Do Adults In Indiana Have To Wear Bicycle Helmets?
Currently, Indiana does not have laws requiring people to wear helmets while biking. This includes both adults and children. Despite this lack of legislation, the Indiana Department of Health offers recommendations about bicycle safety, including wearing a helmet.
Sometimes, local areas have helmet laws, so it is also essential to check the laws that apply to your community before riding your bike.
Indiana Has Some Laws Regarding Bicycle Use
Every state has slightly different laws when it comes to biking. For example, some states require children to wear helmets while riding bicycles. While it is not compulsory for adults to wear bicycle helmets in Indiana while biking, it requires children under 18 to wear helmets while off-roading (such as when riding four-wheelers).
While Indiana doesn’t have helmet laws for adults, it has these regulations in place:
- A bike can only carry the number of passengers for which the manufacturers designed it. This means no one can ride on the handlebars while someone operates the bike.
- Bikers cannot attach themselves to vehicles to “hitch a ride.”
- Bikers cannot carry anything that prevents them from having both hands on the bike’s handles.
In addition, Indiana law also lays out guidelines for installing reflectors, having working brakes, and exercising caution when around other pedestrians.
While Not Required, Helmets Protect You from Serious Harm
Even if there aren’t official laws regarding helmet use, wearing a helmet is one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting hurt.
Bikers often ride in areas where there is traffic. Cars and other obstacles can be particularly dangerous if bikers do not follow the road rules and take proper precautions. Bikers can fall or be involved in different types of severe accidents.
When bikers are involved in accidents, they can experience serious injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Lacerations, bruises, and abrasions
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Head injuries (such as concussions)
While some of the injuries from a biking accident are minimal, others, such as head injuries, can be life-threatening. Wearing a helmet can help reduce head injuries and their severity.
State Departments Outline Bicycle Safety Tips
While Indiana does not have strict helmet laws, both the Indiana Department of Health and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security offer insight and recommendations into helmet use.
A few of their tips include:
- Everyone should wear a helmet regardless of age. Doing so reduces brain injuries and helps everyone ride safer.
- Riders should make sure their helmets fit correctly. The helmet should be level on your head and shouldn’t feel loose. It should ideally rest two fingertips’ length from the top of your eyebrows.
- Adults can set a good example to children by wearing helmets. So, parents can help increase everyone’s safety by wearing helmets themselves.
Riders should also make sure to follow any local laws. As noted, some areas have helmet laws in place, even if there aren’t recommendations at the state level.
What Happens if I Get into a Bicycle Accident Without a Helmet?
If you get into an accident, and you weren’t wearing a helmet, the other party may blame you for making your injuries worse. However, this would not necessarily bar you from recovering compensation.
That’s because Indiana is a comparative negligence state. So, even if you’re deemed partially responsible for the accident, you can still recover damages.
What Should I Do if I Am in a Bicycle Accident?
If you suffered harm in a bicycle accident, you should:
Seek Medical Care
As with any accident, staying safe and getting prompt medical treatment are top priorities. Make sure to get appropriate help after an accident, whether it’s emergency care or a follow-up visit with your doctor.
Document the Accident Scene (if Possible)
In addition to getting medical care, take pictures of the accident site and the injuries you sustained. This can help with any claim you file later. You should also write down anything you remember about the collision, including what happened before, during, and after you suffered harm.
Get a New Bicycle Helmet
If you were wearing a helmet when your accident happened, you should get a new one. Even if it doesn’t have visible damage, the impact could have hurt its structural integrity, putting you at risk of serious injuries in the future.