Florida’s Bicycle Helmet Law: Does It Apply to Tricycles?

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Section 316.003 – Definitions – Florida Statutes – defines a bicycle as follows:

Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.

It appears from this definition that most tricycles built for children would not meet the definition of a bicycle because the seat height of most tricycles are less than 25 inches from the ground.

Section 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations – requires a helmet for children under 16 years old as follows:

A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap, and that meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z 90.4 Bicycle Helmet Standards), the standards of the Snell Memorial Foundation (1984 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling), or any other nationally recognized standards for bicycle helmets adopted by the department. As used in this subsection, the term “passenger” includes a child who is riding in a trailer or semitrailer attached to a bicycle.

While it does not appear the Florida law mandates that a child riding a tricycle wear a helmet in most instances, parents, child care providers, and day care providers should have children wear a protective helmet when riding a tricycle or other riding toys. A helmet can prevent or at least reduce the severity of a head injury / head trauma to a child.

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