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Bicycle Helmet Law In The USA

The map below shows current state-wide, and local laws regarding helmet use (cyclists) in the USA. Hover over a state or location for more information, or click a state to zoom.

  • All ages
  • Under 12s
  • Under 14s
  • Under 15s
  • Under 16s
  • Under 17s
  • Under 18s
  • Local ordinances
  • No laws

Bicycle Helmet Laws: Summary

State-Wide Helmet Laws

  • There are currently 21 states (+ DC) with state-wide helmet laws in place for cyclists.1
  • However, in each of these states provisions are for children only, with cut off ages varying from 12-18.
  • There are currently no states which prohibit adults from riding without a helmet.

Local Government Helmet Laws

  • Of the 29 states which have no state-wide bicycle helmet laws, 16 have individual localities (towns, cities, counties etc) with separate local ordinances in place.
  • Some of these local ordinances do prohibit all riders (including adults) from cycling without a helmet.
  • In several states, local ordinances may extend state-wide laws.
  • For example, while New York state only prohibits cyclists under the age of 14 from riding without a helmet, Rockland County and Greenburgh have local laws which require all riders (including adults) to wear a helmet.

States Without Helmet Bicycle Helmet Laws

  • There are 13 states which have no state-wide, or local helmet laws.

The Case For Nationwide Bicycle Helmet Laws

  • A study of over 64,000 cyclists concluded that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 51%, the risk of serious head injury by 69%, and the risk of fatal head injury by 65%.2
  • But a 2012 study found that just 29% of adults, and 42% of children in the USA always wore a helmet while cycling.3
  • Between 1994 and 2018, at least 80% of cyclists killed in road accidents in the US were not wearing a helmet.4
  • When cases where it is unknown if a helmet was worn are excluded this number may be higher.

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About De Caro & Kaplen, LLP

Attorneys Shana De Caro and Michael Kaplen, our firm’s founding partners, have been successfully representing bicycle accident victims for more than 40 years. Shana and Michael are nationally recognized experts who are called upon frequently to comment on legal issues, particularly traumatic brain injury. Their insights have been featured in noted news outlets such as the New York Law Journal and CBS News. Michael served as Chair of the Vehicle Accident and Highway Liability Section of the American Association for Justice. Shana is Vice Chair of The Brain Injury Association of America. Both are recognized by their peers for their knowledge and experience.

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  1. Bicycle Helmet Laws, []
  2. Bicycle helmets reduce risk of serious head injury by nearly 70%, study finds [The Guardian]
  3. Bicycle helmet use among persons 5 years and older in the United States, 2012 [PMC]

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