Bicycle helmet laws by country
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.
Legislation by country
Australia was the first country to enact mandatory bicycle helmet use for all cyclists. Mexico City has had mandatory cycle helmet laws repealed, and in Italy the Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta managed to block a proposed helmet law. 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. Cyclists' Touring Club, the largest cycling advocacy organisation in the UK, consider helmet wearing as personal choice rather than being mandated by legislation. In 2002 an attempt was made to introduce bicycle helmet legislation in Poland but it was opposed by cyclists' organisations.
|Argentina||All||2004||Mandatory but no fines apply |
|Australia||All||1990-92||Compulsory for all ages except on Northern Territory public spaces that are not roads (e.g. footpaths, cycle paths) for over 17s.|
1995 - New Brunswick
|In Manitoba applies to cyclists under 18 years of age.
In 2007 the Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) city council voted against mandatory helmet use.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, applies to cyclists of all ages.
|Chile||All||2009||Mandatory in urban zones and suggested in rural zones |
|Finland||None||2003||Not required, but recommended.|
|Hong Kong||None||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."|
|Hungary||2010||Wearing a helmet increases the speed limit for bicycles outside populated areas from 40 km/h to 50 km/h.|
|Iceland||15||1998||Iceland has considered - but not pursued - extending its helmet law to adults.|
|Israel||18||2011||Not enforced. Starting from 2011, only applies under 18 years of age, in interurban ways and during sport events.|
|Jersey||13||2014||Failure to comply with the Law could result in a fine being issued.|
|Malta||10||2004||Bicycles: Only under 10 year olds riding as passengers on an adult's bicycle are required to wear a helmet. Pedelecs: All users must wear helmets.|
|Mexico||2010||Mexico City repealed mandatory helmet laws in 2010.|
|Portugal||None||2013||No requirement (except for users of continuously powered electric bicycles (i.e. e-bikes) -art 82/n.5 of Traffic Law Code «Código da Estrada» )|
|Russia||None||2014||No requirement (except for users of electric power-assisted bicycles with more than 250W engine or electric powered speed excess 25 km/h)|
|Singapore||All||Only power-assisted bicycle on a road|
|Slovakia||All||Compulsory for all cyclists only outside populated areas, for cyclists under 15 years of age anywhere.|
|South Africa||All||2004||Compulsory for all cyclists but in practice the law is not enforced. No fine had been agreed.|
|Spain||All||2004||Required on interurban routes except when going uphill or in very hot weather, or for professional cyclists.|
|Sweden||15||2005||No penalty for children cycling alone who do not obey the law. Also applies to Segway use.|
|Togo||All||2013||Mandatory helmet policy was enacted by the National Assembly of Togo, since 1975 but the enforcement by the National Police only started in Jun 2013 upon enactment of a new road code. |
|United States||Varies by state|
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- Helmet laws: Iceland, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
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- Israeli Law of Driving, amendment no. 99 (Hebrew)
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