After living through one of the worst winters on record, New Yorkers from all over the state have taken to the paths and streets on bicycles. The sheer joy of gliding with the wind and traveling through some of the most picturesque scenery in the United States attracts cyclists from other states as well. However, the New York Department of Health feels compelled to share a few sobering bicycle accident facts.

  • 54 New York State residents lose their lives each year in bicycle accidents
  • Over 2,000 New York State residents spend time receiving hospital care for bicycle-related injuries
  • Head injuries have become the leading cause of death and permanent disability in bicycle accidents
  • Head injuries comprise more than 60 percent of bicycle-related deaths

The reasons for New York bicycle helmet laws

Since brain injuries rank as the most serious injury sustained by cyclists, the State of New York Health Department requested stricter helmet laws. Helmets prevent or even eliminate head injuries caused by strong impacts with moving object such as automobiles and stationary objects such as trees. Bicycles can reach speeds in excess of 20 miles per hour, which coupled with the distance riders fall, leads to the brain crashing against the skull. Studies conducted in the United States and abroad prove that cyclists that wear helmets have a much less chance of sustaining serious head injuries ( The lifelong impact of head injuries includes changes in thought processes, as well as provoking the onset of dementia.

The cost of a bicycle helmet pales in comparison to the costs incurred by suffering a head injury. Hence, New York adopted a clearly written bicycle helmet law.

How the New York bicycle helmet law reads

Under New York Statue § 1238, “Passengers on bicycles under one year of age prohibited; passengers and operators under fourteen years of age to wear protective headgear.” New York State fines violators of the law, which parents typically must pay. The helmet law also mandates that working professionals, such as couriers, must also wear helmets at all times during the course of a workday. If a parent demonstrates ownership of a bicycle helmet for a child, then New York State has the legal right to waive the $50 fine.

If you have been hurt, whether you were on a bicycle with or without a helmet, then you may be entitled to a cash settlement in compensation for past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, lost wages and medical bills. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, New York lawyer who handles accident and personal injury cases. He has over 32 years of experience practicing law. If you were hurt, call 718-514-6619 to schedule a free in-person consultation. Home and hospital visits are available if you have been seriously injured. Visit to learn more about Mr. Lutzky.