Whether you enjoy a relaxed day on a beach cruiser by the lake, or an adrenaline-filled trail ride in the many Milwaukee area parks, getting out on your bike is a great way to stay fit and have fun.
Biking unfortunately does come with some risk, but wearing a helmet is a great way to protect yourself. As a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer, I have logged many miles on our streets and trails, and have answered just as many questions about Wisconsin bike helmet laws.
Here is everything you need to know about bike helmet laws and safe helmet use, for both children and adults.
Are Bike Helmets Required for Kids in Wisconsin?
The answer to this question is both no and yes: In Wisconsin, there is no mandatory bike helmet law for adults or children. Adults and children can legally ride their bicycles without a helmet, but cities and towns are allowed to create their own bicycle riding and safety rules. For example, the city of Port Washington has a municipal ordinance requiring kids under 16 years old to wear a helmet while biking.
If you do a lot of traveling outside of the state with your bikes, it’s worthwhile to make sure that your family has helmets. Biking is a great way to see a new place, and 22 states other than Wisconsin do have bike helmet laws for kids, with the ages varying depending on the state.
3 Benefits of Wearing A Bike Helmet (For All Ages)
If you are not required to wear a bike helmet, why do it? Here are three reasons that are more compelling than preserving your hairstyle:
Increased Safety: helmets don’t protect you from every kind of potential bike injury, but they do protect you from head injuries, which are among the most serious. Studies performed within the last 20 years have determined that bike helmets prevent 10 to 40 percent of head injuries.
Additional Features: Reflective helmets offer better visibility, helping drivers to see you more easily and avoid accidents. Bike helmets designed for certain weather conditions like sun, cold, or rain can offer protection from the elements and make your ride more comfortable.
Setting a Good Example: Even if mom and dad don’t have to wear a helmet, you will probably hear less protesting (and hopefully instill a lifelong habit) if you put one on as well.
How To Properly Wear Your Bike Helmet
If you are new to wearing a bike helmet, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure that your helmet is both comfortable and effective. The first thing to check is to make sure you are not wearing your helmet backwards. This may seem silly, but it can be difficult to tell, particularly with more simple helmet designs. Hold the helmet with the straps hanging down toward the ground - the end that raises up higher is the front.
Next, it’s time to adjust the fit. Your bike helmet should be comfortably touching your head all the way around. The fit pads or ring and straps can all be adjusted to achieve the proper snug fit. The helmet should not move around when you shake your head, or be able to be slid back and forth over the top of your head. It should be level and as low as possible on your head, covering most of your forehead.
Finally, if you do have a bike accident while wearing your helmet, it needs to be replaced. Make sure that any new helmet you choose is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Additional Biking Resources That May Interest You:
- Where can you lawfully ride your bike in Wisconsin? Discussion of Bike Lanes
- How to Determine Right Of Way For Motor Vehicles, Pedestrians and Cyclists
- The Rules Of The Road For Bicycles: What You May Not Know, But Should
- Do You Know The Laws For Riding A Bicycle At Night? Here Are 4 Quick Tips To Help You Stay Safe
- The Three Foot Rule in Wisconsin
At Murphy & Prachthauser we practice personal injury law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people.
If you have a case you would like to speak to a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer about, please contact us to schedule a free consultation and get an experienced team of lawyers working on your behalf.