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Friday, April 28, 2000

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Two-and-a-half-year-old Kai Sobe of Hawaii Kai
wears a helmet while riding his bike at Ala Moana
Beach Park yesterday afternoon. He's already in
compliance with a proposed helmet law that will
be voted on by the full House and Senate.

Parents give helmet
law mixed reviews

By Harold Morse


Parents with preteens on wheels at Ala Moana Park say legislation requiring helmets for riders 16 and under might be OK.

Legislature 2000 "I think it's a real good thing," said Jay Sobe of Hawaii Kai, with helmeted 2 1/2-year-old son, Kai, on his small Schwinn Tiger bike with training wheels.

"It's real good because, you know, the head isn't very forgiving on the concrete," said Sobe, 40, a safety and security officer. "You definitely need some protection to take care of your noggin."

He bought Kai's bike and helmet at Eki Cyclery on Dillingham, he said. "It's real important," he said of the helmet. "You gotta protect your brain."

A House-Senate conference committee yesterday morning passed a bill that requires any child below the age of 16 must wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.

A fine of $25 would be imposed on the parent or legal guardian for a violation.

At Magic Island, Waikiki residents Peter and Janet Kawabata-Alconcel chaperoned their bike-riding kids, Alan, 8, and Keanu, 5.

They thought requiring helmets would be OK. "I guess so," Janet, 33, a hotel worker, said. "It's good for their safety."

She thought, though, riding in a park without a helmet should be permissible, while riding on a street might call for helmets.

She didn't like the idea of tickets and fines for kid riders without helmets, if it comes to that.

"I don't think that's right," she said. Peter, 41, said if the kids get tickets and fines for riding without helmets, it could be costly.

He would have to foot the bill for such infractions, he said.

"We'll have to cut back on their allowances," he added good-naturedly.

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