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State Bicycle Helmet Laws For Kids. Protect their Noggin!

The Bike Log

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When it comes to nurturing your kid’s love of all things two-wheels, the two best pieces of advice we can give: keep it fun, keep them safe. So, ultimately, easing them into riding with a 12-inch bike like the Gecko is ideal. What’s more, we designed the Gecko to help your little one transition safely from balance bikes to pedal bikes with features like a single-speed drivetrain that makes learning to pedal simple and intuitive and a handle that’s built into the bottom of the saddle so you can easily help them balance before they ride off on their own.

Even (and especially) if it’s your kid’s first day on two wheels (or even three or four wheels) a helmet should always be part of the equation. Not just because it’s critical to keeping them safe, but also because it’s the law! Ultimately, our take is that no matter what the particular law says in your state, both you and your kids shouldn’t even think about hopping on a bike without a helmet. 

Even still, it’s interesting to see how each state has articulated its own helmet laws. This is why we listed every single state’s helmet laws below. 

Why are helmets so important?

While this should be self-evident—and you, as a parent know better than most—kids are prone to tumbles, and head trauma is a common injury in bike accidents. Helmets prevent or limit the severity of head trauma if your kid falls or gets knocked off their bike. There is a wealth of medical evidence that proves the safety benefits of wearing bike helmets. They’re more than just a cute accessory; they’re potentially lifesaving. 

Are helmets mandatory for bicycles?

Kids Bicycle Helmet Laws

21 states and Washington D.C. have helmet requirements for bike riders and their passengers. Youth helmet laws for children and minors are more common in state law, but they are not universal across the US. Age limits for youth helmet laws differ from state to state. The list below provides the current rules for helmet usage across the country. 

Laws by State 

Alabama: State laws in Alabama require all youth riders under 16 years old to wear a helmet whenever on a kid’s bike or adult bike. Some localities in Alabama require helmets for bike riders of all ages.

Alaska: There is no state-wide helmet law in Alaska. However, Bethel, Juneau, and Sitka require helmets for children under 18 years of age. Anchorage and Kenai require helmets for kids under 16 years of age.

Arizona: There are no state-wide helmet laws in Arizona. However, Flagstaff, Pima County, Yuma, Sierra Vista, and Tucson require helmets for children under 18.

Arkansas: State law does not require helmet use. However, Bentonville cyclists aged 14 years or younger must wear helmets on paved and off-road trails. 

California: State law in California requires all cyclists under 18 to wear a helmet. Under 18s must also wear helmets on scooters, skateboards, and inline skates. California is known to enforce its youth helmet laws strictly. 

Colorado: There is no law in Colorado that cyclists must wear helmets, with the exception of electric bike laws. However, we do recommend children and adults continue to wear helmets whenever they ride.

Connecticut: State laws in Connecticut require bike riders under 16 years of age to wear helmets when on bicycles. Some localities within the state also require helmets for all ages.

Delaware: Cyclists under 18 years of age in Delaware must wear helmets. Youths must also wear helmets on scooters, skateboards, and skates.

District of Columbia: State law in D.C. requires riders under 16 years of age to wear a helmet whenever using a bicycle, scooters, skateboards, and inline skates.

Florida: State law requires all riders under 16 to wear a helmet. Private properties are excluded, but we still recommend children wear helmets when riding at home or in driveways. Accidents caused by cars reversing out of driveways are common. 

Georgia: State law in G.A. requires child bike riders under 16 years of age to wear helmets.

Hawaii: Hawaiian law requires youth bike riders under 16 years of age to wear helmets when on bikes.

Idaho: Idaho requires all cyclists under the age of 18 to wear helmets while riding bikes.

Illinois: There is no state-wide law for helmet usage. However, the towns of Skokie, Cicero, and Inverness do require helmets for kids under 16 years of age. Barrington requires helmets for riders aged 17 and under.

Indiana: In Indiana, riders under the age of 17 must wear a helmet. You should note that Indiana also requires bikes to be fitted with a bike bell or another audible device.

Iowa: Iowa has no state laws around the use of bike helmets. While it’s not illegal for children to ride without a helmet, it isn’t advisable either. 

Kansas: The state laws require riders under 16 years of age to wear helmets on bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and wearing inline skates.

Kentucky: There is no state-wide law for helmet use in Kentucky. However, Louisville requires helmets for riders 17 and under and for all riders within the Louisville Extreme Park.

Louisiana: State laws in Louisiana require all cyclists under 12 to wear a helmet when on a bicycle.

Maine: The state requires all young riders under 16 years of age to wear helmets on bikes.

Maryland: State law in Maryland requires riders under 16 years old to wear a helmet on bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and wearing inline skates. The age requirement in Montgomery country is 18 years or under, while Sykesville requires a helmet for all riders of any age.

Massachusetts: State law requires that riders under 17 wear a helmet on a bicycle, scooters, skateboards, and inline skates.

Michigan: There is no state-wide helmet law in Michigan. However, Adrian requires riders under 15 years old to wear helmets. Farmington Hills requires riders under 16 to wear a helmet on bicycles, scooters, skateboards, or inline skates. East Grand Rapids requires riders under 18 to wear helmets when on a bike. Kensington Metropark requires all bike riders wear helmets at any age.

