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Model Helmet Law



Summary: A model helmet law from Safe Kids USA. We have some different suggestions at the bottom of the page and another page of standards references for helmet laws.




Safe Kids USA

Model Mandatory Bicycle Helmet Legislation

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ---------------

Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Child Bicycle Safety Act."

Section 2. As used in this act, the following words shall have the following meanings:

(A) BICYCLE. A human-powered vehicle with two (2) wheels in tandem designed to transport, by the act of pedaling, one (1) or more persons seated on one (1) or more saddle seats on its frame. "Bicycle" includes, but is not limited to, a human-powered vehicle designed to transport by the act of pedaling which has more than two (2) wheels when the vehicle is used on a public roadway, public bicycle path, or other public road or right-of-way.

(B) OPERATOR. A person who travels on a bicycle seated on a saddle seat from which that person is intended to and can pedal the bicycle.

(C) OTHER PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY. Any right-of-way other than a public roadway or public bicycle path that is under the jurisdiction and control of the state or a local political subdivision thereof.

(D) PASSENGER. Any person who travels on a bicycle in any manner except as an operator.

(E) PROTECTIVE BICYCLE HELMET. A piece of headgear which meets or exceeds the impact standard for protective bicycle helmets set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Snell Memorial Foundation, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or any established safety standard adopted by the federal government. [BHSI suggests alternative wording for this paragraph below.]

(F) PUBLIC BICYCLE PATH. A right-of-way under the jurisdiction and control of the state, or a local political subdivision thereof, for use primarily by bicyclists and pedestrians.

(G) PUBLIC ROADWAY. A right-of-way under the jurisdiction and control of the estate or a local political subdivision thereof for use primarily by motor vehicular traffic.

Section 3. The purpose of this act is to reduce the incidence of bicycle-related death and disability by requiring that, while riding on a bicycle on public roadways, public bicycle paths, or other public right-of-way, all operators and passengers wear approved bicycle helmets.

Section 4. It is unlawful for any person to use a bicycle on a public roadway, public bicycle path, other public rights-of-way, under any one of the following conditions:

(A) For any person to operate or be a passenger on a bicycle unless at all times the person wears a protective bicycle helmet of good fit, fastened securely upon the head with the straps of the helmet.

(B) For any parent or legal guardian of a person ages 17 and under to knowingly permit the person to operate or be a passenger on a bicycle in violation of subdivision (A) of this section.

(C) A local unit of government may adopt standards as strict or more stringent than the requirements of this section.

Section 5. (A) A person regularly engaged in the business of renting bicycles shall require each person seeking to rent a bicycle to provide his or her signature either on the rental form or on a separate form indicating both of the following:

(1) Receipt of a written explanation of the provisions of this act and the penalties for violations.

(2) A statement concerning whether a person ages 17 and under will operate the bicycle in an area where the use of a helmet is required.

(113 ,A person regularly engaged in the business of renting bicycles shall provide a helmet to any person who will operate the bicycle in an area requiring a helmet, if the person does not already have a helmet in his or her possession. A reasonable fee may be charged for the helmet rental.

(C) A person regularly engaged in the business of selling or renting bicycles who complies with this act shall not be liable in a civil action for damages for any physical injuries sustained by a bicycle operator or passenger as a result of the operator's or passenger's failure to wear a helmet or to wear a properly fitted or fastened helmet in violation of this act

Section 6. Failure to wear a bicycle helmet as described in Section 4 shall not be considered evidence of contributory negligence and shall be inadmissible in any civil action.

Section 7. Violations of Section 4 of this act shall be handled in the following manner:

(A) On the first offense, the violator shall be assessed a fine not to exceed $25.

(B) On the second offense and all subsequent offenses, the violator shall be assessed a fine not to, exceed $100.

(C) Fines assessed to violators ages 17 and under will be the legal responsibility of the violator's parent or guardian.

(D) The court may waive the fine on a first offense upon presentation of evidence that the violator has purchased or procured an approved bicycle helmet and demonstrates the intention of using the helmet as required by law.

Section 8. The State shall establish a statewide fund known as the "Bicycle Safety Fund." All monies in this fund shall be used for the following purposes:

(A) To create, improve and sustain a program of bicycle safety education offered to the public in each county in the State.

(B) To assist low-income families in the purchase and procurement of an approved bicycle helmet.

Section 9. This act shall become effective 90 days from its passage and approval by the Governor, or upon its otherwise becoming a law.

From:

Safe Kids USA
1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, STE 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1707
(202) 662-0600
Fax (202) 662-2072





BHSI suggests the following alternative wording for Paragraph E:

(E) PROTECTIVE BICYCLE HELMET. Headgear that meets or exceeds the impact standard for protective bicycle helmets set by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the American Society for Testing and Materials, or an established safety standard adopted by law.

We would also drop the words "of good fit" from Sec. 4, Para A., since it is vague and we do not think an officer of the law should be required to judge that.

Here is our page of standards references for helmet laws.




This page was revised or reformatted on: February 22, 2019.
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