ClickCease New York Bicycle Helmet Laws: Explained

Get A Free Case Evaluation

Bicycle Helmet Laws in New York

Seth Harris

Last modified on April 1, 2024

Bicycle Helmet Laws in New York

Wearing a helmet is always smart when riding a bicycle in New York. However, you may have questions about what the law says, like, “Does New York have a helmet law?”  “Is it illegal to ride a bike without a helmet in New York?” and “Do adults have to wear bike helmets in New York?”

There are some scenarios in New York where riding a bicycle without a helmet is legal. However, doing so may be unwise. Along with protecting yourself, wearing a bicycle might improve your chances of receiving compensation if you’re ever injured in a bicycle wreck.

New York Bicycle Helmet Laws: The Basics

The following points summarize New York’s bicycle helmet law:

  • No one under 14 may operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet that conforms to New York’s bicycle helmet safety standards.
  • If a bicycle passenger is five years of age or older but younger than 14, they must wear a bicycle helmet. If a passenger is younger than five but older than one year of age, they must wear a helmet and sit in a separate seat that protects a passenger from a bicycle’s moving parts. The law prohibits riding with a passenger under the age of one in any capacity.
  • Anyone operating a Class-3 electric bicycle must wear a helmet regardless of age.

In New York, a Class-3 electric bicycle is an e-bike with the following qualities:

  • The bicycle is in operation in a city with a population of one million or more.
  • The bicycle has an electric motor that can be the only method of propulsion.
  • The electric motor can provide assistance up to the point that the vehicle reaches a speed of twenty-five miles per hour but no faster.

NY Counties Can Set Their Own Bicycle Helmet Laws

Individual counties in New York may establish and enforce bicycle helmet laws that differ from state law. For example, all bicyclists in Rockland County must wear helmets when riding bicycles. Regardless of age, the law always applies when a bicyclist is on county roads or land.

Impact of Helmet Use on Injury Claims

Obeying the rules of the road can boost your safety on a bicycle. Unfortunately, it’s still possible to get hurt in a bicycle wreck someone else causes.

You may be eligible for compensation in these circumstances. For example, perhaps you sustained injuries when a motorist struck you because they weren’t paying enough attention to the road to spot you. You could file a claim with their auto insurance carrier. Filing an insurance claim is a way to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and similar losses that might result from a bicycle crash.

Various factors can influence how much compensation you may be eligible to receive in these circumstances. Whether you were wearing a bicycle helmet at the time of the crash may be one such factor.

Bicycle Accident Claims and Helmet Regulations: How Not Wearing a Helmet Affects Your Case

Bicycle Helmet Laws in New YorkLike many states, New York has a contributory negligence law. The law states that the amount of money someone is eligible to receive in a personal injury case may depend on whether their own actions or carelessness played a role in their injuries.

To return to the example from the previous section, maybe you weren’t wearing a helmet when the wreck occurred. An insurance company might argue that your injuries would have been less severe had you taken steps to protect yourself. Perhaps they determine you are 30 percent responsible for your injuries because you were not wearing a helmet.

Maybe you would have been eligible to receive $10,000 if the motorist who caused the wreck was solely responsible. Because you’re 30 percent responsible, the most you could receive in compensation would be $7,000.

The extent to which not wearing a helmet impacts your case can depend on several factors. For example, the choice to not wear a helmet will typically have a greater impact if you decide not to wear a helmet in a situation when the law requires you to.

Contact a New York Bicycle Accident Attorney

Is it illegal to ride a bike without a helmet in NY, New York? Hiring a lawyer to represent you when seeking compensation after a bicycle wreck is advisable for many reasons. In general, a lawyer can assist with the many tasks the claims process involves, such as gathering evidence, documenting losses, and negotiating with insurance adjusters. A New York bicycle accident attorney from [firm-name] can also advise you about the way helmet laws may affect your case. Learn more by contacting us online and calling our team at [phone-number linked=true] today for a free case review.

Related Posts:

How a Lawyer Can Help You With Your Injury Insurance Claim

Insurance Claims and Pre-existing Conditions

Over $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements

Our track record showcases over $500 million won for our clients. Each victory underlines our commitment to justice and client care. Explore our impact, case by case.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.



Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).



A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.



A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.



The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.



The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.



Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.



The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.



The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.



The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.



A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
fall and break her wrist.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

What Our Clients Say About Us

arien machicotearien machicote
20:55 17 Jul 24
I must say I am extremely happy and amazed at the incredible work at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb they were always available if I had any questions and they were always answered with very professionallyJason Steinberg is a great lawyer and I will always highly suggest this law firm and team to anyone out their. Thank you again to everyone at this incredible Firm!!!
Cole ColdwaterCole Coldwater
19:36 20 Jun 24
My experience with Harris Keenan and Goldfarb was wonderful. My legal representative, Steven LaRocca with Samantha Walton always made me feel well defended and cared for, in a way that went beyond professional representation and into the realm of caring about me on a personal level. Steven, Samantha and Seth Harris got me a great outcome and I can’t thank them enough!
Jennifer RosarioJennifer Rosario
14:16 05 Jun 24
The best law firm I have ever went with thank you so much
david Santiagodavid Santiago
18:05 21 Mar 24
Maria RoqueMaria Roque
20:49 15 Mar 24
Excellent person, very Professional, they assist you in any language, your call is always answered. I recommend you for any case of support you have, your refund is satisfactory. and fast
14:09 02 Mar 24
I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
Robert LennonRobert Lennon
15:26 21 Feb 24
Patient and diligence is how I describe the effort of HKG the work was thorough, honest and fair, I have no complaints. Special thanks to attorney Blake and his paralegal Thierry.
Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
18:48 15 Jan 24
I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
Solange IsaacSolange Isaac
17:52 08 Jan 24
I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
Brittany DempseyBrittany Dempsey
16:02 08 Jan 24
My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
Read More Client Testimonials

Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions that prospective clients have about personal injury claims include:

  • Do I need an attorney?

    When you have suffered an injury, it can be difficult to know what to do next. If the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. However, filing a personal injury claim can be a complex and time-consuming process. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system and fight for the maximum possible compensation.

  • How do I know I have a case?

  • When should I contact an attorney?

  • How do I determine which one to choose?

  • Once I hire an attorney, what should I expect?

  • Recent News

    Find out how to move forward after an unexpected event with our short, helpful articles. We share simple advice that can make a big difference in tough times.

    Contact Us

    Get A Free Case Evaluation Today