Bicycle Helmet Laws in America by States 2020

by | Last Updated:
YesCycling is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.. Learn more

There are requirements to wear bicycle helmets in the United States and they vary by jurisdiction and by age of the cyclist.

I found out that 21 states plus the District of Columbia have a statewide mandatory requirement for helmet laws for children. 29 US states have no statewide law, and 13 of these states have no such laws in any lower-lever jurisdiction either.

You should know that all bicycle helmet laws are implemented to protect you and not to annoy you.

Many states, understanding the benefits, began to adopt laws on wearing helmets for bicycles in 1987. In most states, the law is limited to children under 18, but there are many states starting to implement the law now.

As we the cyclists know very well the helmet is the number one safety accessory we buy and also we know the statistic which says that the helmet reduces the fatalities of people in a bicycle accident by about 15%. Also, around 75% of fatal or serious cyclist accidents happen in urban areas.

It’s very important to understand the situation if you get into an accident without wearing a helmet in a state when you are obliged to wear one.

For example, if you are in a city where the law requires cyclists to wear a helmet, and you end up getting a head injury after a collision with a vehicle, you are probably going to have a more difficult time getting any compensation from the driver.

That’s because, since there is a law requiring you to wear a helmet, your violation of that law automatically makes you negligent in connection with the accident.

In my personal opinion, you should wear a bicycle helmet all the time when you are on a bike. No matter if you ride your bike to work only, lurking around the college campus, or trying to lose weight with it if you are a big guy.

This is especially true for kids and teenagers who are even more vulnerable to injuries.

If you ride an electric commuter bicycle the helmets are even more important because of the higher speed you will achieve.

Let’s start with the full table of the states in which the helmet is obligatory:

