Code Section

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 11. RULES OF THE ROAD [21000 - 23336]

  ( Division 11 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

CHAPTER 1. Obedience to and Effect of Traffic Laws [21000 - 21300]

  ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

ARTICLE 4. Operation of Bicycles [21200 - 21213]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1963, Ch. 479. )


(a) A person under 18 years of age shall not operate a bicycle, a nonmotorized scooter, or a skateboard, nor wear in-line or roller skates, nor ride upon a bicycle, a nonmotorized scooter, or a skateboard as a passenger, upon a street, bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public bicycle path or trail unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards of either the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), or standards subsequently established by those entities. This requirement also applies to a person who rides upon a bicycle while in a restraining seat that is attached to the bicycle or in a trailer towed by the bicycle.

(b) A helmet sold or offered for sale for use by operators and passengers of bicycles, nonmotorized scooters, skateboards, or in-line or roller skates shall be conspicuously labeled in accordance with the standard described in subdivision (a), which shall constitute the manufacturer’s certification that the helmet conforms to the applicable safety standards.

(c) A person shall not sell, or offer for sale, for use by an operator or passenger of a bicycle, nonmotorized scooter, skateboard, or in-line or roller skates any safety helmet that is not of a type meeting requirements established by this section.

(d) A charge under this section shall be dismissed when the person charged alleges in court, under oath, that the charge against the person is the first charge against that person under this section, unless it is otherwise established in court that the charge is not the first charge against the person.

(e) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (d), a violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25).

(2) The parent or legal guardian having control or custody of an unemancipated minor whose conduct violates this section shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for the amount of the fine imposed pursuant to this subdivision.

(f) A record of the action shall not be transmitted to the court and a fee shall not be imposed pursuant to Section 40611 upon a citation for not wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet pursuant to subdivision (a) if the parent or legal guardian of the person described in subdivision (a) delivers proof to the issuing agency within 120 days after the citation was issued that the person has a helmet meeting the requirements specified in subdivision (a) and the person has completed a local bicycle safety course or a related safety course, if one is available, as prescribed by authorities in the local jurisdiction.

(g) Notwithstanding Section 1463 of the Penal Code or any other law, the fines collected for a violation of this section shall be allocated as follows:

(1) Seventy-two and one-half percent of the amount collected shall be deposited in a special account of the county health department, to be used for bicycle, nonmotorized scooter, skateboard, and in-line and roller skate safety education and for assisting low-income families in obtaining approved bicycle helmets for persons under 18 years of age, either on a loan or purchase basis. The county may contract for the implementation of this program, which, to the extent practicable, shall be operated in conjunction with the child passenger restraint program pursuant to Section 27360.

(2) Two and one-half percent of the amount collected shall be deposited in the county treasury to be used by the county to administer the program described in paragraph (1).

(3) If the violation occurred within a city, 25 percent of the amount collected shall be transferred to, and deposited in, the treasury of that city. If the violation occurred in an unincorporated area, this 25 percent shall be deposited and used pursuant to paragraph (1).

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 497, Sec. 273. (AB 991) Effective January 1, 2020.)