In which EU countries is a bicycle helmet mandatory?

Written by: R2B Store


Time to read 4 min

Cycling is one of the most popular forms of transport and recreation across Europe, but with the increasing number of cyclists on the road, so does concern for safety. An important aspect of this is wearing a bicycle helmet. Although rules vary by country, it is clear that wearing a helmet while cycling can help reduce the risk of serious head injuries.

In this blog we explore the EU countries where a bicycle helmet is mandatory , we discuss the benefits of wearing a good bicycle helmet, and how you can transport your bicycle safely. Whether you ride a regular bicycle, an electric bicycle or a racing bicycle, knowledge about the bicycle helmet requirement is essential for anyone who wants to stay safe in traffic.

Overview of EU countries with a bicycle helmet obligation

In some EU countries, wearing a bicycle helmet is mandatory, especially for children and young people. This obligation often applies not only to riding a regular bicycle, but also to electric bicycles and racing bicycles. The goal is to protect cyclists and reduce the number of head injuries. The EU countries where this rule applies are:

  • Spain: In Spain, wearing a bicycle helmet is mandatory outside built-up areas for all cyclists, regardless of their age. Within urban areas, wearing a helmet is not mandatory for adults, but it is strongly recommended, especially for children and on electric bicycles.

  • Malta : In Malta it is mandatory for all cyclists to wear a bicycle helmet, regardless of where they cycle. This applies to both residents and tourists who want to explore the island by bicycle.

  • Finland : In Finland, everyone is legally required to wear a bicycle helmet throughout the territory.

  • Switzerland: When you cycle faster than 20 km per hour in Switzerland, wearing a bicycle helmet is mandatory in Switzerland. This is not the case below 20 km per hour.

  • Sweden : Sweden has a helmet requirement for children under the age of 15. For adults, wearing a helmet is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended.

  • France: In France, wearing a bicycle helmet is mandatory for children under the age of 12, both passengers and bicycle riders. For adults, wearing a helmet is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended for extra safety.

  • England and the United Kingdom: In England, and the United Kingdom as a whole, wearing a bicycle helmet is not legally required for cyclists of any age.

  • Italy : In Italy, wearing a bicycle helmet is mandatory for cyclists under the age of 18. There is no legal obligation for adults to wear a helmet.

  • Germany: In Germany there is no legal requirement for cyclists to wear a helmet, regardless of their age. Nevertheless, wearing a helmet is strongly recommended.

  • Portugal: Wearing a bicycle helmet is not mandatory on a regular bicycle. Are you planning to cycle on an electric bicycle or a speed pedelec? Then a bicycle helmet is mandatory.

Why should you wear a bicycle helmet?

Wearing a helmet while cycling can literally be a life saver. Studies show that wearing a bicycle helmet significantly reduces the risk of head injury if you fall or have an accident. A good helmet is crucial for their safety, especially for children who often sit on the back of their bicycle or cycle themselves. Even in the event of a fall from a standstill or at low speeds, a helmet can prevent serious injuries.

In extreme conditions, such as poor visibility or when you participate in traffic on public roads, a bicycle helmet with lighting not only offers protection but also makes you more visible to other road users.

Is a bicycle helmet mandatory for an e-bike?

In the EU, the rules for wearing a bicycle helmet vary depending on the type of bicycle. For the time being, the same rules apply to users of a normal e-bike in most EU countries as to every cyclist; Wearing a bicycle helmet on an e-bike is recommended, but not mandatory. However, stricter rules apply to fast e-bikes, also known as speed pedelecs. Riders of these fast e-bikes must wear a special speed pedelec helmet. These helmets offer more protection than a standard bicycle helmet, given the higher speeds that can be reached. Failure to comply with this rule may result in a fine, as these helmets are considered essential for your safety on public roads.

What other must-have bicycle accessories do you need?

In addition to the importance of a helmet, there are various accessories that make your bike ride safer and more comfortable. Reflective safety vests are essential for better visibility, especially in poor lighting conditions or in the dark. But let's not forget the following must-haves:

  • Bicycle locks : To park your bicycle safely and reduce the risk of theft, a sturdy bicycle lock is indispensable. Whether you're running a quick errand or leaving your bike outside for a longer period of time, a good lock gives you peace of mind.

  • Phone holders for cycling : A phone holder allows you to safely use your smartphone for navigation without having to hold it, which helps to avoid fines for using your phone while cycling. Holding a phone while cycling is prohibited and can lead to high fines.

  • Cycling glasses : Not only do cycling glasses protect your eyes from UV rays, they also provide protection against wind, dust and insects that can obscure your vision while cycling. With cycling glasses you stay focused and comfortable, regardless of the weather conditions.

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