Herald-Whig

Why doesn't Quincy have ordinance requiring children to wear bike helmets?

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 9, 2017 9:10 am

Why doesn't Quincy have an ordinance requiring children to wear bicycle helmets? My grandsons received free bicycle helmets when they were attending third grade at Madison School. I know there have been other handouts of bicycle helmets. In 2013, the City Council agreed to spend $3,125 to purchase 500 bicycle helmets as part of the Safe Routes to School program. To me, requiring a bicycle helmet for safety would be no different than requiring me to use a seat belt.

The answer basically lies with the state of Illinois. There is no statewide requirement that children wear bicycle helmets.

"Many of the city traffic codes are created from Illinois statute, and there is no requirement under Illinois statute to wear a bicycle helmet," said Doug VanderMaiden, deputy chief of operations for the Quincy Police Department. "Since there is no requirement to wear a bicycle helmet, education about the importance of helmets is essential."

The department recommends that residents check out the Illinois secretary of state's website, cyberdriveillinois.com, to find more information about bicycle safety.

Helmets are also recommended for skateboarders, in-line skaters and scooter riders.

VanderMaiden said there also is no seat belt ordinance in the city but state law requires the use of a seat belt in most cases.

"When the Quincy Police Department enforces the seat belt laws, we are following the rules set by the state of Illinois," he said.

You are also correct that in 2013, the Quincy City Council agreed to buy 500 youth bicycle helmets for $3,125 with Illinois Safe Routes to School money. The program provides funding to improve infrastructure and noninfrastructure safety.

How can my question be answered? Just ask. We'll quiz community leaders, business officials, historians, educators -- whoever can tell us what you want to know. Submit questions to answers@whig.com or mail them to Answers, The Herald-Whig, P.O. Box 909, Quincy, IL 62306. Provide a name and phone number so we can respond or clarify information. Questions dealing with personal or legal disputes will not be accepted.