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Bicycle Helmet Laws by Country 2024

Bicycle helmets are synonymous with safety - making them a no-brainer to most cycling enthusiasts. However, they’re often not the most stylish accessory, leading others to shun this potentially life-saving gear.

As opinions on helmets vary from person to person, so do they vary from country to country - sometimes significantly. Some nations enforce strict regulations, while others are content to “let it ride,” so to speak.

Read on to learn how different countries handle the issue.

Strict Helmet Regulations

Argentina, Cyprus, Australia, and New Zealand are the only countries that require and enforce cyclists to wear helmets.

Australia and New Zealand led the pack, enacting mandatory bicycle helmet laws in the early 90’s. Argentina followed suit in 2004, while Cyprus’ 2022 law makes them the most recent addition to the club.

Partial Helmet Laws

No, we’re not saying you only have to wear part of a helmet in these countries. Instead, their helmet laws apply only to specific individuals or places.

For instance, helmets are only mandatory in France for children under age 12. Canada’s approach is geographically fragmented, with the provinces of British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia requiring all cyclists to wear helmets. Meanwhile, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario only require riders under 18 to wear helmets.

Helmet laws in the United States are incredibly complex, varying according to state and a rider’s age. Some states have statewide laws around helmet use, while others have only local laws or laws for minors. Still other states have no laws around helmet use.

There is no nationwide requirement in the Philippines, but Quezon City has its own helmet laws.

No Helmet Laws

Countries like Denmark and Finland do not require helmets but recommend their use. Mexico City repealed its mandatory helmet laws in 2010 to align it with the rest of Mexico.

There are no helmet laws in the United Kingdom, though various organizations are debating their effectiveness in saving lives. Cycling UK believes helmet-wearing should be a personal choice, while the British Medical Association advocates compulsory helmet use.

The Bottom Line

Helmet use is estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50% and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33%. So whether your country requires helmets or not, it’s always a bright idea to wear one.

Download Table Data

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Country
Required Age
Most Recent Change
Additional Details
ArgentinaAll2004
Mandatory. Fines are collected by the provinces.
AustraliaAll1990–92
Compulsory for all ages in public spaces except for those older than 17 in the Northern Territory th...
Austria122011
BelgiumNone
BrazilNone1997
Canada
Laws vary by province and territory. Helmets are compulsory in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newf...
ChileAll2009
Mandatory in urban zones and suggested in rural zones.
Costa RicaAll2012
Croatia162011
Mandatory for children below 16 only if riding on a road.
CyprusAll2022
Mandatory for all riders.
Czech Republic182006
DenmarkNone
Estonia162011
FinlandNone2003
Not required, but recommended.
France122017
Mandatory for children below 12 year old (passenger or driver), fines apply.
GermanyNone
Hong KongNone
In 2009, Transport Secretary announced that government had no intention of introducing mandatory hel...
HungaryNone2010
Wearing a helmet increases the speed limit for bicycles outside populated areas from 40 km/h to 50 k...
Iceland151998
Iceland has considered – but not pursued – extending its helmet law to adults.
IndiaNone
IrelandNone
Isle of ManNone
Cyclists "should" wear helmets, but they are not compulsory.
Israel182011
Starting from 2011, only applies under 18 years of age, in interurban ways and during sport events.
ItalyNone
Japan132008
Article 63-11 of the Road Traffic Act requires that persons responsible for children under 13 must e...
Jersey132014
Failure to comply with the Law could result in a fine being issued.
Latvia122014
Malta102004
Bicycles: Only under 10 year olds riding as passengers on an adult's bicycle are required to wear a ...
MexicoNone2010
Mexico City repealed mandatory helmet laws in 2010.
NamibiaAll
NetherlandsNone
New ZealandAll1993
NorwayNone
PhilippinesNone2021
No requirement nationwide, but some cities such as Quezon City have helmet mandate laws, with non-co...
PolandNone
PortugalNone2013
RussiaNone2014
No requirement except for users of electric power-assisted bicycles with more than 250W engine or el...
SingaporeAll
Since 2018, all cyclists (power-assisted or not) must wear a helmet.
Slovakia15
Only cyclists under 15 years of age (no fines apply).
Slovenia152000
South AfricaAll2004
Compulsory for all cyclists but in practice the law is not enforced. No fine had been agreed.
South Korea132006
SpainAll (interurban roads)
Sweden152005
No penalty for children cycling alone who do not obey the law. Also applies to Segway use.
SwitzerlandNone
TogoAll2013
Mandatory helmet policy was enacted by the National Assembly of Togo, since 1975 but the enforcement...
UkraineNone
United Arab EmiratesAll2010
United KingdomNone
United States
21 states and the District of Columbia have statewide mandatory helmet laws for children. 29 US stat...
UruguayNone2015
showing: 51 rows

Which countries are cycle helmets compulsory?

Argentina, Cyprus, Australia, and New Zealand are the only countries that require and enforce cyclists to wear helmets.

Frequently Asked Questions