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It’s Not About Wearing a Helmet—The HER Helmet Thursdays Project

Art for the 10th anniversary poster below was provided courtesy of HER Helmet Thursdays participant Monterey Museum of Art.
  • We personally wear a bicycle helmet about 99% of the time—partly because we believe it reduces our risk of injury, and partly to show solidarity with minors, required by CA law to wear a helmet. With sadness, we remember the death of local 17-year-old Kyle Beardshear. Other locals, including Nic Coury, have stated that a helmet saved their life; see “Natividad Medical Center employees to youth: “Bike! It’s health-building and fun! And first, clip this on…”
  • We encourage people under 18 to wear helmets. DMV VC Section 21212 states that minors are required to wear helmets when biking (and also when skateboarding, skating, or on a nonmotorized scooter). Also be aware that some properties, organizations, or events may require that adults wear helmets too; see FAQs: Are bicycle helmets required in Cali? for examples.
  • We oppose—for a variety of reasons—mandatory helmet laws for adults.

    For example, we opposed a proposed California law, SB 192, since withdrawn. For related info from the California Bicycle Coalition, scroll down their archived page including SB192 Quick FactsRead more from Rich Masoner of Cyclelicious here, including that “California 25th District Senator Carol Liu amended her extremely controversial mandatory helmet law, SB-192, to only study the effectiveness of helmets, and removed the mandatory helmet use for adults language in its entirety. The requirement for high visibility apparel has also been removed.” 

  • Surprised? Ah! Maybe you thought The HER Helmet Thursdays Project was to promote helmet use. Nope. Scroll down to “It’s not about wearing a helmet.”
  • What about bike advocates who oppose helmets? One of the most outspoken is featured in’s post “Danish speaker opposes bicycle helmets.” Read that post, watch the Danish speaker’s video, and decide for yourself.
  • What about another aspect of the (since withdrawn) CA Senate Bill 192, “require a person engaged in these activities in the darkness to wear retroreflective high-visibility safety apparel”? See what we have to say about high-visibility apparel and accessories, and biking in the dark.
  • We urge education of people who drive, bike, walk, skate, scoot, or otherwise get about.

What makes biking safer?

  • Infrastructure improvements!
  • Responsible behavior of people who drive, bike, walk, skate, scoot, or otherwise get about.
  • Effective laws.
  • Law enforcement.
  • And not least of all, simply an increase in the numbers of people who bike makes communities safer for biking too!

Learn more about all those contributing factors on the Bicycling Monterey website, or phone Bicycling Monterey with your questions. You might start with “Bicycle Riding Skills, Bike Safety, and CA Bicycle Laws–for Children, Teens, and Adults” and “Bicycle advocacy: What you can do” and “Keeping the local bike scene cool: It’s a multi-pronged effort.

Bicycling Monterey’s posters page has bike law summaries like these, plus mini fliers and more to help get the word out.
If you feel helmets are important, instead of supporting a law mandating adults to wear helmets, consider encouraging them. Here’s one way.

The HER Helmet Thursdays Project

Tell them about the 10-50% discounts for people who bike, available from participating HER Helmet Thursdays businesses and organizations. The HER Helmet Thursdays Project was created and launched in Monterey County in November 2009 as a public service. Hundreds of businesses and organizations participate, as of Nov 2018, in 18 Monterey County communities; download the list: 9th Anniversary Edition – HER Helmet Thursdays Guide – Participants as of 23 November 2018 (For the most current list anytime, go to the  Listings/Map/How  to Get the Discounts, and FAQs page.)

Live in another area? Catch the vision!

The man at the top of this post—being over age 18—wasn’t required by current California law to wear a helmet. He chose to have one. The place he was visiting, Monterey Museum of Art, would reward him with a discount just because he biked there. No need for a plastic card, coupon, punch card, etc.—his bike helmet serves as evidence.

Scroll down for “It’s Not About Wearing a Helmet: The HER Helmet Thursdays Project.

Poster below is from the 5th anniversary. For 9th anniversary list of participants, download it here: 9th Anniversary Edition – HER Helmet Thursdays Guide – Participants as of 23 November 2018

* * * * *

Below, read Bicycling Monterey’s post first published in 2010…

It’s Not About Wearing a Helmet:

The HER Helmet Thursdays Project

Why the helmet in HER Helmet Thursdays?

As told in a 2-minute introduction broadcast on local public radio in April 2010,What’s up with the bike helmet buzz,” the HER Helmet Thursdays Project is not a bike safety project to get people to wear helmets! 

HER Helmet Thursdays participants—Hotels, Educational and entertainment venues, Restaurants, and more help HER / Mother Earth by encouraging people to bike.

Because helmets are a common bike accessory for California youth and many others, a helmet was chosen to serve as the evidence of bicycling. It avoids any need for a plastic card, punch card, coupon, etc.

  • And a helmet as evidence is only necessary for the “E” (educational and entertainment) and “R”(restaurants and related spots). 
  • “H”/hotels/lodging have different guidelines; see “How to get a lodging discount.”

Wearing a helmet is entirely up to you (unless you’re under 18 and are concerned about the risk of a California ticket—see DMV VC Section 21212). To get the HER Helmet Thursdays discount, at those E and R spots, you simply bike or bike-and-ride there, then walk in with helmet in hand as evidence. (Or if you’re biking to an elegant place and will be leaving your helmet with a valet parking or hat-check room attendant, ask them to jot “bike” or “helmet” on the claim check—so you can show that to the person who’ll prepare your tab.)

Please refer to HER Helmet Thursdays FAQs. 

For additional info, including videos, see Quick Links to the HER Helmet Thursdays project. To learn how HER Helmet Thursdays began, read Wheel the Earth” in the Earth Day 2010 issue of the Monterey County Weekly.

Thanks to a helpful comment from  Nipper, a U.K. reader of this site, and himself a person who bikes. Nipper’s comment prompted Bicycling Monterey to further clarify what the helmet in HER Helmet Thursdays is all about!  Curious? See that helmet chat by scrolling to the end of Introducing HER Helmet Thursdays, then reading the comments from and to Nipper.

Short link to this post:

“It’s Not About Wearing a Helmet: The HER Helmet Thursdays Project” was previously published January 13, 2010, with subsequent updates.

This post was published on 5 April 2018. One or more changes last made to this post on 4 February 2020.

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