Bicycle helmet laws by country

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  No legal restrictions
  Some local laws apply
  Children only; other local laws may also exist
  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 discussed, and is disputed[1] (see Bicycle helmet laws). Only the three countries of Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand currently both require and enforce universal use of helmets by cyclists. In some other jurisdictions partial rules apply, such as only for children (e.g. in France), in certain states or sub-national divisions (e.g. British Columbia in Canada), or under other limited conditions.[2] Denmark and the Netherlands, while two of the countries with the strongest cycling culture, do not compel and have some of the lowest levels of helmet use.[3]

Legislation by country[edit]

Australia was the first country to enact mandatory bicycle helmet use for all cyclists.[4] Mexico City has had mandatory cycle helmet laws repealed, and in Italy the Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta managed to block a proposed helmet law.[5] While bicycle helmets are not required to be worn by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.[6] Cycling UK, the largest cycling advocacy organisation in the UK, consider helmet wearing as personal choice rather than being mandated by legislation.[7] In 2002 an attempt was made to introduce bicycle helmet legislation in Poland but it was opposed by cyclists' organisations.[8]

Bicycle helmet legislation
Country Age Last Change Notes
 Argentina All 2004 Mandatory.[9] 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.[10]
 Austria 12 2011 [11]
 Belgium None [12]
 Brazil None 1997
 Canada [note 1] [note 2] Legislation on the use of bicycle helmets originates from provincial and territorial legislation. As a result, laws surrounding the use of bicycle helmets varies across the provinces and territories of Canada.

The use of bicycle helmets is compulsory in the provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.[13] In the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, the use of helmets is mandatory for cyclists under the age of 18 years.[14][15][16][17]

Use of a helmet is not mandatory in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.[18]

 Chile All 2009 Mandatory in urban zones and suggested in rural zones [19]
 Costa Rica All 2012 [20][21]
 Croatia 16 2011 Mandatory for children below 16 only if riding on a road.[22]
 Czech Republic 18 2006 [8][23]
 Denmark None
 Estonia 16 2011 [24]
 Finland None 2003[25] Not required, but recommended.[26]
 France 12 2017 Mandatory for children below 12 year old (passenger or driver), fines apply [27]
 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."[28]
 Hungary 2010 Wearing a helmet increases the speed limit for bicycles outside populated areas from 40 km/h to 50 km/h.[29]
 Iceland 15 1998 Iceland has considered - but not pursued - extending its helmet law to adults.[30][31][32]
 India None
 Ireland None [33]
Isle of Man None Cyclists "should" wear helmets, but they are not compulsory.[34]
 Israel 18 2011 Starting from 2011, only applies under 18 years of age, in interurban ways and during sport events.[35]
 Italy None
 Japan 13 2008 [30]
 Jersey 13 2014 Failure to comply with the Law could result in a fine being issued.[36]
 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. [37]
 Mexico 2010 Mexico City repealed mandatory helmet laws in 2010.
 Namibia [38]
 New Zealand All 1993
 Netherlands None [39]
 Poland None [8]
 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])[8]
 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)[40]
 Singapore All From Year 2018, all cyclist (power-assisted or not) must use helmet.
 Slovakia 15 Only cyclists under 15 years of age (No fines apply) a[41]
 Slovenia 15 2000 [8]
 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.[8][42]
 Sweden 15 2005 No penalty for children cycling alone who do not obey the law. Also applies to Segway use.[43]
  Switzerland None [28]
 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[30]
 Ukraine None
 United Kingdom None [28]
 United States [note 3] [note 4]
 Uruguay 2015 [44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The federal Government of Canada has not passed any legislation regarding the use of bicycle helmets. Compulsory use of helmets for those of a certain age is dependent on the province/territory
  2. ^ Legislation on bicycle helmet use in Canada was passed by provincial/territorial governments, and not the federal government. 1995 was the last change to bicycle helmet-related legislation in New Brunswick, and Ontario; 1996 was the last change to bicycle helmet-related legislation in British Columbia; 1997 was the last change to bicycle helmet-related legislation in Nova Scotia; 2002 was the last change to bicycle helmet-related legislation in Alberta; 2003 was the last change to bicycle helmet-related legislation in Prince Edward Island; 2013 was the last change to bicycle helmet-related legislation in Manitoba; 2015 was the last change to bicycle helmet-related legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  3. ^ The federal government of the United States has not passed any legislation over the use of bicycle helmets. Compulsory use of helmets for those of a certain age is dependent on local/state legislation
  4. ^ The federal government of the United States has not passed any legislation over the use of bicycle helmets. Legislation on bicycle helmet use in the United States are passed by local/state governments within the United States.


  1. ^ Zee, Renate van der (2015-10-12). "Should bike helmets be compulsory? Lessons from Seattle and Amsterdam". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-06-02.
  2. ^ Helmet Laws for Bicycle Riders, (pro-compulsion) Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
  3. ^ "Safety in numbers". Homepage. Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Examples of successful campaigns". European Cyclists Federation. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Legislative and non-legislative interventions". British Medical Association. 17 February 2010. Archived from the original on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  7. ^ "CTC policy handbook". Cyclists' Touring Club. March 2004. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  8. ^ 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  9. ^ "National Law 24,449 - Article 40 bis". InfoLEG.
  10. ^ Northern Territory Government - Bicycle safety
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ [1], retrieved 5 August 2015
  14. ^ Justice, Manitoba. "Manitoba Laws". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  15. ^ "Bike Safety | Injury Prevention | Healthy Living and Healthy Populations | Manitoba Healthy Living and Seniors | Province of Manitoba". Archived from the original on 2016-06-16. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  16. ^ Government of Ontario Ministry of Transportation. "Bicycle Safety". Retrieved 7 May 2020. All bicycle riders under the age of 18 are required to wear an approved bicycle helmet when travelling on any public road.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "City council decides unanimously against helmet proposal". Postmedia News. 17 April 2007. Archived from the original on 18 June 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Obligaciones de los ciclistas (Articulo #119)". Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  21. ^ "Nº 9078 LEY DE TRÁNSITO POR VÍAS PÚBLICAS TERRESTRES Y SEGURIDAD VIAL, ARTÍCULO 119. -Obligaciones de los ciclistas". 26 October 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Zakon o izmjenama i dopunama Zakona o sigurnosti prometa na cestama". Narodne Novine. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  23. ^ Helmet laws: Czech Republic, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ a b c (Hong Kong) Written reply to Legco by Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, 4 June 2008
  29. ^
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ Helmet laws: Iceland, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  32. ^ Non-official Comment from the LHM President on Traffic Safety including Bicycle Helmet Compulsion, Landssamtök hjólreiðamanna
  33. ^ McGreevy, Ronan (15 October 2015). "Donohoe rules out making cycle helmets compulsory". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  34. ^ "The Manx Highway Code" (PDF). Isle of Man Government. p. 23. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  35. ^ Israeli Law of Driving, amendment no. 99 Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine (Hebrew)
  36. ^ States of Jersey. Jersey cycle helmet law. accessed 6 October 2014.
  37. ^ Low-powered vehicles and pedal cycles regulations.
  38. ^ "National Fine List".
  39. ^>
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ Helmet laws: Spain, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  43. ^ Helmet laws: Sweden, Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation
  44. ^ "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]