Section IX. Appendices

A. Helmet Use Laws for Bicycle Riders

(Source: the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute)

Excerpts from the BHSI Web site: http://www.helmets.org/mandator.htm

Revised immediately upon receipt of new information

For date of last revision see last line at the bottom.

There is no federal law in the U.S. requiring bicycle helmets. States and localities began adopting laws in 1987, but there is no formal central registry for them. Here are the ones we are aware of as of this date. The States are probably all included, but some localities could be missing.

Jurisdiction
Ages/Conditions
Effective
Date
Alabama    
  State Law Under 16
1995
  Montevallo All ages
1993
  Homewood All ages
1994
Arizona    
  Tucson Under 18
1993
  Yuma Under 18
1997
California    
  State Law Passengers under 5
1987
  State Law Riders under 18
1994
  Bidwell Park,
Chico, CA
All ages
1991
Connecticut    
 

State Law

Under 16
    Seymour All ages 1998 /REPEALED 1998
Delaware    
    State Law Under 16 1996
District of Columbia      
  Under 16 2000
Florida    
  State Law**
(excludes Citrus and
St. Lucie Counties)
Under 16
1997
Georgia    
  State Law Under 16
1993
Hawaii    
  State Law Under 16
1/1/2001
Illinois    
  Barrington Under 17
1997
  Inverness Under 16
1999
Louisiana    
  State Law Under 12
3/1/2002
Maine    
  State Law Under 16
1999
Maryland    
  State Law Under 16
1995
  Allegany Co Under 16
1992
  Howard Co Under 17
1990
  Montgomery Co Under 18
1991
  Sykesville All ages
1995
Massachusetts    
  State Law Passengers under 5
1990
  State Law Riders under 13
1994
Michigan    
  E. Grand Rapids Under 18
1995
  Adrian Under 15
1998
  Kensington All Ages
1998
  Metropark
  Farmington Hills Under 16
1999
Missouri    
  Creve Coeur
St Louis Co
for unincorporated areas
All ages
Under 17
2000
2002
Montana    
  Billings Under 16
2001
New Hampshire      
  State Law Younger than 16
2005
New Jersey    
  State Law Under 14
1992
New York    
  State Law Passengers under 5
1989
  State Law Riders under 14
1994
  Chemung Co Under 15
1995
  Erie County Parks All ages
1993
  Greenburgh All ages
1994
  Guilderland Under 14
1992
  Rockland Co All ages
1992
  Onondaga Co
(Syracuse)
Under 18
2001
North Carolina    
  State Law Under 16
2001
  Black Mountain All ages
1996
  Boone All ages
1995
  Carolina Beach Under 16
1994
  Carrboro Under 16
1997
  Cary Under 16
2001
  Chapel Hill Under 16
1992
  Greenville Under 16
1998
  Matthews Under 16
2001
Ohio    
  Akron Under 16
2001
  Beachwood Under 16
1990
  Brecksville Under 18
1998
  Centerville Under 16
1999
  Glendale Under 19
2000
  Orange Village Ages 6 to 15
1992
  Shaker Heights All ages over 5
including passengers
1997
  Strongsville Under 12
1993
  Waynesville Under 17
2000
Oregon    
  State Law Under 16
1994
Pennsylvania    
  State Law Passengers under 51991
  State Law Riders under 12
1995
Rhode Island    
  State Law Under 9
1996
    Under 16
1998
Texas    
  Arlington Under 18
1997
  Austin Under 18
1996/97
  Bedford Under 18
1996
  Benbrook Under 17
1996
  Coppell All ages
1997
  Dallas All ages
1996
  Fort Worth Under 18
1996
  Houston Under 18
1995
Tennessee    
  State Law Under 16
1994/2000
  Clarksville All ages
1993
Virginia    
  Alexandria Under 15
1994
  Arlington Co Under 15
1993
  Blacksburg Under 15
1994
  Fairfax Co Under 15
1993
  Falls Church Under 15
1993
  Front Royal Under 15
1996
  Manassas Under 15
1995
  Manassas Park Under 15
1997
  Newport News Under 15
1997
  Prince William Co Under 15
1995
  Salem Under 15
2000
  Virginia Beach Under 15
1995
Washington State    
  Aberdeen All ages
2001
  Bainbridge Island All ages
2001
  Bremerton All ages
2000
  Eatonville Under 16
1996
  Fircrest All ages
1995
  Gig Harbor All ages
1996
  King Co
(excludes Seattle)
All ages
1993
  Lakewood All ages
1996
  Milton  
All ages1997
  Orting  
Under 17 1997
  Pierce Co All ages
1994
  Port Angeles All ages
1994
  Poulsbo Under 18
1995
  Puyallup All ages
1994
  Steilacoom All ages
1995
  Tacoma All ages
1994
  University Place All ages
1996
West Virginia    
  State Law Under 15
1996
  Clarksburg Under 18
1993
  Morgantown All ages
1993
  South Charleston Under 18
1994
  St. Albans Under 18
1995
Wisconsin    
  Port Washington Under 17
1997

That's a total of 20 State laws (including the District of Columbia as a "state") and 84 local laws.


** Florida permitted Counties to opt out, and three did so, but Brevard later reversed its decision, leaving the Counties of Citrus and St. Lucie not covered by the State law. Private property (a driveway, for example) was excluded but all roads and trails are covered.

This page was last revised on: May 16, 2002.