Bicycle Helmet Laws In The US – The Complete Guide

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The United States has laws to protect the public from any expected danger, these laws include the requirement to wear a helmet while you are driving a bicycle in certain areas and at certain ages, but these laws vary from a state to another, as there are some states force cyclists to wear helmets, and other states have no such requirements while cycling at all.

Most of the States started to give attention to the statistics of bicycles accidents, these statistics were pointing to some important information about cyclists health, as follows:

  • About 2 percent of the total deaths of road accidents were riding a bike.
  • Wearing a helmet can protect half the head injuries among the cyclists.
  • Wearing a helmet can also decrease the possibility of damaging any part of the head and neck by 30 percent.
  • About 90 percent of the total deaths of cyclists were adults (twenty years old and above).
  • 17 percent of the latter rate was for people with helmets.

This results in forcing a helmet in some states on children (17 years old or below) and forcing it in the majority of the states on every cyclist.

Cyclists have to follow the rules to ensure their rights as if someone was riding a bike without a helmet (in a state with mandatory use of helmet) and he had an accident which injured his head, he won’t take reparation easily from the car driver (even if it was his fault) because the cyclist broke the rules too. That’s why every cyclist has to buy a helmet and use it every time they ride a bike to protect themselves from any expected danger.

bike helmet law

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

JurisdictionAgesEffective
ArizonaUnder 18
FlagstaffUnder 182010
Pima CountyUnder 181995
Sierra VistaUnder 181995
TucsonUnder 181993
YumaUnder 181997
Alabama
State lawUnder 161995
MontevalloAll ages1993
HomewoodAll ages1994
Alaska
AnchorageUnder 162005
BethelUnder 182004
JuneauUnder 182006
KenaiUnder 162004
SitkaUnder 182005
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(Repealed 1998)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
District of Columbia
District LawUnder 161996
Florida
State LawUnder 161997
Georgia
State LawUnder 161993
Hawaii
State LawUnder 162001
Illinois
Barring tonUnder 171997
Chicago (messengers)All ages
CiceroUnder 161997
InversesUnder 161999
Libertyville
SkokieUnder 162002
Kansas
LawrenceUnder 162004
Kansas
Louisville (Parks)Under 182002
Louisville Extreme ParkAll ages2002
Louisiana
State LawUnder 122002
Maine
State LawUnder 161999
Maryland
State LawUnder 161995
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 161999
Kensington MetroparkAll ages1998
Mississippi
HernandoUnder 172010
JacksonAll ages2013
Ridgeland--------2010
StarkvilleAll ages2010
Mississippi
St Louis County1 to 16Unincorp.
areas 2002
Countywide
2008
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 172005
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
Wellston
Wilber ParkUnder 172005
WildwoodUnder 172005
St Louis Co ParksUnder 172001
Municipalities in other counties
ColumbiaUnder 162003
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 171997
New Mexico
State LawUnder 182007
Los Alamos CountyUnder 181995
New York
State LawPassengers
under 5
1989
State LawRiders
under 14
1994/2004
EastchesterUnder 192004
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 162002
CorneliusUnder 162001
GreenvilleUnder 161998
MatthewsUnder 162001
Ohio
AkronUnder 162001
BeachwoodUnder 161990
BexleyUnder 162010
Blue AshUnder 162003
BrecksvilleUnder 181998
BrooklynUnder 142001
CentervilleUnder 181999
CincinnatiUnder 162004
ColumbusAges 1-172009
DaytonUnder 132004
East ClevelandUnder 182004
EnonUnder 162004
EuclidUnder 142001
GlendaleUnder 192000
KetteringUnder 162004
LakewoodUnder 181997
MadeiraUnder 172002
MariettaUnder 162004
Orange VillageAges 6 to 151992
Pepper PikeUnder 182000
Shaker HeightsAll ages
over 5 inc.
passengers
1997
South EuclidUnder 142000
StrongsvilleUnder 121993
WaynesvilleUnder 172000
Oklahoma
NormanUnder 182003
Oklahoma City
(city property)
All ages1999
Oregon
State LawUnder 161994
State LawRiders under 121995
State LawUnder 161996/1998/2007
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 ages1997
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 ages2004
SteilacoomAll ages1995
TacomaAll ages1994
University PlaceAll ages1996
VancouverAll ages2008
West Virginia
State LawUnder 151996
ClarksburgUnder 181993
MorgantownAll ages1993
South CharlestonUnder 181994
St. AlbansUnder 181995
WisconsinUnder 171997

Now that you know everything about helmets, why not start looking at good biking shoes?