GET TO KNOW THE BIKE HELMET LAWS BY STATE

April 30, 2020

GET TO KNOW THE BIKE HELMET LAWS BY STATE
blue bike helmet

Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of serious head injuries in forceful impacts, but, more than half of Americans who ride a bike, skateboard or scooter don’t wear one. Many states have put laws into place requiring the use of a helmet, but what exactly are the laws?  

Here’s a quick guide to help you and your family ride safely (and legally).


BIKE HELMET LAWS BY STATE

  • A combination of 22 states, including District of Columbia, and about 202 localities do require a rider to wear a helmet: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virgina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.   
  • Thirteen states do not require a rider to wear a helmet: Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming. 
  • State and local laws vary greatly depending on where you live and your age.

STATEWIDE LAWS THAT REQUIRE RIDERS TO WEAR BIKE HELMETS

A handful of states have instituted statewide laws that require the use of a helmet while riding a bicycle or mountain bike or while cycling and skateboarding. These laws often target youth and hold parents or guardians accountable for their childrens’ safety. But, there are almost no statewide laws that hold adults accountable for wearing a helmet. Here’s a breakdown by age and state.  

  • Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Tennessee: Bike riders under 16
  • California: Passengers 5 and under; bike riders under 18; scooter, skateboard and in-line skate riders 18 and under 
  • Connecticut: Bike riders under 16; e-bike riders all ages  
  • Delaware and New Mexico: Bike riders under 18
  • Louisiana and Pennsylvania: Bike riders under 12
  • Massachusetts: Passengers 5 and under, bike riders under 17
  • New Jersey: Bike riders under 17
  • New York: Passengers 5 and under, bike riders under 14
  • West Virginia: Bike riders under 15
gold bike helmet and blue bike helmet and black bike helmet

Despite having statewide helmet laws or not, some cities require all ages to wear a bicycle helmet while riding. These are the cities:

  • Montevallo and Homewood, Alabama
  • Chico, California (Bidwell Park) 
  • Chicago, Illinois (messengers only)
  • Louisville, Kentucky (Extreme Park)
  • Sykesville, Maryland
  • Kensington, Michigan (Metropark)
  • Jackson and Starkville, Mississippi
  • Erie County parks, Greenburgh and Rockland County, New York
  • Black Mountain and Boone, North Carolina
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Interestingly, while both Washington and Missouri haven’t implemented statewide bicycle helmet laws, many of their cities do require one to be worn no matter your age. Head here for the full list.

bike helmets

STATES THAT DON'T REQUIRE RIDERS TO WEAR BIKE HELMETS

There are 13 states with no bike helmet laws in place. If you live in one of these states or are passionate about bicycle advocacy, consider being a voice to help protect the 57 million bicyclists across the U.S.  

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming

Ready to ride safely? Pick out a new minimalist bike helmet that you can lock up thanks to our integrated PopLock system.


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