3/1/2006 - Bicycle Helmet Law Changes

Bicycle Helmet Law Changes

   Effective March 1, 2006 New Jersey's Bicycle Helmet Law will change. Young people under the age of 17 will be required to wear an approved helmet when cycling, roller skating, in-line skating, or skateboarding.

   Each year, bicyclists are killed or injured in New Jersey due to bicycle crashes. Many bicycle deaths result from bicycle-motor vehicle collisions. However, injuries can happen anywhere, including parks, bike paths and driveways, and often do not involve motor vehicles.

   Head injury is the most serious injury type and the most common cause of death among bicyclists. The most severe injuries are those to the brain that cause permanent damage. Bicycle helmets can prevent or diminish the severity of these injuries.

Helmet Law

Title 39:4-10.1
In New Jersey, anyone under 14 years of age that rides a bicycle or is a passenger on a bicycle, or is towed as a passenger by a bicycle must wear a safety helmet.
(Note: Effective March 1, 2006, those under 17 are required to wear a bike helmet.)

On August 1, 1998 this helmet law was extended to include roller and inline skates and skateboards. Roller skates means a pair of devices worn on the feet with a set of wheels attached, regardless of the number or placement of those wheels and used to glide or propel the user over the ground.

The definition of bicycle with reference to the helmet legislation is a vehicle with two wheels propelled solely by human power and having pedals, handle bars and a saddle-like seat. The term shall include a bicycle for two or more persons having seats and corresponding pedals arranged in tandem.

All helmets must be properly fastened and fitted. Bicycle helmets must meet the federal standards developed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) effective March 10, 1999 that ensure the best head protection and strong chin straps to keep the helmet in place during a fall or collision. Also acceptable are helmets meeting the Snell Memorial Foundation’s 1990 Standard for Protection Headgear.

Exemptions from the helmet requirement are persons who operate or ride a bicycle (as a driver or a passenger) on a roadway closed to motor traffic; on a trail, route, course, boardwalk, path or area set aside only for the use of bicycles. These exemptions do not apply if the areas of operation are adjacent to a roadway and not separated from motor vehicle traffic by a barrier that prevents the bicycle from entering the roadway. Bicyclists or passengers operating in an area where helmets are not required who need to cross a road or highway should walk with the bicycle.

Initial violators of the helmet law will receive warnings. For minors, the parent or legal guardian may be fined a maximum of $25 for the 1 st offense and a maximum of $100 for subsequent offense(s), if lack of parental supervision contributed to the offense.

Bicycle salespersons and rental agents must display a sign at least 15 inches long and 8 inches wide at the point where the transaction is completed when they sell or rent a bicycle. This sign should read: “STATE LAW REQUIRES A BICYCLE RIDER UNDER 14 YEARS TO WEAR A HELMET.” In the case of bicycle rentals, the salesperson/rental agent must provide a helmet, if necessary, for a fee.
(Note: Effective March 1, 2006, those under 17 are required to wear a bike helmet.)