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Bicycle & E-Bike Helmet Laws For Kids (State-by-State)

eric-awwy By Eric Awwy, 28 Nov 2021

When buying a bike for your child, you should also buy them a bike helmet. This is because it is better to be safe than sorry. It is better to ensure your child’s head is protected with a kid-specific bike helmet than to regret not getting them one after they get a cycling head injury.

 You should also buy your kid a cycling helmet because many states across the country require underage bicyclists to wear a helmet. Examples include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, California, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, and so on.

 A word from our experts and researchers: Even if your state does not mandate that kids wear helmets, ensure that before they undertake any bike activity whether it be cycling or as passive passengers on cargo bikes, trailers, trail-a-bike, or child bike seats, they have a well-fitting helmet. You never know when danger might hang too low. And in the event of falls, helmets increase the protection of the noggins of these tots to a larger percentage. The good thing is that there are different types of helmets in the market.

Check out our girls’ helmet reviews, infant/toddler-specific bike helmets, and age-specific kids cycling helmets.

 In this post, you will learn everything important you need to know about E-bike and bike helmet laws in the USA.

Summary of the Bike and E-Bike Helmet Laws in the USA (Related to Kids 1-18 years)

State (arranged in A-Z)

Cyclists who need to put on a helmet

 

E-bicyclists who need to put on a helmet

Alabama

Below 16

Everyone

Alaska

No legislation

No legislation

Arizona

No legislation

No legislation

Arkansas

No legislation

Below 21

California

Below 18

Everyone

Colorado

No legislation

Below 18

Connecticut

Below 16

Below 16

Delaware

Below 18

Below 18

Florida

Below 16

Below 16

Georgia

Below 16

Everyone

Hawaii

Below 16

Below 16

Idaho

No legislation

No legislation

Illinois

No legislation

No legislation

Indiana

No legislation

Below 18

Iowa

No legislation

No legislation

Kansas

No legislation

Below 18

Kentucky

No legislation

Below 21

Louisiana

Below 12

Everyone

Maine

Below 16

Below 16

Maryland

Below 16

Everyone

Massachusetts

Below 17

Everyone

Michigan

No legislation

Below 18

Minnesota

No legislation

No legislation

Mississippi

No legislation

No legislation

Missouri

No legislation

No legislation

Montana

No legislation

No legislation

Nebraska

No legislation

No legislation

Nevada

No legislation

No legislation

New Hampshire

Below 16

Below 18

New Jersey

Below 17

Below 17

New Mexico

Below 18

No legislation

New York

Below 14

Everyone

North Carolina

Below 16

No legislation

North Dakota

No legislation

No legislation

Ohio

No legislation

Below 18

Oklahoma

No legislation

No legislation

Oregon

Below 16

Below 16

Pennsylvania

Below 12

No legislation

Rhode Island

Below 16

Below 16

South Carolina

No legislation

No legislation

South Dakota

No legislation

No legislation

Tennessee

Below 16

Everyone

Texas

No legislation

No legislation

Utah

No legislation

Below 21

Vermont

No legislation

No legislation

Virginia

No legislation

Everyone

Washington

No legislation

No legislation

West Virginia

Below 15

Everyone

Wisconsin

No legislation

No legislation

Wyoming

No legislation

No legislation

Bike helmet laws state by state

It surprises us that only a few people know the significance of a bike helmet. Most of those that are opposed to kids’ bike helmets argue that they are heavy and makes a parent appear paranoid. Well, while sometimes they are a last-minute purchase or something parents buy just for the sake of it, helmets are a necessary protective gear that prevents head injuries.

Whether your kid glides around in their balance bike or riding their first, second, or nth pedal bike, you need to buy them a helmet.

It is also a legal requirement in some states. Let’s take helmets positively, and promote a bike safety culture. If you are bike commuting and you see kids without helmets, advise them to ask their parents to purchase them one. Educate them about bike safety.

As we list these state-by-state laws, we have to remind you that we are not lawyers or legal officers. We do not have legal background either. We only reverberate what experts and other authorities have said about these bike helmets to ensure that the information consumption peaks. We do this because we are advocates of bike safety. That’s all.

Alabama

In the state of Alabama, all cyclists below 16 need to wear a helmet. Any bicycle passenger below 16 also needs to wear a helmet.

