Understanding New York’s Bike Helmet Law

Fallen bicycle in front of a car

If you enjoy cycling in New York, you should be aware of recent updates in New York’s bike helmet law. Cyclists should know their rights and responsibilities in case of an accident. As personal injury attorneys in NY, we’ve unfortunately dealt with numerous bicycle accident cases. To help simplify things, let’s unpack New York’s bike helmet law and offer advice on steps to take if you’re injured while biking without a helmet.

Understanding New York's Bike Helmet Law

New York State law requires kids under age 14 to wear a helmet when biking. The goal is to safeguard children from head injuries if they’re in a bicycle accident. That said, wearing a helmet is not mandatory for anyone over 14 years old. We still strongly encourage adults to wear helmets, too, though, for everyone’s safety.

Implications for Personal Injury Cases

Did you know being in an accident without wearing a helmet can affect your personal injury case? We’re not saying that not wearing a helmet makes you automatically liable for the accident, but it can potentially affect the outcome of your case, especially if you sustained a head injury.

The concept of comparative negligence often comes into play in bicycle accident cases. Comparative negligence means the court weighs the degree to which each party contributed to the accident. These factors will play a role in determining liability and compensation. If you were injured while riding without a helmet, the other party can argue your injuries were worse than they otherwise would’ve been. In other words, they’ll try to lessen their responsibility by claiming you share some fault for your injuries.

What to Do If You're Injured While Riding Without a Helmet

If you’re injured in a bicycle accident while riding without a helmet in New York, follow these steps:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health and safety should always come first. Seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think your injuries are that bad.
  2. Document the Accident: Take pictures of the accident scene, including any visible injuries and property damage. Get contact info from any witnesses who saw the accident occur.
  3. Contact Law Enforcement: Report the accident to the police and get a copy of the accident report. Official documentation can be important evidence in your personal injury case.
  4. Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney: An experienced NY personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and options. They can evaluate the circumstances of your case and let you know the best way to proceed.


Even though New York’s law doesn’t require adult cyclists to wear a helmet, doing so can significantly reduce the risk of head injuries during a bicycle accident. If you’re injured while riding without a helmet, get legal guidance from a knowledgeable NY bicycle accident attorney. Remember, your safety is the most important thing, so always prioritize wearing a helmet whenever you ride a bike.


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