St. Charles passes helmet ordinance for kids

According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article:
It became illegal last week in St. Charles for children 15 and younger to ride a bicycle without a helmet, but city resident Andrea Williams had been telling her three daughters to don the headgear before that.

"It keeps them safe, just in case," said a helmeted Williams, 30, during a recent ride along the Katy Trail next to South Main Street. "I have a brother that's a paramedic, and he's picked up quite a few people with injuries with no helmets."

Williams supports the new law, which took effect Wednesday and authorizes fines of as much as $50 for parents of children caught riding without helmets.

Police have yet to announce how it will be enforced, but Chief Tim Swope says compliance through education likely will be the main goal. In many cases, he said, he expects that officers who encounter kids without helmets will simply contact parents to tell them about the new law.

The measure, approved by the City Council this month, is believed to be the first of its kind in St. Charles County.

But it's not unique. At least 26 municipalities in St. Louis County have such laws. So does St. Louis County for its unincorporated areas. Nationally, 20 states have statewide helmet requirements, according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, based in Arlington, Va.