There are two places in the state where every cyclist needs to wear a helmet regardless of age - Homewood and Montevallo.

If you repeatedly violate the bike helmet law in Alabama, your bike will be confiscated. And a fine may need to be paid for you to get it back.

Alaska

As at the time of publishing this article, there is no state bike helmet law in Alaska. However, if you are younger than 18, you will most likely need to wear a bike helmet to ride a bike in America’s northernmost state.

This is because the most populated areas in the state require every rider below a certain age to wear a bike helmet.

For example, in Kenai and Anchorage, there are local laws requiring every rider below 16 to wear a helmet. And even if you are older than 16, you still need a helmet to ride a bike in Juneau and Bethel if you are below 18.

Arizona

There is no bike helmet law in the influential state of Arizona. This means you cannot be arrested by the state if you ride your bike without putting on a helmet.

Nevertheless, there are many jurisdictions across the state that require bikers below eighteen to wear a helmet. They include Tuma, Tucson, Sierra Vista, Pima County, and Flagstaff.

Arkansas

Arkansas is the best place to be if you do not want to wear a helmet when riding a bike. This is because there are no local or state laws requiring state residents to wear a mask.

While Arkansas does not have any laws mandating the use of bike helmets, it is good practice for cyclists to wear a helmet to protect themselves in case of a crash.

California

In the golden state, you need to wear a bike helmet to ride a bicycle if you are below 18. If you are carrying a person and they are younger than 18, they also need to put on a helmet.

A below 18 passenger needs to put on a helmet even if they are being carried by a person over 18.

Any below 18 rider or passenger who does not wear a helmet will be warned when caught the first time and fined when they are caught again.

Operating a skateboard, a non-motorized scooter, or in-line skates without a helmet is also illegal in California.

In some jurisdictions in California e.g., Chico, bike helmets are a must for every cyclist regardless of their age.

Colorado

The state of Colorado has neither state nor local bike helmet laws. Everyone is pretty much allowed to ride a bike or an E-bike in the state without wearing a helmet.

With that said, it is important to note that you will find most young people and adults wearing a helmet when bicycling in public.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, everyone below 16 needs to wear a helmet when riding a bike. If this law is violated, the parent or guardian can be warned verbally.

Anyone below 16 operating an electric bike, non-motorized scooter, or electric foot scooter also needs to wear a helmet.

If you want to purchase a bike helmet for your child in Connecticut, you must make sure it is a helmet that meets the minimum specifications set by ANSI (American National Standards Institute).

Delaware

The bike helmet law in Delaware requires everyone below 18 to wear a helmet when riding a bike or being carried as a passenger on a bike.

In most states, the first offense or violation of the bike helmet law is usually forgiven but not in Delaware.

The violation of this law can result in a $25 fine even for the first offense. So, if you were planning to ride a bike without wearing a helmet in Delaware you better not do it. You could be $25 poorer by the time you get back home.

Every subsequent bike helmet law violation in Delaware attracts a $50 fine. Based on this fine, it is fair to say that Delaware has one of the harshest penalties for bike helmet law violations.

District of Columbia (DC)

In DC, bikers under 16 are required to wear a helmet to operate a bicycle. Not wearing a bike helmet if one is below sixteen will attract a fine of $25. The guardians or parents of the offender are the ones expected to pay this.

In DC, as in most states, the bike helmet that one needs to wear needs to be a fitting one and it needs to be fastened at all times when the rider is on the bike.

Also in DC, violators of the bike helmet law can be forgiven if they purchase a compliant bike helmet after getting caught.

Florida

In the sunshine state of Florida, every cyclist or cycle passenger below 16 needs to wear a helmet.

In case a person under sixteen does not wear a helmet when riding a bike, they could be let off with a verbal warning or $15 fine.

Georgia

In Georgia, every cyclist below sixteen needs to wear a helmet when cycling. Every bike passenger below sixteen also needs to wear a helmet.

The law in Georgia defines what wearing a helmet means. It means wearing a fitting protective headgear and fastening it securely to make sure it does not fly off in case of a crash.

The bike helmet law in Georgia is one of the most lenient ones because it does not carry any penalty for violators.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, all riders under sixteen need to put on a helmet. Passengers also need to put on a helmet.

