FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — TJ Floyd and his family watched in the back of the House chamber as the votes were cast on House Bill 52, according to a release from the Legislative Research Commission.
LRC says it is not the first time the Floyds had been to the State Capitol asking for passage of the legislation, which would require children under age 12 to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. They say the Oldham County family had worked for years on the requirement that they believe may have prevented a traumatic brain injury then seven-year-old TJ sustained when he fell off his bicycle in 2010.
As the votes for HB 52—known as “TJ’s Bill”—continued to roll in on the House floor, bill sponsor Rep. Regina Huff, R-Williamsburg, recognized the Floyds amid booming applause. Huff had worked with TJ’s mother Heather Floyd on both HB 52 and nearly identical legislation filed as HB 122 in 2017.
“Many of you have met TJ Floyd,” says Huff. “At seven years old, his independence for the rest of his life was taken.” She says traumatic brain injuries like the one TJ sustained could be prevented with a helmet requirement, adding that helmets are more than 84-percent effective at preventing brain injuries.
HB 52 would not fine someone if a child doesn’t wear a helmet. The bill was amended by the House to clarify that violations would not be subject to fines if the bill become law.
The Kentucky House has considered passing a bicycle helmet law for children under age 12 for at least three years, with 2017 HB 122 passing the House by a vote of 90-6. One lawmaker voting in favor of last year’s bill was Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Louisville. He also voted for HB 52 today.
“I have three grandchildren under the age of 12, and we always make them wear helmets” when cycling, Miller said. “It’s so easy to have a tragedy.”
After floor applause for the Floyds faded, a 77-5 vote in favor of HB 52 was in the books. The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
Media release and picture from the Learning Research Commission.