Bicycle helmet laws by country

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  Mandatory state-wide
  Mandatory but no fines apply
  Partial rules apply
  Children only
  Some local laws apply
  No legal restrictions

The wearing of bicycle helmets, and attitudes towards their use vary around the world. Compulsory use of helmets has often been proposed and is the subject of much dispute (see Bicycle helmet laws), based largely on considerations of overall public health. Only two countries (Australia and New Zealand) currently require and enforce universal use of helmets by cyclists. In some other jurisdictions, partial rules apply - for children, in certain states or sub-national areas, or under other limited conditions.[1]


Denmark and the Netherlands have a strong cycling culture and have amongst the lowest levels of helmet use.[2]

Legislation by country[edit]

Australia was the first country to enact mandatory bicycle helmet use for all cyclists.[3] Mexico City has had mandatory cycle helmet laws repealed, and in Italy the Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicycletta managed to block a proposed helmet law.[4] While bicycle helmets are not required to be worn by law in the United Kingdom the British Medical Association advocates the compulsory use of helmets.[5] Cyclists' Touring Club, the largest cycling advocacy organisation in the UK, consider helmet wearing as personal choice rather than being mandated by legislation.[6] In 2002 an attempt was made to introduce bicycle helmet legislation in Poland but it was opposed by cyclists' organisations.[7]

Bicycle helmet legislation
Country Date enacted Notes
Australia 1989
Austria 2011 Under 12 years of age only.[8]
Brazil 1997 Mandatory in all states to all ages.

1995 - New Brunswick
1995 - Ontario*
1996 - British Columbia
1997 - Nova Scotia
2002 - Alberta*
2003 - Prince Edward Island
2013 - Manitoba*

In Manitoba applies to cyclists under 16 years of age.[9][10][11]

In Alberta and Ontario, applies to children under 18 years of age.[12][13]

In 2007 the Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) city council voted against mandatory helmet use.[14]

Chile 2009 Mandatory in urban zones and suggested in rural zones [15]
Czech Republic Under 15 years of age only.[7] Revised to under 18 with effect from July 2006.[16]
Croatia 2008 Under 16 years of age only.[17]
Finland 2003[18] Not enforced (no fine).
France No requirement [19]
Germany No requirement [19]
Hong Kong No requirement In 2009, Transport Secretary announced that government had no intention of introducing mandatory helmet law, based partly on "international views that a mandatory requirement may lead to a reduction in cycling activities."[19]
Hungary 2010 Wearing a helmet increases the speed limit for bicycles outside populated areas from 40 km/h to 50 km/h.[20]
Iceland 1998 Under 15 years of age only.[21] Iceland has considered - but not pursued - extending its helmet law to adults.


India No requirement
Israel 2007 Not enforced.[4] Starting from 2011, only applies under 18 years of age, in interurban ways and during sport events.[23]
Italy No requirement
Japan 2008 Under 13 years age only.[21]
Jersey 2014 From 6 October 2014, cycles helmets are compulsory (with limited exceptions) for children aged 13 years and under in Jersey. Failure to comply with the Law could result in a fine being issued.[24]
Latvia 2014 Under 12 years age only.
Malta 2004
Mexico Mexico City repealed mandatory helmet laws in 2010.
New Zealand 1993
The Netherlands No requirement [25]
Poland No requirement [7]
Portugal 2013 No requirement (except for users of electric power-assisted bicycles -art 82/n.5 of Traffic Law Code «Código da Estrada» [1])[7]
Singapore Only power-assisted bicycle on a road[19][26]
Slovakia Compulsory for all cyclists only outside populated areas, for cyclists under 15 years of age anywhere.[27]
Slovenia 2000 Under 15 years of age only.[7]
South Africa 2004 Compulsory for all cyclists but in practice the law is not enforced. No fine had been agreed.
South Korea 2006 Under 13 years of age only
Spain 2004 Required on interurban routes except when going uphill or in very hot weather, or for professional cyclists.[7][28]
Sweden 2005 Only applicable to children under 15 years old. No penalty for children cycling alone who do not obey the law. Also applies to Segway use.[29]
Switzerland No requirement [19]
UAE 2010 - Dubai [21]
United Kingdom No requirement [19]
United States Varies by state

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Helmet Laws for Bicycle Riders, (pro-compulsion) Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
  2. ^ "Safety in numbers". Homepage. Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation. 
  3. ^ Curnow, W. J. "Bicycle Helmets: A Scientific Evaluation" in Anton De Smet (2008). Transportation Accident Analysis and Prevention. Commack, N.Y: Nova Science Publishers. ISBN 1-60456-288-9. 
  4. ^ a b "Examples of successful campaigns". European Cyclists Federation. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Legislative and non-legislative interventions". British Medical Association. 17 February 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "CTC policy handbook". Cyclists' Touring Club. March 2004. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Avenoso, Antonio; Beckmann, Jörg (2005). The Safety of Vulnerable Road Users in the Southern, Eastern and Central European Countries (The "SEC Belt"). Brussels: European Transport Safety Council. ISBN 90-76024-18-9. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Ontario ministry of transportation, retrieved 4 March 2012
  10. ^ Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation, retrieved 4 March 2012
  11. ^ CBC Online 1 Apr 2013
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "City council decides unanimously against helmet proposal". Postmedia News. 17 April 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Helmet laws: Czech Republic, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  17. ^ "Zakon o sigurnosti prometa na cestama". Narodne Novine. 4 June 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b c d e f (Hong Kong) Written reply to Legco by Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, 4 June 2008
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b c "Bicycle Helmet Laws". Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. 5 January 2011. Archived from the original on 18 December 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  22. ^ Helmet laws: Iceland, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  23. ^ Israeli Law of Driving, amendment no. 99 (Hebrew)
  24. ^ States of Jersey. Jersey cycle helmet law. accessed 6 October 2014.
  25. ^>
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Helmet laws: Spain, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  29. ^ Helmet laws: Sweden, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]