California Bicycle Helmet Laws 2024 – What You Need to Know

There are many benefits to the temperate California weather, one of which is the ability to ride a bicycle at any time of year. Biking can be a fun way to exercise, get around, and see your neighborhood. Furthermore, it is an environmentally friendly alternative to driving or ride-sharing options.

If you and your family like to ride bicycles, it is important that you understand the California laws and regulations that apply. Following these laws can help keep you safe. It can also ensure that you do not face unexpected legal fees or tickets after a bike ride.

California Bicycle Helmet Laws

Bicycle Helmets

Helmets are the best form of bicycle safety equipment that you can use. They may also be required by law, depending on your family’s circumstances.

If you are an adult riding a non-motorized bicycle, you are not required to wear a helmet if you choose not to. There are studies and circumstantial evidence that show that helmets can prevent serious brain damage. However, it is within your rights to decide whether you want to wear one if you are over the age of 18.

Individuals under the age of 18 must wear a helmet regardless of where they are riding. When using any sidewalks, bike paths, trails, or parks, the rider must wear a helmet if they are younger than 18. Private property is the only place where a minor may ride their bike without a helmet if they so choose. However, the state of California strongly suggests that all bicycle riders always wear helmets, regardless of age or location.

If a minor is caught violating the bicycle helmet laws, they are subject to a fine of up to twenty-five dollars. The child’s parents are liable for this amount if the minor cannot pay.

If you are riding with a child in a bicycle trailer or stroller, they must wear a helmet if they are 5 years old or younger. This includes babies and toddlers riding with their parents.

Finding a Proper Helmet

Although there are many bicycle helmets on the market, it can be difficult to determine which is right for you. Fortunately, there are several benchmarks for a good helmet that you can test before you buy.

  1. Size
    Size is the most important aspect of a good helmet. To get yourself into the right general size, measure the circumference of your head before you shop. This will help you match the size of your head with the various helmet sizes on the market. The helmet should be large enough to properly fit your head. However, it should also be snug enough that it does not shift around.
  2. Position
    A helmet should fit on your head and remain level as you turn and move your head. The brim should sit approximately two finger widths, or one inch, above your eyebrows.
  3. Straps
    The helmet straps should sit snugly under your chin and keep the helmet in place on your head. With the helmet buckled, the helmet should not move when you turn or jostle your head.
  4. Expiration Date
    Although many people are unaware of this, helmets do have an expiration date. This is because the materials that protect your head from damage can begin to break down over time, especially when exposed to sun, dirt, sweat, and other elements. Be sure to check your helmet’s expiration date and replace it before it expires to best protect yourself.

FAQs

Q: What Is the Law on Bike Helmets in California?

A: Bike helmets are required for all bicyclists under the age of 18. If a child is in a carrier or bicycle attachment and is under the age of 5, they must also wear a helmet. Helmets are not legally required for adults. However, the state strongly recommends that all bicyclists wear helmets regardless of age, experience, or the location of their ride. This helps protect against serious head and neck injuries that can occur in bicycle accidents.

Q: Can You Get a Ticket for Not Wearing a Helmet on a Bicycle in California?

A: Yes. If an individual is caught not wearing a helmet when they are legally required to, they will likely receive a fine between $25 and $200. Since minors are the only population that is legally required to wear helmets, the parents are usually legally responsible for paying the fines. If your children ride their bikes on public property of any kind, they should always wear a helmet for safety and to avoid legal action.

Q: Is There a Bicycle Helmet Law in California for Adults?

A: No. Adults are not required to wear helmets while riding regular, non-motorized bicycles. Children under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets while riding bicycles. Children under the age of 5 must wear a helmet if they are riding in a bicycle attachment with an adult. All motorcycle or motor-driven bicycle drivers and riders must wear a helmet that has been approved by the United States Department of Transportation.

Q: Can Helmets Expire?

A: Yes. Although they are not edible, helmets still have an expiration date. The protective materials in a helmet begin to break down over time, especially when exposed to the elements. You should always check your helmet’s expiration date and be sure to replace it before the day passes. This helps to ensure your safety and prevent serious neck and head injuries from occurring.

Kreeger Law Firm for Your Bicycle Accident Claims

Even if you follow all bicycle laws, wear your helmet, and remain alert while riding, accidents can still occur. Negligent drivers, pedestrians, and other bikers can cause accidents that result in injuries for you and your family. In these cases, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the individual who hurt you.

Filing a personal injury claim after a bicycle accident can be emotionally and logistically difficult. You need an attorney who understands the process and can help you navigate these laws. Our team at Kreeger Law Firm provides top-notch legal care for individuals and families who have been in bicycle accidents.

For more information, contact Kreeger Law Firm online today.