Your voice for bicycling in Maryland Newsletter Donate Become A Member Join
Get InvolvedAdvocacyResourcesEventsNewsAbout menu search
Resources > Safety


How to Fit a Bicycle Helmet

Fitting a Helmet – This is the bicycle helmet fit guide and tip sheet from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Here is a video from Safe Kids Worldwide.

The Maryland Bicycle Helmet Law

Effective October 1, 1995, Maryland will have a law requiring all persons under the age of 16 who are riding a bicycle (defined as a vehicle with two or three wheels of which one is more than 14 inches in diameter) or are passengers on a bicycle to wear a helmet that meets or exceeds one of the three standards for helmets: SNELL – Snell Memorial Foundation; ANSI – American National Standards Institute; and ASTM – American Society for Testing and Materials.

The law governs operation of a bicycle on any highway, bicycle way or other property open to the public or used by the public for pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Those who do not obey the law would receive a warning from the police and printed educational information about bicycle helmet use. Failure to wear a bike helmet would be a civil offense. The law does not apply to bicyclists on the Ocean City Boardwalk between the Ocean City Inlet and 27th Street. In addition, the law will not change the existing laws in Montgomery, Howard or Allegany Counties.

Tips for Getting Your Kids to Wear Bicycle Helmets

Establish the helmet habit early. Have your children wear helmets as soon as they start to ride bikes – even if they are passengers on the back of adults’ bikes. If they learn to wear helmets whenever they ride bikes, it will become a habit for a lifetime. It’s never too late, however, to get your children into helmets.

Wear a helmet yourself. Kids learn best by observing you. Whenever you ride your bike, put on your helmet. Plan bicycle outings during which all family members wear their helmets to further reinforce the message. The most important factor influencing children to wear helmets is riding with an adult who wears a helmet.

Talk to your kids about why you want them to protect their heads. There are many things you can tell your children to convince them of the importance of helmet use. 1. Bikes are vehicles, not toys. 2. You love them and value them and their intelligence. 3. They can hurt their heads permanently or even die from head injuries. 4. Maryland has a bicycle helmet law for kids under age 16.

Reward your kids for wearing helmets. Praise them; give them special treats or privileges when they wear their helmets without having to be told to.

Don’t let children ride their bikes unless they wear helmets. Be consistent. If you allow your children to ride occasionally without their helmets, they won’t believe that helmet use is really important. Tell your kids they have to find another way to play, or must walk or take a bus somewhere, if they don’t want to use their helmets.

Encourage your children’s friends to wear helmets. Peer pressure can be used in a positive way if several families in the neighborhood start making helmet use a regular habit at the same time.

REMEMBER: Crashes causing head injuries

Information for this page has been posted with permission from the Bicycle Authority, Catalyst Communication, Inc., the American Academy of Pediatrics, MIEMSS, and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

For more information regarding the Maryland Bicycle Helmet Law or bicycle safety, please contact:

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Division of Injury and Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (877) 463-3464

Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration Office of Traffic and Safety
(888) 963-0307
Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator (800) 252-8776

Maryland SAFEKIDS (410) 787-5893