A fine of $25 is the penalty for violating the Hawaiian bike helmet law.

The law also requires the helmet worn when riding a bike to be one that meets the specifications set by the National Safety Council or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Idaho

Idaho has neither local nor state bike helmet laws. You will not be stopped or prevented from riding a bike whether you are a minor or an adult.

However, buying a good helmet and wearing it correctly will protect your head in case of a crash. You do not need the government to tell you to wear a bike helmet when it is such a natural decision.

Illinois

Illinois, known for its stunning cities and majestic countryside, has no state bike helmet laws. But several jurisdictions within the state do have bike helmet laws.

For example, Chicago requires every bike delivery worker and bike messenger to wear a bike helmet regardless of age.

Cicero, Skokie, and Inverness require all bikers below sixteen to wear a helmet to ride a bike.

In Barrington, cyclists below seventeen need to wear a helmet.

Indiana

Indiana has no local or state laws requiring cyclists to wear protective headgear.

Iowa

Iowa is very similar to Indiana in terms of bike helmet laws. This is because it also has no state or local laws requiring bikers of any age to wear a helmet.

Kansas

Kansas state does not have a bike helmet law. Nevertheless, the city of Lawrence has a legislation that requires every cyclist below sixteen to wear a helmet when riding their bicycle on a public space.

Kentucky

Just like Kansas, Kentucky does not have a statewide bike helmet law.

However, in the city of Louisville, there is a law that requires all bikers below eighteen to wear a helmet when riding in a Metro Park.

There is also a law that requires all cyclists to wear a helmet to use the city’s Louisville Extreme Park.

Louisiana

If you are a parent or a guardian with a kid below twelve in New Orleans, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, or any other place in Louisiana, you must make sure they wear a helmet when they go out to cycle.

You must also make sure your kid wears a helmet when you want to carry them as a passenger on your bike.

It is the law that kids under twelve wear a helmet in Louisiana. Failure to abide by this law can result in you being issued with a citation.

Maine

The law in Maine requires every person below sixteen to wear a protective headgear when riding a bicycle on a public bikeway or roadway.

The helmet must be fitting and properly worn for the state to consider that it has been properly worn.

If someone under sixteen is caught riding a bike on a public bikeway or roadway without a helmet, they will be informed about the importance of wearing a bike helmet.

Their parents or guardians will also be informed about the importance of wearing a bike helmet.

If a person under sixteen is found a second time riding a bike without a helmet, a fine of up to $25 will be imposed. This fine can be waived if the individual presents evidence that they purchased a helmet after the first citation or offense.

Maryland

In the Mid-Atlantic state of Maryland, every cyclist and rider below sixteen years of age must wear a bike helmet.

Anyone who violates this law will be given education (information) about the importance of bike helmet use. 

While Maryland wants all its citizens to wear a bike helmet, a bike helmet is not required for use on the Ocean City boardwalk.

It is also important to note that in Sykesville, all cyclists are required to wear a protective headgear regardless of age.

Massachusetts

In the north-western state of Massachusetts, everyone between one and 17 years of age must wear a helmet.            

The helmet must meet the standards set by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Michigan

Michigan has no state-wide bike helmet law. However, several jurisdictions across the state require riders below a certain age to wear a helmet.

East Grand Rapids requires all riders below eighteen to wear a bike helmet, while Farmington Hills requires all riders below sixteen to wear a bike helmet.

One of the most popular bike parks in the state, Kensington Metropark, requires all cyclists to wear a helmet regardless of age.

Minnesota

There are no local or state laws in Minnesota regarding bike helmet wearing.

Mississippi

Mississippi has no state law requiring its residents to wear a bike helmet when cycling.

Nevertheless, in Starkville, Jackson, and Ridgeland, local laws require everyone to wear a protective headgear.

In Hernando, every cyclist below seventeen needs to wear a protective headgear.

Missouri

Missouri has no state bike law. However, many jurisdictions in the state require all under seventeen cyclists to wear a helmet on public roadways and bikeways.

These include St. Louis County, Wilber Park, Overland, Moline Acres, Norwood Court, Hanley Hills, Bella Villa, and Bellefontaine Neighbors.

Furthermore, there are many places that require every cyclist to wear a helmet regardless of age. These include Sycamore Hills, Pagedale, Glendale, Berkeley, and Calverton Park.

