Is a Helmet Required When Biking in New York?

Posted: September 6, 2022

woman putting on a bike helmet

Bike helmets help prevent cyclists from sustaining serious head injuries when they are involved in accidents. For this reason, New York lawmakers have mandated when bicycle riders must wear helmets.  

Who Must Wear a Helmet in New York?

Generally speaking, according to the New York State Department of Transportation,  under New York law individuals:  

  • Less than one year of age are prohibited from being transported on bicycles; 
  • Between one and four years of age must (1) wear bicycle helmets that meet certain requirements and (2) ride in in a separate seat attached to the bicycle. The seat must have adequate provision for retaining the passenger in place and for protecting the passenger from the moving parts of the bicycle. 
  • Under the age of 14 must wear bicycle helmets that meet certain requirements while operating a bicycle or riding as passengers.   

 The law further provides that any parent or guardian who permits their child to violate New York’s helmet law is subject to a fine of up to $50 per violation. Certain counties, including Erie County, have passed ordinances requiring others to wear helmets while riding bicycles under certain circumstances.  

According to the New York State Department of Transportation, an appropriate helmet “fit[s] squarely on top of the head in a level position and covers the top of the forehead, extending down to about an inch above the eyebrows.” Thus, a properly fitting helmet should not slide back and forth or from side to side on a person’s head. “In the event of a crash,” the Department of Transportation continues, “helmets should be replaced immediately, even if there is no apparent damage [to the helmet].”  

Why Are There Helmet Laws?

Even the most careful bicyclist may have trouble avoiding the hazards associated with encountering a negligent motorist on the roadway.  

According to some sources, approximately 800 bicyclists are killed and 500,000 are injured each year in the United States. Many of these fatalities and injuries involve trauma to the head and face. Thus, it is estimated that wearing a helmet may reduce the risk of head injuries for bicyclists by as much as 85 percent. 

Injured in an Accident While on Your Bike? Call William Mattar.

If you were injured in an accident while riding a bike, you may be looking for an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you receive maximum compensation for your injury. The experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. can review your case and help determine your options moving forward.  You can contact us 24/7 by submitting a contact form online, or by calling (844) 444-4444.  

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