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A CLOSER LOOK AT BICYCLE HELMET LAWS IN THE NEW YORK CITY

November 13, 2020

A CLOSER LOOK AT BICYCLE HELMET LAWS IN THE NEW YORK CITY
black bike helmet

New York City is home to an estimated 8.4 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2018. The iconic city is known for its robust public transit system and growing bicycle path infrastructure, making it ideal for bike commuters. In 2019, 21.4 miles of protected bike path lanes were added as part of the NYC Department of Transportation’s Green Wave. 

As cycling among the grid becomes even safer, more and more people are choosing it as their preferred method of transportation. In fact, NYC DOT reported that 49 percent of adults — about 778,000 based on a population estimate of 6.45 million adults — rode a bicycle “at least several times a month.” According to Cycling in the City by NYC DOT, it’s also estimated that 900,000 New Yorkers ride a bike regularly. More than 510,000 bicycle trips are made each day, which is triple the amount just 15 years ago. 

Even though bicycling has surged, the city has seen a decline in bike-related injuries and fatalities. This is likely due to improved infrastructure. But could it also be because of bicycle helmet laws? If you’re curious about New York City helmet laws, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a look at everything you need to know to ride safely and legally. 

BICYCLE HELMET LAWS IN THE NEW YORK CITY 

  • In the state of New York, passengers ages five and under and bike riders under the age of 14 are required to wear bike helmets.
  • NYC DOT hosts events during the year to give out free bicycle helmets for children.
  • Adults who are working cyclists are also required to wear a helmet.
  • Legally, adults are allowed to ride a bike without wearing a helmet.

In the state of New York, passengers ages five and under and bike riders under the age of 14 are required to wear bike helmets. Children ages one to four must also be securely fastened in a child safety seat. These same laws also apply to those in New York City; however, at the time of writing, NYC DOT does suggest that bike helmets are only required for those ages 13 and younger. 

To help make helmet wearing more accessible for youth, NYC DOT hosts events during the year to give out free bicycle helmets. To be eligible, you just need to stop by one of the events with a parent or guardian who’s 18 years or older and do a proper helmet fitting. 

In addition to NYC’s youth bike helmet law, adults who are working cyclists are also required to wear a helmet. Think bike messenger or someone who delivers meals by bicycle. Legally, adults are allowed to ride a bike without wearing a helmet (unless they fall into the latter working cyclist category). That said, it’s always a smart idea to protect your dome with a safe bike helmet. NYC riders will also appreciate the convenience of the Thousand secret Poplock, a discreet way to safely lock up your helmet with a chain or U-Lock when you need to run into the store or grab takeout. Curious about bike helmet laws across other states? Check out our comprehensive guide.


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