Bicycle helmets are an extremely easy, cost-efficient way to reduce the number of bicycle accident injuries and deaths each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes, “Bicycle helmets are 85- to 88 percent effective in mitigating head and brain injuries, making the use of helmets the single most effective way to reduce head injuries and fatalities resulting from bicycle crashes.”
Ohio’s (Lack of) Bicycle Helmet Laws
It’s important for all road users to know the rules of the road for safety purposes, as well as to avoid citations. Surprisingly, even though the efficacy of bicycle helmets is a well-known standard, the state of Ohio is completely devoid of bicycle helmet laws. Bicyclists of any age are not required to wear them.
However, just because you aren’t required to wear one, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Helmets increase the likelihood of you surviving if ever you’re in an accident, and it’s simply silly to forgo the safety they can provide.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if all children ages four to 15 wore helmets while riding their bikes, it would prevent up to 45,000 head injuries and 55,000 scalp and face injuries each year. The NHTSA advises: “Regardless of your age or skill, wear a properly fitted, certified helmet on every ride.”
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Learning More about Bicycle Laws
While Ohio doesn’t impose any helmet laws, there are various other laws related to cycling that riders in the state should know. For instance, it’s unlawful for cyclists to pass on the right or to ride on the left-hand side of the road facing traffic. It’s also unlawful to ride more than two abreast in a single lane, and all cyclists are required to have certain lights on their bike.
You’ll want to learn as much as you can about your rights and responsibilities as a rider before hitting the streets. One source you may want to utilize is the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Bicycling Street Smarts, a free book available online via the department’s website. You can also download the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Cycling Smarter Guide, which summarizes important laws and safety rules for bicycle riders.
The Ohio Bicycle Federation explains that people who read and use resources such as those above reduce their accident risk by 80 percent. It’s a small investment for a large return. If you were injured in a bike accident in Ohio, first seek medical attention immediately and then hire a bike accident attorney if you think you are due damages.
For legal questions specific to a bicycle accident, contact Bressman Law at 614-538-1116 to schedule a free consultation.