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Bicycle Helmet Laws by States ( May 2022 )

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A women puts a helmet on a guy.

Hey there cyclists! As we roll into the warm weather months, many of us are dusting off our bicycles and getting back into cycling to work or around town. As we all know, cycling can be a great way to get some exercise and save on transportation costs, but it’s essential to stay safe on the road.

One question that often comes up is whether or not you need to wear a bicycle helmet.
In this blog post, we’ll look at bicycle helmet laws by state. We’ll also discuss some of the pros and cons of wearing a helmet while cycling, so you can decide whether or not to strap one on.

Here is a list of states with bicycle helmet laws and their requirements:

JurisdictionAgesEffective  
Alabama
State lawUnder 161995
MontevalloAll ages1993
HomewoodAll ages1994
Alaska
AnchorageUnder 162005
BethelUnder 182004
JuneauUnder 182006
KenaiUnder 162004
SitkaUnder 182005
Arizona
FlagstaffUnder 182010
Pima CountyUnder 181995
Sierra VistaUnder 181995
TucsonUnder 181993
YumaUnder 181997
California
State LawPassengers
under 5
1987
State LawRiders
under 18
1994
Bidwell Park, Chico
for off road in
middle&upper park
All ages1991
Connecticut
State LawUnder 161993/1997
City of Seymour
(Repealed 1998)
All ages1998
Delaware
State LawUnder 18 *1996
District of Columbia
District LawUnder 16 *36617
Florida
State LawUnder 16 **1997
Georgia
State LawUnder 161993
Hawaii
State LawUnder 162001
Illinois
BarringtonUnder 171997
Chicago (messengers)All ages
CiceroUnder 161997
InvernessUnder 161999
Libertyville
(Incentives only)
1997
SkokieUnder 162002
Kansas
LawrenceUnder 16 *2004
Kentucky
Louisville (Parks)Under 18 *2002
Louisville Extreme ParkAll ages2002
Louisiana
State LawUnder 122002
Maine
State LawUnder 161999
Maryland
State LawUnder 16 *1995
Allegany CountyUnder 161992
Howard CountyUnder 161990
Montgomery CountyUnder 181991
SykesvilleAll ages1995
Massachusetts
State LawPassengers
under 5
1990
State LawRiders
under 17 *
1994/2004
Michigan
AdrianUnder 151998
E. Grand RapidsUnder 181995
Farmington HillsUnder 16 *1999
Kensington MetroparkAll ages1998
Mississippi
HernandoUnder 17 *2010
JacksonAll ages?2013
Ridgeland???2010
StarkvilleAll ages *2010
Missouri
St Louis County1 to 16 *Unincorp.
areas 2002
Countywide
2008
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
Hillside
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
Wellston
Wilber ParkUnder 172005
WildwoodUnder 172005
St Louis Co ParksUnder 172001
- - -- - -- - -
Municipalities in other counties
ColumbiaUnder 16 *2003
St CharlesUnder 162006
Montana
BillingsUnder 162001
Nevada
Duckwater
Indian Reservation
Under 172001
Reno/Sparks
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
1989
State LawRiders
under 14*
1994/2004
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
Ohio
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.
passengers
1997
South EuclidUnder 142000
StrongsvilleUnder 121993
WaynesvilleUnder 17 *2000
Oklahoma
NormanUnder 182003
Oklahoma City
(city property)
All ages1999
Oregon
State LawUnder 16 *1994
Pennsylvania
State LawRiders under 121995
Rhode Island
State LawUnder 16 *1996/
1998/
2007
Tennessee
State LawUnder 161994/2000
ClarksvilleUnder 161993
Texas
ArlingtonUnder 181997
AustinUnder 181996/97
BedfordUnder 161996
BenbrookUnder 171996
CoppellUnder 151997
DallasUnder 181996/2014
Fort WorthUnder 181996
HoustonUnder 181995
SouthlakeUnder 151999
Virginia
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
(Recommendation
only.)
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
Snohomish
repealed
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
Wisconsin
Port WashingtonUnder 171997

Other factors to consider

Around 75% of fatal or serious cyclist accidents happen in urban areas. It’s essential 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.

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 when you are on a bike. Whether you ride your bike to work only, lurk around the college campus, or try 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 bike, the helmets are even more critical because of the higher speed you will achieve.

Read more: 9 Best Electric Bikes for Heavy Riders in 2021

The bicycle helmet laws are a work in progress because they continue to change every year. The following are the current state-by-state bicycle helmet laws for cyclists of all ages as of 2022.

Which countries have mandatory bicycle helmet laws?

The obligatory use of helmets has often been discussed and disputed worldwide. Only a few countries require and enforce universal helmets for cyclists: Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand.

In France, only children are required to wear bike helmets all the time. It’s important to note that where cycling is safest and very popular, typically has high cycling rates but low helmet wearing.

In what year were helmets made mandatory for pro cyclists?

The UCI ( Union Cycliste Internationale ) made wearing helmets in professional races compulsory in 2003 after the death of Andrei Kivilev at Paris–Nice.

Can you get a ticket for not wearing a helmet on a bicycle?

Depending on the state or municipality, there may be laws requiring cyclists to wear helmets. In some cases, not wearing a helmet may result in a fine. In others, it may only be enforced if the cyclist is stopped for another infraction.

Read more: 12 Best Bikes for Heavy Riders 2022 [ Weight Capacity List ]

Is there a law that you have to wear a bike helmet?

There is no federal law to wear a bike helmet, but many states do have laws requiring riders to wear a helmet. Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have statewide bicycle helmet laws for younger cyclists.

What year did bike helmets become law?

In 1986, the first state law was proposed to reduce injuries and deaths among bike riders. This idea became popular later on as more states started adopting bicycle helmet safety measures in 1987. In fact, it wasn’t until two years before when California passed this very same bill that made them one of few early adopters of these regulations- along with Virginia (1986) and Michigan(1987).

Who is required to wear a bicycle helmet in Florida?

The law states that all bicycle riders, including passengers under 16 years old, must wear a helmet. The safety standards for these helmets are rigorous and require them to be fastened securely upon your head with straps.

Who is required to wear a bicycle helmet in California?

In California, if you are aged 18 or under and operating a bicycle in any way. Children aged five and under who are passengers on bikes with adult riders must also follow these safety rules for protection.

Can you get a ticket for riding a bike without a helmet in California?

Yes, you can get a ticket for riding a bike without a helmet in California. The fine for violating the state’s bicycle helmet laws is $25.

Recommended Reads on Bicycle Safety

Can You Get a DUI While Riding a Bicycle – Learn what will happen if you get caught drunk cycling.

How Can You Prevent Injury While Cycling – Tips & tricks on how to prevent the most common cycling injuries

Is Riding a Bike Safer Than Driving? – Learn some new statistics about cycling and driving.

How Does a Bike Helmet Work? – Everything you need to know about the design and manufacturing of bike helmets. Learn more about the usage of second-hand helmets.

Why The Dutch Don’t Wear Bicycle Helmets – We found four reasons why the Dutch don’t wear bike helmets in the Netherlands. Learn all the facts about this topic.

About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.

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