State lawUnder 161995
MontevalloAll ages1993
HomewoodAll ages1994
AnchorageUnder 162005
BethelUnder 182004
JuneauUnder 182006
KenaiUnder 162004
SitkaUnder 182005
FlagstaffUnder 182010
Pima CountyUnder 181995
Sierra VistaUnder 181995
TucsonUnder 181993
YumaUnder 181997
State LawPassengers
under 5
State LawRiders
under 18
Bidwell Park, Chico
for off road in
middle&upper park
All ages1991
State LawUnder 161993/1997
City of Seymour
(Repealed 1998)
All ages1998
State LawUnder 18 *1996
District of Columbia
District LawUnder 16 *36617
State LawUnder 16 **1997
State LawUnder 161993
State LawUnder 162001
BarringtonUnder 171997
Chicago (messengers)All ages
CiceroUnder 161997
InvernessUnder 161999
(Incentives only)
SkokieUnder 162002
LawrenceUnder 16 *2004
Louisville (Parks)Under 18 *2002
Louisville Extreme ParkAll ages2002
State LawUnder 122002
State LawUnder 161999
State LawUnder 16 *1995
Allegany CountyUnder 161992
Howard CountyUnder 161990
Montgomery CountyUnder 181991
SykesvilleAll ages1995
State LawPassengers
under 5
State LawRiders
under 17 *
AdrianUnder 151998
E. Grand RapidsUnder 181995
Farmington HillsUnder 16 *1999
Kensington MetroparkAll ages1998
HernandoUnder 17 *2010
JacksonAll ages?2013
StarkvilleAll ages *2010
St Louis County1 to 16 *Unincorp.
areas 2002
St Louis County municipalities of:- - -
BallwinUnder 172006
Bel-RidgeAll ages2002
Bella VillaUnder 172005
Bellefontaine NeighborsUnder 172005
BerkeleyAll ages2000
Black JackAll ages2008
Calverton ParkAll ages2001
ChesterfieldUnder 172008
ClaytonUnder 172005
Creve CoeurAll ages2000
EllisvilleUnder 172005
FlorissantUnder 172003
GlendaleAll ages2008
Grantwood VillageAll ages2003
Hanley HillsUnder 172007
HazelwoodUnder 172007
Moline AcresUnder 172008
NormandyUnder 172004
NorthwoodsUnder 172003
Norwood CourtUnder 172004
OlivetteUnder 17*2005
OverlandUnder 172005
PagedaleAll ages2002
RiverviewUnder 172008
Rock HillUnder 172003
St. JohnUnder 172001
Sycamore HillsAll ages2008
Town & CountryAll ages2002
Velda CityAll ages2006
Velda Village HillsAll ages2005
Vinita TerraceUnder 212001
Webster GrovesUnder 172004
Wilber ParkUnder 172005
WildwoodUnder 172005
St Louis Co ParksUnder 172001
- - -- - -- - -
Municipalities in other counties
ColumbiaUnder 16 *2003
St CharlesUnder 162006
BillingsUnder 162001
Indian Reservation
Under 172001
Indian Colony
Under 172002
New Hampshire
State LawUnder 162006
New Jersey
State LawUnder 17 *33725
New Mexico
State LawUnder 18 *2007
Los Alamos CountyUnder 181995
New York
State LawPassengers
under 5
State LawRiders
under 14*
EastchesterUnder 19 *2004
Erie County ParksAll ages1993
GreenburghAll ages1994
GuilderlandUnder 141992
Onondaga County-SyracuseUnder 182001
Rockland CountyAll ages1992
Suffolk County14 to 172000
North Carolina
State LawUnder 162001
Black MountainAll ages1996
BooneAll ages1995
Carolina BeachUnder 161994
CarrboroUnder 161997
CaryUnder 162001
Chapel HillUnder 161992
CharlotteUnder 16 *2002
CorneliusUnder 16 *2001
GreenvilleUnder 161998
MatthewsUnder 162001
AkronUnder 162001
BeachwoodUnder 161990
BexleyUnder 162010
Blue AshUnder 162003
BrecksvilleUnder 18 *1998
BrooklynUnder 142001
CentervilleUnder 181999
CincinnatiUnder 16 *2004
ColumbusAges 1-17 *2009
DaytonUnder 132004
East ClevelandUnder 18 *2004
EnonUnder 16 *2004
EuclidUnder 142001
GlendaleUnder 19 *2000
KetteringUnder 16 *2004
LakewoodUnder 181997
MadeiraUnder 17 *2002
MariettaUnder 16 *2004
Orange VillageAges 6 to 151992
Pepper PikeUnder 182000
Shaker HeightsAll ages
over 5 inc.
South EuclidUnder 142000
StrongsvilleUnder 121993
WaynesvilleUnder 17 *2000
NormanUnder 182003
Oklahoma City
(city property)
All ages1999
State LawUnder 16 *1994
State LawRiders under 121995
Rhode Island
State LawUnder 16 *1996/
State LawUnder 161994/2000
ClarksvilleUnder 161993
ArlingtonUnder 181997
AustinUnder 181996/97
BedfordUnder 161996
BenbrookUnder 171996
CoppellUnder 151997
DallasUnder 181996/2014
Fort WorthUnder 181996
HoustonUnder 181995
SouthlakeUnder 151999
Albemarle CountyUnder 15
AlexandriaUnder 151994
Amherst CountyUnder 151993
Arlington CountyUnder 151993
BlacksburgUnder 151994
Clarke CountyUnder 15
Fairfax CountyUnder 151993
Fairfax CityUnder 152016
Falls ChurchUnder 151993
Floyd CountyUnder 15
Front RoyalUnder 151996
HamptonUnder 151999
HarrisonburgUnder 15
James City CountyUnder 151999
LurayUnder 15
ManassasUnder 151995
Manassas ParkUnder 151997
Newport NewsUnder 151997
NorfolkUnder 152001
Orange CountyUnder 15
PetersburgUnder 152000
Prince William Co.Under 151995
RadfordUnder 152000
RoanokeUnder 152000
SalemUnder 152000
Stafford CountyUnder 15
ViennaUnder 15
Virginia BeachUnder 151995
WilliamsburgUnder 152001
WiseUnder 15
York CountyUnder 151994
Washington State
AberdeenAll ages2001
AuburnAll ages2005
Bainbridge IslandAll ages2001
BellevueAll ages2002
BremertonAll ages2000
Des MoinesAll ages1993
DuPontAll ages
DuvallAll ages1993
EatonvilleAll ages1996
EnumclawAll ages1993
FircrestAll ages1995
Gig HarborAll ages1996
Hunts PointAll ages1993
Island County
All ages1997
KentAll ages1999
King CountyAll ages1993
LakewoodAll ages1996
MiltonAll ages *1997
OrtingUnder 171997
Pierce CountyAll ages1994
Port AngelesAll ages1994
Port OrchardAll ages2004
PoulsboUnder 181995
PuyallupAll ages1994
RentonAll ages1999
SeatacAll ages over 1 yr1999
SeattleAll ages2003
All ages2002
Snohomish skate park onlyAll ages2002
SnoqualmieAll ages1996
SpokaneAll ages *2004
SteilacoomAll ages1995
TacomaAll ages *1994
University PlaceAll ages1996
VancouverAll ages2008
West Virginia
State LawUnder 151996
ClarksburgUnder 181993
MorgantownAll ages1993
South CharlestonUnder 181994
St. AlbansUnder 181995
Port WashingtonUnder 171997

When we talk about rules, you should know that wearing headphones while cycling is also prohibited in some states – California, Delaware and Maryland.

1 thought on “Bicycle Helmet Laws in America by States 2020”

  1. If is would choose to where a helmet, that should be my choice, is have ridden bicycles since i was four,I am 65, I am sorry some of you maybe shouldn’t ride if you are that scared, but leave the rest of us alone, how about walking, you might slip, especially on steps, what if you fell, skate boards, sleaping in bed, you might just roll off and hit your head, just stop it, if you want it for children fine, leave the rest of us alone, PLEASE,


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.