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Bicycle Helmet Laws in New York

Riding a bicycle in the city is one of the best ways to get around. It’s free, it’s good exercise, and it gives you a close-up look at your surroundings. However, the lack of a protective barrier usually provided by a car necessitates some extra safety precautions.

In New York State, everyone under the age of 14 is required by law to wear a helmet while riding on a bicycle, even as a passenger. Children younger than one year of age are not allowed to ride as passengers on a bicycle. There are no explicit laws requiring adults to wear helmets while riding a bike in New York State, but some counties like Rockland and Erie counties have passed laws requiring anyone riding within the county to wear a helmet.

Even though there is no law specifically requiring adults to wear a helmet while bike riding, a helmet could be the difference between life and death in a serious accident. According to a report from CBS 2, helmets reduce the risk of serious injury in a bicycle accident by up to 85%. Likewise, a report from 2008 found that 91% of bike riders killed in accidents that year were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. There is no state in America that requires adults over the age of 17 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, but it’s clearly important to wear one for public safety.  

According to the New York Police Department, 693 cyclists were injured in New York City in September 2020, and six cyclists died. Experts suggest that wearing a helmet could save your life in the event of a collision.

Still, children under the age of 14 are required by state law to wear a helmet any time they are riding on a bike. Parents could be fined up to $50 if their child is riding without one. Helmets can reduce the risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury by 88% in the event of an accident.

Selecting a Bicycle Helmet

When shopping for a helmet, there are a few factors to take into consideration. The New York Health Department recommends looking for the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) sticker on the helmet. This ensures that the helmet meets safety standards. The helmet should sit on your head evenly and snugly, not tipping forward or backward. There should be about two finger widths distance between the front of the helmet and your eyebrows. Always keep the helmet buckled under your chin while riding.

Contact a New York Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation, even if you were partly at fault. The New York accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can build your case and help you win maximum compensation for your injuries. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 to schedule your free consultation.


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