I met with a parent whose 13-year-old son was cited for not wearing a helmet and failing to stop at a stop sign. Additionally, he also was involved in a collision with a vehicle. The scenario is that the 13 year old was riding his bike with his friend and the local police agency concluded that it was the minor’s failure to stop at a 4-way intersection that was the primary cause of the collision.
The father called me to discuss if he should pay the fine or fight the ticket and if there will be negative repercussions in the future to his son (i.e. getting his driver’s license). Being a parent and frankly, I was curious to find out if the DMV would view this moving violation as a cause for future action against him, we scheduled him for an appointment to discuss the case.
The father was very apologetic since he understood this was not the “crime of the century” but I told him, all cases to the individual are personal and serious. The two Vehicle Code VC violations are 22450(a) failure to stop for a posted stop and 21212(a) bicyclist under 18 years of age not wearing a helmet.
VC 22450(a): the driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop at a limit line, if marked, otherwise before entering a crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. If there is no limit line or crosswalk, the driver shall stop at the entrance to the intersecting roadway.
VC 21212(a): a person under 18 years of age shall not operate a bicycle, a non-motorized scooter, or a skateboard, nor shall they wear in-line or roller skates, nor ride upon a bicycle, a non-motorized scooter, or a skateboard as a passenger, upon a street, bikeway or any other public bicycle path or trail unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet.
VC 22450 can be filed as a misdemeanor but VC 21212 is an infraction punishable by fine. As for failing to stop, violation point assessment can be imposed by the DMV. Keep in mind that the driving privileges for a minor, under 18 years of age, may receive a 30-day restriction for 2 points in 12 months, or be suspended for 3 points in 12 months. (VC 12814.6)
As for the mandatory helmet rule, parents are liable if your child does not wear a helmet. VC 21212 (e): The parent or legal guardian having custody of a minor shall be liable with the minor. More officers are citing children and their parents when there is a violation, because of the frequency and continued occurrence of preventable injury between young bicycle riders and motorists.
In fact, this case did involve a collision. Luckily, both the child and the driver did not sustain any serious injuries after the minor collided into the car. The legal and factual issue in this case is not the lack of wearing of a helmet. I told the father, this cannot be contested but the issue of the child’s failure to stop is the problem I am having. Who saw that the child did not stop and that the driver of the car was not the one responsible for the collision? Did the driver of the car fail to see two minors on the bikes and failed to stop at his respective stop sign or intersection?
If cases in traffic court are set for trial, the police agency is required to have the officer present and witnesses present to prove their case. “Fortunately” both violations are infractions so the minor does not have to deal with a juvenile case but a traffic court case. The decision to set this to trial or pay the fines at this time is still being decided by the parents. But I agree with their vigilance in insuring that a record of wrongdoing for their son does not impair him in the near future.
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