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 discussed, and is disputed (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. 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.
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 Mexico City has had mandatory cycle helmet laws repealed, and in Italy the Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta managed to block a proposed helmet law.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. Cycling UK, 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. 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.|
|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. In the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, the use of helmets is mandatory for cyclists under the age of 18 years.
Use of a helmet is not mandatory in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.
|Chile||All||2009||Mandatory in urban zones and suggested in rural zones |
|Croatia||16||2011||Mandatory for children below 16 only if riding on a road.|
|Finland||None||2003||Not required, but recommended.|
|France||12||2017||Mandatory for children below 12 year old (passenger or driver), fines apply |
|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.|
|Isle of Man||None||Cyclists "should" wear helmets, but they are not compulsory.|
|Israel||18||2011||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. |
|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||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|
|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||[note 3]||[note 4]|
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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