Helmet laws in the United States are bizarre, scattered, and difficult to keep up with.
The main point of contention is that many states do not bother enacting bike helmet laws at all and instead leave it up to municipalities who have varying standards for what a helmet should be like. This leads to an inconsistent patchwork of helmets which can vary wildly depending on where you ride
There are no overarching federal laws around bike helmets and very little commonality from state to state, save for the fact that even in states where they’re mandated, people without them can’t use lack of one as a reason not to pay damages or be convicted.
A lot of states don’t have helmet laws, and that’s OK. Cities, counties, or towns in a ‘no’ state can enact their own bike helmet law if they please since the state is more than happy to let them do so.
It’s not all the same across America. Some states have no helmet laws, but even if you are a child under 15 in Anchorage Alaska, helmets must be worn while riding your bike on any public space or highway (or else there is a $25 fine).
Bike Helmet Use By State:
For those of us who love bicycles, it can be difficult to find the time for our favorite pastime. In some areas in which we live, biking without a helmet is illegal or something that could mean big fines and even jail time! With so many laws out there on what you need while riding bikes (or anything else!), how do you know where it’s safe? Thankfully, most states will follow local law when it comes to helmets – if your location requires one while driving, then they’ll likely require them during bike rides too.
The state of California requires operators and passengers who are under 18 to wear a helmet while on or attached to bikes. But not wearing one is not considered contributory negligence in civil actions, so failing to wear one doesn’t hold up in court either.
Delaware, District of Columbia, and Florida all require riders under 18 years old to wear a helmet while riding. Not wearing one is not considered contributory negligence in the event that they are injured without it on, and failing to wear one isn’t admissible as evidence during civil action.
Georgia Yes, all riders under the age of 16 must wear a helmet. But not wearing one is not considered contributory negligence when deciding on fault or liability.
Hawaii Operators and passengers under 18 are required to wear helmets in Hawaii; however, this rule cannot be used as evidence for determining fault or liability if there’s an accident- which means it has no bearing on whether you can sue someone after being involved in a bicycle crash without a helmet!
Idaho No law states that cyclists should have to carry their own personal protective equipment (PPE), but they’re still encouraged by bike advocates because protection from head injuries could save lives! What do other states say about cycling safety? Read below:
Have you been to Louisiana, where children under 12 must wear a helmet? However, failing to do so is not considered contributory negligence, and this failure isn’t admissible in civil actions. In Maine, riders over 16 years old are required by law to also use helmets while riding their bike – however, it’s clear that there are some differences in the age bracket for mandatory headgear usage!
Interested yet?! Riding your bicycle without a helmet can be dangerous regardless of age or location as these two US states demonstrate: Louisiana requires kids younger than 12 with bikes need one; meanwhile in Maine, those aged between 14-16 have an option, but adults who ride bicycles don’t require such protection unless they’re operating professionally.
If you’re under 16 in Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, or Minnesota, then wear a helmet! Other states include Mississippi and Missouri. This doesn’t apply to Montana and Nebraska though. There are no restrictions for Nevada drivers since helmets aren’t required there at all.
You must wear a helmet in New Hampshire, but not wearing one is considered contributory negligence and failing to use one cannot reduce damages awarded. In New Jersey, it’s safer for riders under 17 if they wear helmets because you can’t be found at fault due to their lack of protection as much as other drivers will get off the hook from hurting them without having consequences like paying out money or going on probation. Riders aged 18-17 who live in New Mexico are required by law to have protective headgear while riding motorized vehicles such that when accidents happen there won’t be any apportioning of financial penalties unless your injuries were caused entirely by neglectful behavior (i.e., forgetting about safety) even though these protections would otherwise help
In North Carolina, all riders under the age of 16 must wear a helmet. But not wearing one is not considered contributory negligence and failing to wear one isn’t admissible in civil action. In Oklahoma, there are no laws about helmets for bicycle or motorcycle passengers – but this doesn’t mean they’re safe! Ohio requires children under 18 years old who ride bicycles while on state highways without an accompanying adult be properly equipped with either (1) A protective headgear that meets minimum safety standards established by law; OR (2) Protective eye gear including glasses designed specifically for use as protection against injury from flying objects such as rocks or debris due to collision hazards encountered when operating said vehicle AND reflectors/reflective material produced according
Pennsylvania: Yes, all riders under the age of 12 must wear a helmet. But not wearing one is not considered contributory negligence and failing to wear one isn’t admissible in civil action.
