Code of the District of Columbia

§ 50–1605. Helmet use requirements.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person under 16 years of age to operate or to be a passenger on a bicycle or any attachment to a bicycle on a public roadway, public bicycle path or other right-of-way, unless that person wears a protective helmet of good fit, fastened securely upon the head with the straps of the helmet.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any parent or legal guardian of a child under 16 years of age to knowingly permit the child to operate or to be a passenger on a bicycle on a public roadway, public bicycle path, or other public right-of-way, unless at all times when the child is so engaged, he or she wears a protective bicycle helmet of good fit, fastened securely upon the head with the straps of the helmet.

(c) The parents or legal guardians of any child under 16 years of age found in violation of this section shall be liable for paying a fine of $25. However, the fine shall be suspended for:

(1) First time violators; or

(2) Violators who subsequent to the violation, but prior to the imposition of fine, purchase a helmet of the type required by this subchapter.

(d) The penalties provided for pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall not be enforced until 90 days after May 23, 2000.

(e) Any helmet sold or rented, or offered for sale or rent, for use by operators and passengers of bicycles shall be conspicuously labeled in accordance with the standard described in § 50-1609(5).

(f)(1) A person regularly engaged in the business of renting bicycles shall require each person seeking to rent a bicycle to provide his or her signature, either on the rental form, or on a separate form containing each of the following:

(A) A written explanation of the provisions of this subchapter and the penalties for violations; and

(B) A statement concerning whether a person under 16 years of age will operate a bicycle in an area where a helmet is required.

(2) A person regularly engaged in the business of renting bicycles shall provide a properly fitted helmet to any person who will operate the bicycle in an area requiring a helmet, if the person does not already have a helmet in his or her possession. A reasonable fee may be charged for the helmet rental.

(3) A person regularly engaged in the business of selling or renting bicycles who complies with this subchapter shall not be liable in a civil action for damages for any physical injuries sustained by a bicycle operator or passenger as a result of the operator’s passenger’s failure to wear a helmet or to wear a properly fitted or fastened helmet in violation of this subchapter.


(Mar. 16, 1985, D.C. Law 5-179, § 6, 32 DCR 764; as added May 23, 2000, D.C. Law 13-112, § 2(b), 47 DCR 1985.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 50-1612.

Cross References

General helmet use law, see § 50-1651 et seq.