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Bicycle Helmets

Effective April 1, 2015, all persons riding a bicycle are required to wear an approved helmet. Bicycle helmets help to prevent serious head injuries when used correctly. In fact, a properly fitted helmet can decrease the risk of serious head injury by as much as 85 per cent and brain injury by 88 per cent.

Below is some information that will help you in finding out more information about the new legislation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I wear a helmet?

  • Head injuries are the number one cause of serious injury and death to children and youth on bicycles. The human skull is just one centimetre thick. A properly fitted helmet helps protect your brain from absorbing the force from a crash or a fall. It significantly reduces the risk of serious head injury by up to 85 per cent.

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2. Who has to wear a helmet?

  • Effective April 1, 2015, all persons riding a bicycle are required to wear an approved helmet. Exemptions apply only to those who cannot wear a helmet due to medical reasons or wearing a helmet is contrary to a religious practice. Exemption certificates are issued in these cases. If you wish to inquire about your eligibility to obtain an exemption, please contact mrdinfo@gov.nl.ca.

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3. When does the law come into effect?

  • The law comes into effect April 1, 2015.

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4. How can I tell if the helmet is the right size?

  • Helmets come in a variety of sizes. There are special helmets for toddlers (under age five) that provide more protection at the back of the head. Some children may outgrow the "toddler" size helmet before age five and should use a bigger helmet. Helmets come with extra padding that can be added to the inside of the helmet. You may need extra padding at the front or the back of the helmet so that it fits correctly.

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5. Why do I need a different helmet for skateboarding?

  • Skateboarding helmets cover more of the back of the head and will protect against more than one crash. Since falls are common in skateboarding, these helmets are made of material that is specially designed to withstand multiple impacts on the same spot.

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6. How do I make sure it fits correctly?

  • The helmet should cover the top of the forehead and should rest about two fingers' width above the eyebrows.
  • The side straps should fit snugly around your ears in a "V" shape. The buckles on the side strap should fit right under the ear.
  • Buckle the chin strap. Tighten it until you can fit only one finger between the strap and your chin. Check for proper helmet fit every time you wear your helmet. Teach your child to check the helmet fit every time.

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7. How do I know whether or not my helmet is legal?

  • Your helmet must be approved by one of the following organizations and will have a certification sticker place on the inside of the helmet:
    • Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
    • Snell Memorial Foundation
    • American Society for Testing and Materials
    • U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or
    • American National Standards Institute

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8. When should I replace my bike helmet?

  • Bike helmets should be replaced after five years or a crash where the cyclist has hit their head. After five years, the plastics of the helmet dry out and may become brittle with age. Also, older helmets may not meet current safety standards.
  • Bike helmets are designed to protect your head against only one crash. After a crash in which the cyclist has hit his or her head, the foam inside the helmet is compressed. The helmet should be replaced, even if it does not look damaged.

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9. Is it safe to use a second-hand helmet?

  • No, it is not a good idea to buy a helmet second-hand. You may not know if the helmet has been in a crash, and you may not know how old the helmet is.

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10. My helmet is missing parts. Can I still use it?

  • No, you should never use a helmet that has missing parts. Make sure that all of the straps, adjusters and fasteners on your helmet are secure and are in working order. If the sliders or buckles on the side straps are loose, the helmet will not fit correctly and should not be worn.

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11. Can you wear a baseball hat under a helmet?

  • No, anything that could change the way your helmet fits should not be worn. Baseball hats, big hair clips and headphones should never be worn under a helmet. Ponytails should be worn low on the neck when wearing a helmet.

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12. Isn’t it already mandatory in Newfoundland and Labrador to wear bike helmets?

  • There are a number of municipalities throughout the province that have enacted their own bicycle helmet by-laws. Some municipalities required all cyclists, regardless of age, to wear a helmet, while others had a mix of age requirements.
  • Effective April 1, 2015 it is mandatory for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to wear a bicycle helmet when cycling.

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13. What happens if I am caught not wearing a helmet?

  • If you are caught not wearing a helmet by an enforcement officer, it is a ticketable offense and you will be fined up to a maximum of $180.

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14. What happens if my child is caught not wearing a helmet?

  • If a child that is 16 years of age or under is caught not wearing a helmet by an enforcement officer, the parent of that child will be required to pay the fine.

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15. What are the fines for not wearing a helmet?

  • The fines for not wearing a bicycle helmet will range from $25 to $180.

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16. I can’t afford a helmet, is there financial assistance for this?

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