Ohio Bicycle Helmet Laws | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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No statewide Ohio bicycle helmet law requires cyclists to wear a helmet. But many Ohio cities have ordinances that require children under a certain age to wear a bike helmet while riding. These bike laws were enacted to protect children; however, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of injury and death for cyclists of all ages.

If you or a loved one were hit by a car while riding a bike or hurt on a bicycle in Ohio, you should speak to the Ohio bike accident lawyers at KNR about your area’s bike helmet laws and your legal right to recover compensation. Contact KNR at 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free consultation today.

Ohio’s Bike Helmet Laws

An analysis of bike helmet safety studies found that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 48% and serious head injury by up to 60%. In addition, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of death by 34%. Despite these facts, Ohio state law does not require riders to wear a helmet on a non-motorized bicycle.

However, when operating a moped or motorized bike on public roadways in Ohio, if you are under 18, you must wear a helmet with the chin strap fastened.

Ohio Bike Helmet Laws by City

Even though no federal or Ohio state law mandates the use of a bike helmet, many Ohio communities have enacted local bike helmet laws for children. Most of these helmet laws are limited to children under 18, but there are cities where bike helmets are only mandatory for children under 16. Failure to comply with the law can result in a fine, which increases for subsequent offenses.

Ohio Cities with Bike Helmet Laws Include:

  • Akron – Under 16
  • Beachwood – Under 16
  • Bexley – Under 16
  • Centerville – Under 18
  • Cincinnati – Under 16
  • Columbus – Under 18
  • Dayton – Under 13
  • Cleveland – Under 18
  • Euclid – Under 14
  • Kettering – Under 16
  • Lakewood – Under 18
  • Strongsville – Under 12

Ohio Bike Helmet Statistics

According to the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, all states (including Ohio) should enact laws requiring bicyclists, especially children, to wear helmets to stem bicycle deaths and prevent devastating injuries based on the following:

  • Estimates show that in Ohio, just 10-20% of children wear bike helmets.
  • 75% of bike-related fatalities would be prevented with a helmet.
  • Besides cars, bicycles are tied to more childhood injuries than trampolines, ladders, and swimming pools.

Helmets Reduce the Risk of Injury

It is important to note that while Ohio’s local helmet laws only apply to children, it is recommended that all cyclists wear a helmet to reduce the risk of injury and death.

Head injuries are typical of bicycle accidents, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI). TBIs can result in long-term cognitive and physical disabilities, significantly impacting a person’s quality of life. In addition, the cost of treating a TBI can be substantial, resulting in a significant financial burden for the victim and their family.

One of the most important benefits of wearing a helmet is that it can prevent or reduce the severity of head injuries. Helmets are designed to absorb the impact of a crash and distribute the force of the impact over a larger area. This can help prevent skull fractures and brain injuries. In addition, helmets can also reduce the risk of facial injuries, which can be particularly devastating in a crash.

Helmets Are Not 100% Guaranteed

While wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of injury and death, they are not foolproof. Helmets are designed to protect the head in the event of a crash, but they cannot prevent all injuries. Helmets are only effective if they are worn properly. A helmet not fitted correctly or worn securely can be ineffective in a crash.

Other Ohio Bike Safety Laws

Aside from a helmet requirement, Ohio has several bicycle safety laws that cyclists should be aware of:

  • Lights and Reflectors: Bicycles must have a white headlight visible from the front and a red reflector or light visible from the rear when riding at night.
  • Riding on the Road: Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles when riding on the roadway. Bicyclists must ride as near the right side of the road as practicable except when passing, preparing for a left turn, or avoiding unsafe conditions.
  • Bike Lanes: If a bicycle lane is available, a cyclist must use it unless it is obstructed or unsafe.
  • Passing: Motorists passing a bicycle must do so at a safe distance of at least three feet.
  • Yielding: Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and crosswalks.
  • Impaired Riding: Bicyclists may not ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Use of Headphones: It is illegal to wear headphones or earbuds in both ears while riding a bicycle.
  • Electric Bicycles: Ohio law defines three classes of electric bicycles with different rules for each.

These are just a few of Ohio’s key bicycle safety laws, and other laws and regulations may apply in certain situations. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road before heading out on a bicycle.

How Bike Helmets Impact Injury Claims

In personal injury claims and lawsuits, the issue of wearing a helmet can be a complicated one. In some cases, the failure to wear a helmet can be used to argue that the victim was at least partially responsible for their injuries. This is known as the “contributory negligence” defense.

Under this defense, a defendant may argue that the victim’s failure to wear a helmet contributed to their injuries. Therefore, they should not be held fully responsible for the victim’s damages.

However, Ohio follows a modified comparative negligence system, so the victim’s damages can be reduced proportionally to their degree of fault. In other words, if a victim is found to be partially responsible for their injuries, their damages may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to them. For example, if a victim is found to be 20% at fault for their injuries because they failed to wear a helmet, their damages may be reduced by 20%.

Remember that failing to wear a helmet does not necessarily mean a victim was at fault for their injuries. In some cases, the victim’s failure to wear a helmet may be irrelevant to the cause of the accident.

Contact the Ohio Bike Accident Lawyers at KNR

If a reckless driver hits you or a loved one while riding a bike in Ohio, you may be entitled to compensation for the losses and damages involved. At KNR, our attorneys have helped numerous people recover compensation after serious bicycle accidents. Let us evaluate the details, help determine how the presence of a helmet affects your case, and what you can expect from a claim or lawsuit.

Our offices are conveniently located throughout Ohio. As one of the largest personal injury firms in the state, we have fought for injured Ohioans for over 15 years and know how to get results.

Call 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free consultation, and there are no fees unless you recover compensation.