Rhode Island: Yes, all riders under the age of 15 must wear a helmet. But not wearing one is not considered contributory negligence and failing to wear on
Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington are all states that do not require a helmet for riders under the age of 14. However, these states have various exemptions in place, such as allowing governing bodies to require helmets or stating their use is not contributory negligence depending on the state’s laws. Where does Virginia fall?
Virginia requires those who are over 14 years old wear a helmet when riding but it doesn’t apply if they don’t comply with this law due to other legislation where failing to wear one isn’t admissible evidence in civil cases- so you can still be sued even though you didn’t follow safety guidelines! In West Virginia people between ages 15 – 17 need to wear them while Wyoming has no requirement at all
Prior to the enactment of mandatory helmet laws, adults who had reached a certain age were never required by law to wear helmets. However, some states have enacted these ordinances in order that children may enjoy this privilege as well and hope it will cut down on injuries caused while riding bikes.
Adult Cyclists and Helmets
Riding a bike on the street is more dangerous than driving, and it will get you into trouble if you’re an adult. What’s even worse? You can’t protect yourself from any physical harm that could happen while riding your bike! However, there are ways to prevent this from happening in the first place – like wearing helmets or avoiding certain routes at night- but cycling still carries risks for adults who choose not to take them.
Cyclists are more likely to die in 2016 if they were not wearing a helmet. 51% of cyclist deaths (424) were because riders weren’t wearing helmets, and 16% died while wearing one. However, these numbers have decreased since 1975 when 97% of cyclists who died didn’t wear a helmet compared to the 2%.
Everyday, people are given a choice of whether or not to wear helmets while riding their bike. People who use bikes for transportation on the streets know that it poses many dangers and risks they take when they hop onto two wheels. A study has shown how wearing a bicycle helmet greatly reduces your chances of serious head injury by 60%, fatal injuries by 65%!, facial wounds from 33%. It is important as we ride our bicycles through town because if you don’t have one these days, there’s no way to protect yourself properly against all the debris in this fast-paced world!
Wearing a bike helmet also reduces the chance of head injury 50%, serious head injuries 60%, death via brain trauma at just over 65 % ! And even more important
But the debate about if we should be mandating bike helmets has raged on for years. Proponents of mandatory helmet use say that it will decrease accidents and deaths, while opponents argue that forcing people to wear helmets is a way of keeping us from riding bikes at all because they are inconvenient, uncomfortable, and not fashionable.
But there’s still fierce debate around whether or not we should mandate bike helmets in this country – proponents claim that wearing them would make accidents less likely by decreasing fatalities; but those against mandated helmet usage cite how cumbersome (uncomfortable), annoying (not fashion-forward) they can be as reasons why riders may opt-out altogether.
Studies are also contradicting, with some stating that the drop in injuries is due to increased wearing of helmets while others say it’s from people not riding their bikes as much because they don’t want to be forced to wear a helmet. It can be an inconvenience for riders and would take away from police resources if enforced, but studies still show decreased incidents when compared against previous years without any helmet legislation.
The benefits of wearing a helmet far outweigh the discomfort that they may cause. A bike accident can happen at any time and with no warning, so it is always better to be prepared for anything than sorry later on. Nowadays, there are many attractive helmets available in all sorts of styles which make them more comfortable and easier to wear without sacrificing safety or style when riding their bikes around town!
Cycling is a great way to get around and stay healthy, but it can also be dangerous. Wearing the right safety gear protects you from injury in case of an accident or crash. We recommend wearing bike helmets every time you ride your bicycle!