Minnesota: Helmets are not required for bike riders under Minnesota Bike Law. 

Mississippi: There is no state-wide helmet law in Mississippi. However, Hernando requires helmets for all riders under 17 when riding on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, or wearing skates. Starkville requires all ages to wear helmets on bikes, scooters, skateboards, or inline skates.

Missouri: There is no state-wide helmet law. However, some cities and towns have helmet laws. St. Louis County requires all riders between 1 and 16 to wear a helmet on bikes, scooters, skateboards, or inline skates. This law does not apply to infants under 1, which allows parents to ride with infants legally. Columbia requires riders under 16 to wear a helmet on bikes, scooters, skateboards, or skates. St. Charles requires riders under 16 to wear a helmet on bikes only. Several localities also require helmets for all riders. 

Montana: Only Billings has a helmet law, which requires riders under 16 years of age to wear a helmet. There is no state-wide helmet law.

Nebraska: Nebraska has no state helmet laws at present.

Nevada: There are no state-wide helmet laws. However, Duckwater Indian Reservation and Reno/Sparks Indian Colony both require riders under 17 to wear helmets when on bikes.

New Hampshire: All riders under 16 years of age must wear a helmet on a New Hampshire bicycle.

New Jersey: All riders under 17 years of age must wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or skates, in New Jersey.  

New Mexico: All riders aged under 18 must wear a helmet when on bikes, tricycles, scooters, skateboards, and skates. The addition of tricycles here is unusual, but we recommend helmets for all children’s bikes, including tricycles and balance bikes.

New York: N.Y. law requires bike riders under 14 years of age to wear a helmet. Guilderland requires all riders 19 years of age and under to wear helmets on bikes, scooters, skateboards, or skates. Suffolk County and Onondaga County-Syracuse both require helmets for riders under 18 years of age. Some localities also require helmets for all cyclists.

North Carolina: All riders under 16 must wear a bike helmet. Some counties also require youth helmets for scooters, skateboards, and inline skates. Black Mountain and Boone both need all cyclists to wear helmets.

North Dakota: This state does not require the use of helmets for anyone, not even children. However, we strongly recommend children always wear helmets on bikes.

Ohio: There is no state-wide law, however many counties in Ohio have their own helmet laws. Age limits for helmets vary in different cities and counties, ranging from 12 and under to 18 and under. All minors should wear helmets in Ohio if parents want to ensure they are within the law in all counties. 

Oklahoma: There is no state law here, but Norman requires riders under 18 to wear a helmet, and Oklahoma City requires all riders to wear a helmet on bikes.

Oregon: State law requires that all riders must wear helmets if they are 16 or younger. This helmet law applies to bikes as well as scooters, skateboards, and inline skates.

Pennsylvania: All riders under 12 years must wear a helmet when on a bike.

Rhode Island: All riders under 16 years must wear a helmet on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, or skates.

South Carolina: There are currently no helmet laws in the state of South Carolina.

South Dakota: South Dakota also does not currently require helmets for any rider.

Tennessee: All riders under 16 years of age are required by state law to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.

Texas: Texas has no statewide helmet law. However, there are helmet requirements for youths in many different Texan cities and counties. The age limits are either 16, 17, or 18 and younger. To ensure riders are always within the law in all Texan towns and counties, it’s advisable that all children under 18 wear helmets.

Utah: Utah currently has no helmet laws for cyclists. Unfortunately, bike accidents are a serious issue in Utah. More than half the bicyclists involved in an accident in Utah are under 20 years old. We recommend children, teens, and adults always wear helmets even though it is not a legal requirement. 

Vermont: Helmets are not legally required in Vermont, but are highly recommended for cyclists of all ages.

Virginia: There is no state-wide helmet law in Virginia. However, many localities require riders under 15 years of age to wear a helmet. Therefore, it is advisable all youth riders wear helmets in Virginia.

Washington: There is no state-wide helmet law. However, several localities require helmets for youth riders under either 18 or 17 years of age. Seatac requires all riders over one year old to wear a helmet. Many more localities require helmets for riders of all ages. Therefore, to ensure you are always within the local laws, all riders should wear helmets throughout Washington.

West Virginia: All riders under 15 must wear a helmet on bicycles by state law. In Clarksburg, South Charleston, and St. Albans, this law extends to riders under 18 years of age. Morgantown requires all bike riders of any age to wear a helmet.

Wisconsin: There is no state-wide helmet law, but Port Washington requires all bike riders under 17 to wear a helmet.

Wyoming: Wyoming does not mandate helmets by law. However, they are still widely recommended. 

Helmets save lives

Kids Bicycle Helmet Laws

While helmets are not legally required everywhere, they are certainly strongly recommended for younger riders. We want kids and their families to have a safe and enjoyable time when riding their bikes. 

Helmets are essential, regardless of the rider’s age, level of experience, or size of their bike. Children benefit from helmets whether they’re five or 15, riding a 16-inch bike, 26-inch bike, or any size in between. Therefore, we urge everyone to wear bike helmets when riding to protect their head from injury. Everyone of any age is susceptible to head injuries from bike accidents, but children are particularly vulnerable. Parents and adults who wear helmets can protect themselves and set a good example that encourages children to wear their helmets and keep biking a safe and positive experience for years and years. 

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