A cyclist’s age is the determining factor in whether they should wear a helmet. In The Highway Traffic Act (HTA), Section 104 reads, in part:
Bicyclists to wear a helmet
(2.1) Subject to subsection 103.1 (2), no person shall ride or operate a bicycle on a highway unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet that complies with the regulations and the chin strap of the helmet is securely fastened under the chin.
2009, c. 5, s. 36 (1); 2015, c. 14, s. 36 (2).
Duty of parent or guardian
(2.2) No parent or guardian of a person under sixteen years of age shall authorize or knowingly permit that person to ride a bicycle, other than a power-assisted bicycle, on a highway unless the person is wearing a bicycle helmet as required by subsection (2.1).
1993, c. 18, s. 1; 2009, c. 5, s. 36 (2); 2015, c. 14, s. 36 (3).
Therefore, section 104 makes it clear that everyone under 16 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. If you are under 16, you must wear a helmet. However, your parent or guardian is responsible for ensuring that you wear one, because the HTA clearly stipulates that guardians and parents of children under 16 must ensure that the children under their care wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. In other words, if you are the guardian or parent of a child who is under 16, you cannot knowingly permit them to ride a bike without a helmet. This obligation also covers children who are passengers on bikes, such as children who are riding in a bike trailer.
Neglecting to wear a helmet can affect your case if you suffer injuries in a bike or bicycle accident in Ottawa —regardless of whether you are legally required to wear a helmet. If a court finds that wearing a helmet would have prevented your injuries, it may rule that you caused your own injuries by neglecting to wear a helmet. If you have been injured in a collision while riding your bicycle and are contemplating your options, contact McNally Gervan Personal Injury Lawyers of Ottawa. One of our experts will clarify the road rules as they apply to cyclists.