Council debates Jackson bike helmet law - - Jackson, MS

Council debates Jackson bike helmet law

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With input from the public the Jackson City Council debated a mandatory bike helmet law for all riders.  After some discussion council president Tony Yarber decided to hold off on a vote and the council will continue to examine the proposed law in committee.

The law which is being proposed by councilman Chokwe Lumumba would require all persons to wear protective helmets when riding a bicycle.

Advocates for both sides of the argument addressed the council in Tuesday morning's meeting in the council chambers at City Hall.  Both sides are at odds on the impact a mandatory helmet law would have on encouraging or discouraging children to ride bikes.

Melody Moody, who opposes the mandatory helmet law said that the law would deter people from riding.

"If you force or pressure people to wear helmets you actually discourage them from riding bicycles which means less exercise, Moody said.

Lee Jenkins, with the Brain Injury Association of Mississippi said the law would actually endorse a healthy lifestyle.

"It would be something that would promote physical activity for the kids in addition to being safe," Jenkins said. 

Jenkins main objective in supporting the law is promoting the protection of bike riders by curbing their chances of brain damage if they get into a bike crash.

"It leaves you in a devastated position in which you never really recover, if you don't get killed," Jenkins said.

The law mirrors similar helmet laws in Ridgeland and Tupelo.  Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell proposed an amendment which would allow children in residential cul de sacs and dead ends to not have to wear a helmet.

That amendment plus access to helmets for children who can not afford them will be part of the committee discussion.

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