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U.S. Military Regs on Bicycle Helmets

Note: the regs below are each service's most recent implementation of the 2013 update of the official military regulations for the DOD traffic safety program. The dates are old and they may have been updated since we downloaded them, so a web search is recommended. We do have a 2023 link below to the Army reg.

Department of Defense
NUMBER 6055.04
April 20, 2009
Incorporating Change 2, January 23, 2013

Page 12 3. PEDESTRIANS AND BICYCLES (HSPG NUMBER 14) (6) Prohibit the use of powered and non-powered scooters, skateboards, roller skates, in-line skates, and other similar equipment not meeting DOT motor vehicle standards for public roadways on installation roads unless specifically authorized by location in the installation traffic code.

b. Bicycles. Emphasize bicycle safety, including motorized or motor-assisted bicycle safety, in the overall traffic safety program with particular emphasis on the use of bicycle helmets designed in accordance with part 1203 of title 16, CFR (Reference (t)).

c. Listening Devices. Prohibit the use of portable headphones, earphones, cellular phones, iPods, or other listening and entertainment devices (other than hearing aids) while walking, jogging, running, bicycling, skating, or skateboarding on roadways. Using listening devices impairs recognition of emergency signals, alarms, announcements, approaching vehicles, human speech, and outside noise in general.

Elsewhere in the regs under motorcycle and ATV operations it says: "Unit commanders may authorize the use of combat helmets for operating tactical vehicles (e.g., motorcycles and ATVs) during operations and training based on an operational risk assessment." We don't know if that would apply to bicycles or not.

There are separate Army, Navy Marine and Air Force regs implementing the above policies. Again these may have been updated since we last checked.

Here is the Army version

Army Regulation 385-10, 11-11

The Army Safety Program

24 February 2017

11–11. Pedestrian and bicycle safety

a. Pedestrian safety.
Pedestrian safety will be an integral part of each installation traffic safety program. The program will include—

(9) Wearing approved protective headgear while using powered and nonpowered scooters, skateboards, roller skates, and roller blades.

b. Bicycle safety
(2) Bicycle helmets approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission will be worn by all personnel, including Family members, who ride bicycles on Army installations. Previously purchased bicycle helmets certified by the American Society for Testing and Materials may also be worn but when purchasing a new helmet, riders should look for the Consumer Product Safety Commission certification. Outside CONUS, riders may wear HN helmets if the helmet meets or exceeds Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.

(3) For Government-owned three-wheeled bicycles that are operated within operational work areas, commanders may use RM procedures to determine exceptions to the helmet requirement.

And This 2023 page on the U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii website is more recent.

And here is the 2008 Navy regulation:

25 Jun 08

b. Bicycle safety shall be emphasized in the traffic safety program. Bicycle operators riding on a Navy installation roadway shall ride with the traffic, in single file, obeying traffic rules while properly wearing brightly colored reflective clothing between sunset and sunrise and a bicycle helmet approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission or Snell Memorial Foundation at all times. All active duty military personnel shall wear an approved bicycle helmet on/off a Navy installation. Commanders may determine helmet requirements for bicycle operators at industrial work sites.

Here is the 2011 Marine Corps version

29 Nov 2011

9. Bicycle and Personal Transportation Safety Requirements. Bicycle and personal transportation safety which includes any type of motor assisted personal mover such as Segways (excluding motorized wheelchairs or devises being used by handicap individuals) shall have local written policy. The policy shall be defined at the installation level and emphasized to all activities as an important part of the DRIVESAFE Program. Policy shall ensure the mandatory use of approved bicycle helmets and other PPE approved by American National Standards Institute or Snell by all personnel who ride bicycles or operate personal movers on Marine Corps installations.

10. Requirements for Skaters. Installation commanders should establish specific skating areas for recreational roller skating, skateboarding and inline skating. Approved helmets are required for all skaters. PPE such as elbow pads, kneepads and wrist guards are strongly recommended. A retroreflective belt or clothing is required when skating on or within three (3) feet of any roadway, street, or parking lot.

Here is the 2019 Air Force version


3.7.3. All persons who ride a bicycle, tricycle or other human powered vehicle, including motorized bicycles, on an AF installation roadway, to include flightlines will: Wear a properly fastened, approved (e.g., Consumer Product Safety Commission, American National Standards Institute, Snell Memorial Foundation or host nation equivalent) bicycle helmet. (T-2). MAJCOMs will be the approving official on what qualifies as host nation equivalent. (T-2).