The helmet should stay in place, pulling down about two fingers’ worth. Ensure it’s neither too tight nor too loose, and reposition it if needed.

Common Injuries to the Face and Head:

These include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – Serious injuries to the brain that can result in long-term complications.
  • Concussions – Temporary disturbances in brain function caused by a jolt or blow to the head.
  • Facial fractures – Broken bones in the face, which can require medical intervention and may cause disfigurement.
  • Shattered jaws – Severe fractures in the jawbone, often requiring surgical treatment and prolonged recovery.
  • Dental injuries and loss of teeth – Damage to teeth and gums, which may result in tooth loss or the need for extensive dental work.
  • Ear damage – Injuries to the ears, such as hearing loss or damage to the eardrums.
  • Eye damage – Injuries to the eyes, ranging from minor scratches to severe damage that can impair vision.
  • Facial disfigurement – Injuries that leave scars or other permanent marks or alter the appearance of the face.

It’s important to note that each accident is unique, so the specific injuries you may face can vary depending on the circumstances of your accident. Regardless of the injuries you sustain, it is crucial to take immediate steps after the accident to protect your potential injury claim. The most important step here is to get immediate medical attention to address your injuries. From there, make sure to contact our team so you can protect your legal rights.


Insurance company will often try to devalue your claim if you weren’t wearing a helmet. That said, “damages” you may be able to be compensated for could include:

  • Medical expenses and related costs
  • Physical therapy expenses
  • Lost wages due to inability to work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship or enjoyment of life
  • Funeral and burial expenses in cases of a fatal bike accident

We Focus Exclusively on Cyclists.

By riding in a paceline, cyclists can reduce wind drag by as much as 50%. Hiring a lawyer should work the same way, reducing friction and making your life easier.

If you’ve been injured on your bike and need legal help, I am here to work with you and take on the headwinds of your legal troubles. Let’s go further together.