To wear a helmet or not to wear – your questions answered
Whether cyclists must wear a helmet depends on how old the cyclist is, however there are some complications for parents and guardians of minor cyclists. Section 104 of the Highway Traffic Act (“HTA”) appears straightforward, stating that “no person shall ride or operate a bicycle on a highway unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet that complies with the regulations and the chin strap of the helmet is securely fastened under the chin.” So far this is simple enough.
*However, this section does not apply to people who are 18 or older, meaning that adults are not legally required to wear helmets. The HTA also contains provisions which mean that parents and guardians can be responsible for ensuring that children in their care wear a helmet, so long as those children are less than 16 years old.
If you are over 18, you are not required to wear a helmet. However, if you are the parent or guardian of a child who is less than 16 years old, you cannot knowingly permit them to ride a bike without a helmet. This includes children who are passengers on bikes, such as children riding in a bike trailer. If you have children who are 16-17 years old, you are not responsible for whether or not they wear a helmet.
If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must wear a helmet and can be held responsible for not wearing one.
If you are less than 16 years old, you must wear a helmet, but your parent or guardian is responsible for ensuring that you wear one.
Regardless of whether or not you are legally required to wear a helmet, not wearing a helmet can affect your case if you are injured in an accident. If wearing a helmet would have prevented some of your injuries, a court may determine that you have contributed to your injuries by not wearing the helmet. If you are a cyclist who has been injured in a collision and you have questions about what your options are, speak to a cyclist lawyer who is familiar with how the rules of the road apply to cyclists.
My next blog will focus on getting doored and the importance of taking the right steps to help you with your case.