If you are wondering if the law requires bicycle riders in Utah to wear helmets, the answer is no. There is no helmet law in Utah for bicyclists. That’s different from the law in Utah for motorcyclists, which does require helmets for motorcycle riders under the age of 18. But for Utah bicyclists, the law is silent, and it’s up to the individual riders to choose whether or not to wear helmets on their rides.
A dramatic difference
Wearing a helmet makes a huge difference when bicycle riders are involved in accidents. That difference is dramatic. The risk of a severe brain injury can be reduced by 88 percent when bicycle riders wear a helmet. It’s tragic that so many serious injuries and fatalities could have been prevented by the simple act of wearing a helmet. It’s even sadder because almost half of the bicycle riders involved in crashes with motor vehicles in Utah are under the age of 25.
In addition to Utah, 28 other states don’t have bicycle helmet laws. Many health advocates want all states to pass such laws. But even without a law, bicycle riders in Utah are increasingly putting on helmets. Two decades ago, only one bicycle rider out of 20 wore a helmet. Now one in three do.
When traveling in other states
If you are going on a long-distance bicycle ride that will take you to other states, be aware that the majority of states do require riders under certain ages (usually 16) to wear helmets. There are also cities throughout the country (though not in Utah) that have stricter laws than their state laws, and some of these cities require helmets to be worn by riders of all ages.
Tips for getting the best fit
Helmets work best when they fit well. When you buy a helmet, be sure to try it on. The fit should be snug. The helmet should also sit low on the forehead, one or two finger widths above your eyebrows.
After you have bought a correctly sized helmet, you should fine-tine the fit by adjusting the straps. Adjust the left buckle so it is centered under the chin. It may be easier to do this if you take off the helmet. Then put the helmet back on and adjust the side straps to form a V shape under the ears and slightly in front of them. Next, buckle the chin strap. It should be snug enough that you can’t fit more than one or two fingers under the strap.
Other safety measures
Wearing a helmet is one of the easiest and most effective ways for bicycle riders to keep themselves alive and unimpaired. Other safety measures include following the traffic rules, keeping your bicycle well-maintained, and learning how to drive safely in traffic. The State of Utah has an excellent resource list of sites that can help Utah’s bicycle riders stay safe.