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Who Is Required to Wear a Bicycle Helmet? – Important Things to Know

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

who is required to wear a bicycle helmet

Wearing a helmet is vital to ensure bike safety. Head injuries are more common to those who do not wear bicycle helmets during their ride. Statistics show that 800 cyclists are killed every year in the United States because of road-related accidents. Most of them involve head and face injuries due to non-compliance with bike safety regulations.

So, who is required to wear a bicycle helmet?

All cyclists should wear helmets. Everyone regardless of age should wear helmets on their ride. The gear will protect them during crashes or accidents and can reduce the number of bike-related fatalities.


Bike Helmet Mandates


Is helmet mandatory for bicycle?

Road safety regulations differ from city to city. In the United States, 22 states have bicycle helmet laws mandating bikers to use helmets while on the road. The regulation requires bikers under the age of 18 or 16 to use helmets when riding.

Age requirement varies from state to state or city to city. For instance, California mandates that those 18 years and below must use bike helmets while West Virginia requires those under 15 years of age. New York imposes the use of helmets among 13 years or younger.

Why Wearing a Helmet Is Important

1. Helmets protect you from head and brain injury


Do you need to wear a helmet when biking? Yes, a helmet is important in protecting you from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or death. It is the most vital gear you could wear when you are out and biking on the road. This protective element can absorb the force of the impact during a crash or collision. As a result, you are less likely to get serious head injuries. In fact, it can reduce the odds of head injury by almost 50%.

2. Helmets make you more visible


During heavy traffic, vehicle drivers can easily see you when you wear a helmet on a bike. There are plenty of brightly colored helmets specifically designed for better visibility. With this type of gear, road drivers can instantly see you even from a longer distance.

Even at night, helmets with built-in reflectors increase your visibility. You can also mount a headlamp at the front for you to see the road clearly.

3. Helmets protect you from weather 


The helmet is also a source of protection during different weather conditions. It can keep your hair in place on a windy day. So, your hair cannot distract you when riding. It can keep your head warm on cold days because of the foam layer material as well. For summers, a helmet is an added coverage for your face and keeps you from harmful UV rays.

4. Helmets prevent you from getting road violations


Bike helmet regulation is one of the most common bicycle safety laws. Every state imposes different mandatory helmet laws for bikers. Cyclists are subject to following these regulations. There are corresponding penalties for non-compliance.

What Makes a Good Helmet

Cyclists should not only be concerned about wearing a helmet. They should also make sure that the gear meets the necessary safety standards. It is crucial that you choose a bike helmet that passes the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

A high-quality helmet has a label indicating that it went through a strict quality process. You can find the label on the liner inside the gear, on the exterior area, or at the chinstrap.

Safety-labeled helmets are evaluated based on ventilation, fitness, adjustability, comfort, and protection. The strength of the straps, attachment points, and helmet buckles are also thoroughly evaluated. Then, they are tested on whether they can fare in an accident. During the test, the gear is dropped at a rate of 14mph onto a flat anvil. The testing process additionally ensures that the straps can keep the helmet stay in place even during a crash.

What Other Features to Consider

Aside from the basic protection and passing the standard quality procedures, there are other features you can consider to get the best bike helmet.

1. Helmets with MIPS

Some helmets can reduce rotational force. It corresponds to how much your brain moves inside the skull in an impact or crash. This type of helmet has a multi-directional impact protection system or MIPS. It can lessen the possibility of getting concussions.

Helmets with MIPS come with a low-friction liner that decreases the rotational force or energy that can be transferred to the head during a crash. Based on reports, the force can be reduced by 43%.

2. Helmets with WaveCel

Another feature you can consider is the WaveCel technology in helmets. Gears with WaveCel tech come with an internal layer of plastic. The material can flex, crumple, or glide during a crash or impact. This functions as a suspension system and absorbs a strong force from a collision.


Everyone is prone to accidents regardless of age. When it comes to safety, you should not compromise. Even when your city does not mandate you to wear helmets, as a responsible cyclist, wearing bike helmets should be the norm. May this article on who is required to wear a bicycle helmet encourage you to wear helmets, and consider their importance in protecting you while biking.

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