Montana

While the state of Montana has no state-wide bike helmet law, Billings and several other jurisdictions require every biker under sixteen to wear a helmet.

Nebraska

Nebraska has no local or state legislation regarding bike helmets.

Nevada

Nevada has no state legislation pertaining to the use of bike helmets. However, there are areas that require cyclists under seventeen to wear a helmet.

They include Reno Indian Colony and Duckwater Indian Reservation.

New Hampshire

In the state of New Hampshire, the law requires you to wear a helmet to ride a bike if you are below sixteen years old.

The violation of this law shall result in a $35 fine. This fine is one of the harshest fines for not wearing a helmet in the US.

New Jersey

In NJ, all cyclists and passengers who are under seventeen need to wear a helmet. The violation of this legislation shall attract a fine of not more than a hundred bucks.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, there is a statewide law that requires all bikers and cyclists under eighteen years to wear a bike helmet.

The fine for not wearing a helmet is $10.

New York

In New York, all cyclists between one and fourteen need to wear a helmet. Any bicycle passenger between one and fourteen also needs to wear a helmet.

Violating the bike helmet rule in New York will attract a fifty dollar fine.

In most county bike parks; every cyclist needs a bike helmet regardless of age.

North Carolina

North Carolina has a law that requires every under sixteen bike riders to wear a helmet.

Guardians or parents under sixteen can be issued with a ten-dollar fine if their kid does not wear a helmet.

In places like Boone and Black Mountain, there are local laws requiring every rider to wear a helmet.

North Dakota

This state has no local or state laws requiring cyclists to wear a helmet.

Ohio

If you are from stunning Ohio, you only need to worry about local bike helmet laws because there is no state bike helmet law.

Most of the laws are city-specific and require people below a certain age (often 17) to wear a bike helmet.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma does not have a bike helmet legislation in place. However, some cities in the state do have a minimum age below which one has to wear a helmet.

Oregon

Oregon requires cyclists below sixteen to wear helmets. Young cyclists who do not follow this rule will be subjected to a twenty-five dollar fine.

Pennsylvania

All riders below the age of twelve in this state need to wear a bike helmet. If a rider under twelve is not wearing a helmet, their parents will be issued a $25 fine.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island has a statute that requires every cyclist below sixteen years of age to wear a helmet when riding on a public roadway, bikeway, or park. Violations of this statute are handled administratively.

South Carolina

This state does not have state or local legislations requiring bike operators to wear a helmet.

South Dakota

This state, like South Carolina, does not have state or local legislations requiring bike operators to wear a helmet.

Tennessee

Tennessee has a statute that requires bicyclists under sixteen to wear a bike helmet. The statute also requires passengers under twelve to wear a bike helmet.

Failure to comply with this statute will result in a two-dollar fine plus court costs.

Texas

Texas does not have a bike helmet statute. But there are jurisdictions in the state requiring a bike helmet.

For instance, in places such as Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin, all riders below eighteen need to wear a helmet.

Utah

Utah does not have local or state bike helmet laws.

Vermont

Vermont does not have local or state bike helmet laws.

Virginia

Virginia has no state law requiring residents to wear a bike helmet. However, many jurisdictions including Arlington County, Fairfax, Orange County, Salem, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, and Stafford County.

Washington

Washington has no state law requiring bike helmets. However, many municipalities including Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, DuPont, Lakewood, and Kent.

West Virginia

West Virginia, has a law forbidding the use of a bike without a helmet for anyone under fifteen years of age.

A fine of ten dollars will be imposed on those who break this law.

Wisconsin

There is no bike helmet law in Wisconsin. Nevertheless, Port Washington in the state requires all under seventeen cyclists to wear a bike helmet.

Wyoming

Wyoming has no bike helmet laws.

 Final Words

Whether your child is skating, using scooters, or Segway, you need to make sure they have bike helmets. We are not lawyers ourselves but researchers who would like to bring you every resource that is useful for cycling kids.

As you select, purchase, and maintain your child’s cycling helmet, we salute you for minding bike safety for your kiddo. It goes a long way in inspiring confidence, discipline, and dedication into these kids who are the future of tomorrow.

You can get further and up-to-date information from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute website. There is a colorful map that shows the implemented state-by-state bike helmet laws. Check it as well.  

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