Bicycle helmet laws by country

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

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country to enact mandatory bicycle helmet use for all cyclists.[3] Mexico City has had mandatory cycle helmet laws repealed, and in Italy the Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta managed to block a proposed helmet law.[4] While bicycle helmets are not required to be worn by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] Cycling UK, 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 Age Last Change Notes
 Argentina All 2004 Mandatory.[8] Fines are collected by the provinces.
 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.[9]
 Austria 12 2011 [10]
 Belgium None [11]
 Brazil None 1997

1995 - New Brunswick
1995 - Ontario*
1996 - British Columbia
1997 - Nova Scotia
2002 - Alberta*
2003 - Prince Edward Island
2013 - Manitoba*
2015 - Newfoundland and Labrador

In Manitoba applies to cyclists under 18 years of age.[12][13]

In Alberta and Ontario, applies to children under 18 years of age.[14][15]

In 2007 the Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) city council voted against mandatory helmet use.[16]

In Newfoundland and Labrador, applies to cyclists of all ages.[17]

 Chile All 2009 Mandatory in urban zones and suggested in rural zones [18]
 Czech Republic 18 2006 [7][19]
 Croatia 16 2008 [20]
 Denmark None
 Estonia 16 2011 [21]
 Finland None 2003[22] Not required, but recommended.[23]
 France 12 2017 Mandatory for children below 12 year old (passenger or driver), fines apply [24]
 Germany None
 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."[25]
 Hungary 2010 Wearing a helmet increases the speed limit for bicycles outside populated areas from 40 km/h to 50 km/h.[26]
 Iceland 15 1998 Iceland has considered - but not pursued - extending its helmet law to adults.[27][28][29]
 India None
 Ireland None [30]
 Israel 18 2011 Starting from 2011, only applies under 18 years of age, in interurban ways and during sport events.[31]
 Italy None
 Japan 13 2008 [27]
 Jersey 13 2014 Failure to comply with the Law could result in a fine being issued.[32]
 Latvia 12 2014
 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.[33]
 Mexico 2010 Mexico City repealed mandatory helmet laws in 2010.
 Namibia [34]
 New Zealand All 1993
 The Netherlands None [35]
 Poland None [7]
 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» [2])[7]
 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)[36]
 Singapore All Only power-assisted bicycle on a road[25][37]
 Slovakia All Compulsory for all cyclists only outside populated areas, for cyclists under 15 years of age anywhere.[38]
 Slovenia 15 2000 [7]
 South Africa All 2004 Compulsory for all cyclists but in practice the law is not enforced. No fine had been agreed.[3]
 South Korea 13 2006
 Spain All 2004 Required on interurban routes except when going uphill or in very hot weather, or for professional cyclists.[7][39]
 Sweden 15 2005 No penalty for children cycling alone who do not obey the law. Also applies to Segway use.[40]
  Switzerland None [25]
 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. [32][33]
 UAE All 2010 Dubai[27]
 Ukraine None
 United Kingdom None [25]
 United States Varies by state
 Uruguay 2015 [41]

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. ^ "Examples of successful campaigns". European Cyclists Federation. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Legislative and non-legislative interventions". British Medical Association. 17 February 2010. Archived from the original on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  6. ^ "CTC policy handbook". Cyclists' Touring Club. March 2004. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. 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") (PDF). Brussels: European Transport Safety Council. ISBN 90-76024-18-9.
  8. ^ "National Law 24,449 - Article 40 bis". InfoLEG.
  9. ^ Northern Territory Government - Bicycle safety
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Justice, Manitoba. "Manitoba Laws". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  13. ^ "Bike Safety | Injury Prevention | Healthy Living and Healthy Populations | Manitoba Healthy Living and Seniors | Province of Manitoba". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "City council decides unanimously against helmet proposal". Postmedia News. 17 April 2007. Archived from the original on 18 June 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  17. ^ [1], retrieved 5 August 2015
  18. ^
  19. ^ Helmet laws: Czech Republic, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  20. ^ "Zakon o sigurnosti prometa na cestama". Narodne Novine. 4 June 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b c d (Hong Kong) Written reply to Legco by Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, 4 June 2008
  26. ^
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ Helmet laws: Iceland, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  29. ^ Non-official Comment from the LHM President on Traffic Safety including Bicycle Helmet Compulsion, Landssamtök hjólreiðamanna
  30. ^ McGreevy, Ronan (15 October 2015). "Donohoe rules out making cycle helmets compulsory". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  31. ^ Israeli Law of Driving, amendment no. 99 (Hebrew)
  32. ^ States of Jersey. Jersey cycle helmet law. accessed 6 October 2014.
  33. ^ Low-powered vehicles and pedal cycles regulations.
  34. ^ "National Fine List".
  35. ^>
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-11-19. Retrieved 2011-12-31.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  38. ^
  39. ^ Helmet laws: Spain, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  40. ^ Helmet laws: Sweden, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  41. ^ "Lo que tiene que saber si va a salir a andar en bicicleta". El Observador (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-04-19.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]