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LITTLE ROCK (KTHV) - Wearing a helmet while you're biking may no longer be an option for some riders if a proposed bill gets approved this session at the Capital. If House Bill 1997 passes, by spring break next year, all kids under 14 would have to wear a helmet.

"Today is a good day in North Little Rock on the trail to have a nice bike ride," DeAngelo Smith said, as he enjoyed a little time in the park with his children.

But, before the fun even started, this father of four made sure everyone had a helmet.
"Always, definitely. At their age, we as parents should make that decision for them to be safe by being out around traffic," Smith said.

The decision is left to parents now, but it could soon be made by Arkansas lawmakers under House Bill 1997 or the Child Bicycle Safety Act. It would require kids under 14 years old to wear helmets when riding on public roads and bike paths.

"The helmet thing with the 14 and under--I'm all for it," Smith said.

"I think it's a good idea. I think the kids need the protection, especially public streets," rider Chuck Finney said. He believes that protection works. "I've taken some licks out here playing as an old man. It saved me a couple of times."

The bill would also require bike rental stores to provide helmets to kids under 14. Store owners, like David Fike with Fike's Bikes in North Little Rock, said that's not a problem.

"I do that already. I already have helmets available, and again, it's included," said Fike, who supports the bill. He said he does because when he spots kids riding by his store with their own bikes, he seldom sees them wearing a helmet.

As for the kids THV 11 talked to, the bill seems kid-approved.

"It feels very comfortable. I just want to wear it all night," Denyla Smith said.

THV 11 News didn't hear any opposition to this bill while out along the River Trail Thursday.

As for penalties, there really isn't anything stiff here. The bill said a violation could cost you about $2. It appears the goal here is simply to keep our younger kids safe while riding.

The Arkansas House website reported this bill is headed to the House Committee on Public Transportation for discussion. THV 11 tried to reach the bill's sponsor for comment on Wednesday, but Representative David Kizzia from Malvern did not return our calls.

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