HM Insights

Cycling update: Legal requirement for children under 16 to wear a helmet

Summary: A new Bill is being considered by Parliament which will require children under the age of 16 to wear a safety helmet when riding a bicycle on a public highway; and for connected purposes. 

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Children on bikes during COVID-19

Children are among the most vulnerable road users, yet, at present, there is very little legislation to offer them additional protection when using the roads. Most parents, when taking their children out into the street to use their bike or scooter, require them to wear a helmet but it is not compulsory to do so. However, children are legally required to wear a helmet when playing cricket or riding a horse. On one view, riding a bike out on a road or street is likely to be more dangerous than either of these activities and the risk of serious injury far greater.

During these unprecedented, more children than ever are being taken out by their parents on to the roads to use their bicycles to exercise. Whilst the roads are quieter during this time, it is still very important for children to be wearing a correctly fitted cycle helmet to prevent serious injury.

The Child Safety (Cycle Helmets) Bill 2020

Thankfully, a new Bill is being considered by Parliament which will require children under the age of 16 to wear a safety helmet when riding a bicycle on a public highway; and for connected purposes. The Bill is The Child Safety (Cycle Helmets) Bill 2020 (HC Bill 80).  The second reading of the Bill is not until 15th January 2021 so in the meantime, it is hoped that common sense will prevail when it comes to protecting children from potentially life changing injuries should they be involved in an accident.

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