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  4. Title 7: Rules of the Road
  5. Article 34: Operation of Bicycles and Play Devices


Section 1238 Passengers on bicycles under one year of age prohibited; passengers and operators under fourteen years of age to wear protective headgear...

Vehicle & Traffic (VAT)

Passengers on bicycles under one year of age prohibited; passengers and operators under fourteen years of age to wear protective headgear; operators of class three bicycles with electric assist to wear protective headgear. 1. No person operating a bicycle shall allow a person who is under one year of age to ride as a passenger on a bicycle nor shall such person be carried in a pack fastened to the operator. A first violation of the provisions of this subdivision shall result in no fine. A second violation shall result in a civil fine not to exceed fifty dollars.

  2. No person operating a bicycle shall allow a person one or more years of age and less than five years of age to ride as a passenger on a bicycle unless:

  (a) such passenger is wearing a helmet meeting standards established by the commissioner. For the purposes of this subdivision wearing a helmet means having a helmet of good fit fastened securely upon the head with the helmet straps; and

  (b) such passenger is placed in a separate seat attached to the bicycle and such seat shall have adequate provision for retaining the passenger in place and for protecting the passenger from the moving parts of the bicycle.

  2-a. The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations establishing standards for helmets required to be worn while bicycling, in-line skating, or operating a skate board. Such standards, to the extent practicable, shall reflect the standards recommended by the Snell Memorial Foundation, Safety Equipment Institute, or United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  3. Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision two of this section shall pay a civil fine not to exceed fifty dollars.

  4. The court shall waive any fine for which a person who violates the provisions of paragraph (a) of subdivision two of this section would be liable if such person supplies the court with proof that between the date of violation and the appearance date for such violation such person purchased or rented a helmet, which meets the requirements of paragraph (a) of subdivision two of this section. Further, the court shall waive any fine for which a person who violates the provisions of paragraph (b) of subdivision two of this section would be liable if such person supplies the court with proof that between the date of violation and the appearance date for such violation such person purchased or rented a seat which meets the requirements of paragraph (b) of subdivision two of this section. The court may waive any fine for which a person who violates the provisions of subdivision two of this section would be liable if the court finds that due to reasons of economic hardship such person was unable to purchase a helmet or seat. Such waiver of fine shall not apply to a second or subsequent conviction under paragraph (a) or (b) of subdivision two of this section.

  5. (a) No person operating a bicycle shall allow a person five or more years of age and less than fourteen years of age to ride as a passenger on a bicycle unless such passenger is wearing a helmet meeting standards established by the commissioner.

  (b) No person, one or more years of age and less than fourteen years of age, shall operate a bicycle unless such person is wearing a helmet meeting standards established by the commissioner.

  (c) For the purposes of this subdivision wearing a helmet means having a helmet of good fit fastened securely upon the head with the helmet straps.

  5-a. No person, one or more years of age and less than fourteen years of age, shall skate or glide on in-line skates or a skate board unless such person is wearing a helmet meeting standards established by the commissioner. For the purposes of this subdivision, wearing a helmet means having a helmet of good fit fastened securely on the head of such wearer with the helmet straps securely fastened.

  5-b. No person less than fourteen years of age shall ride upon, propel or otherwise operate a two-wheeled vehicle commonly called a scooter unless such person is wearing a helmet meeting standards established by the commissioner. As used in this subdivision, wearing a helmet means having a properly fitting helmet fixed securely on the head of such wearer with the helmet straps securely fastened.

  5-c. No person shall ride upon, propel or otherwise operate a class three bicycle with electric assist unless such person is wearing a helmet meeting standards established by the commissioner. For the purposes of this subdivision, wearing a helmet means having a properly fitting helmet fixed securely on the head of such wearer with the helmet straps securely fastened.

  6. (a) Any person who violates the provisions of subdivision five, five-a, five-b or five-c of this section shall pay a civil fine not to exceed fifty dollars.

  (b) The court shall waive any fine for which a person who violates the provisions of subdivision five or subdivision five-c of this section would be liable if such person supplies the court with proof that between the date of violation and the appearance date for such violation such person purchased or rented a helmet.

  (c) The court may waive any fine for which a person who violates the provisions of subdivision five, five-a, five-b, or five-c of this section would be liable if the court finds that due to reasons of economic hardship such person was unable to purchase a helmet or due to such economic hardship such person was unable to obtain a helmet from the statewide in-line skate and bicycle helmet distribution program, as established in section two hundred six of the public health law, or a local distribution program. Such waiver of a fine shall not apply to a second or subsequent violation of subdivision five-c of this section.

  7. The failure of any person to comply with the provisions of this section shall not constitute contributory negligence or assumption of risk, and shall not in any way bar, preclude or foreclose an action for personal injury or wrongful death by or on behalf of such person, nor in any way diminish or reduce the damages recoverable in any such action.

  8. (a) A police officer shall only issue a summons for a violation of subdivision two, five, or five-a of this section by a person less than fourteen years of age to the parent or guardian of such person if the violation by such person occurs in the presence of such person's parent or guardian and where such parent or guardian is eighteen years of age or more. Such summons shall only be issued to such parent or guardian, and shall not be issued to the person less than fourteen years of age.

  (b) A police officer shall only issue a summons for a violation of subdivision five-c of this section by a person less than sixteen years of age to the parent or guardian of such person if the violation by such person occurs in the presence of such person's parent or guardian and where such parent or guardian is eighteen years of age or more. Such summons shall only be issued to such parent or guardian, and shall not be issued to the person less than sixteen years of age.

  9. Subdivisions five, five-a, five-b, and six of this section shall not be applicable to any county, city, town or village that has enacted a local law or ordinance prior to the effective date of this subdivision that prohibits a person who is one or more years of age and less than fourteen years of age from operating a bicycle or skating or gliding on in-line skates or a skate board without wearing a bicycle helmet meeting the standards of the American National Standards Institute (Ansi Z 90.4 bicycle helmet standards), the Snell Memorial Foundation's Standards for Protective Headgear for use in Bicycling, or the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) bike helmet standards, or that prohibits a person operating a bicycle from allowing a person five or more years of age and less than fourteen years of age to ride as a passenger on a bicycle unless such passenger is wearing a bicycle helmet that meets such standards. The failure of any person to comply with any such local law or ordinance shall not constitute contributory negligence or assumption of risk, and shall not in any way bar, preclude or foreclose an action for personal injury or wrongful death by or on behalf of such person, nor in any way diminish or reduce the damages recoverable in any such action. The legislative body of a county, city, town or village may enact a local law or ordinance that prohibits a person who is fourteen or more years of age from skating or gliding on in-line skates, operating a skate board, or operating or riding as a passenger on a bicycle without wearing a bicycle helmet.

  10. No person shall skate or glide on in-line skates or a skate board outside during the period of time between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise unless such person is wearing readily visible reflective clothing or material which is of a light or bright color.