1. a. A person under 17 years of age shall not operate, or ride upon a bicycle as a passenger, unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet which meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z90.4 bicycle helmet standard) or the Snell Memorial Foundation's 1990 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling. This requirement shall apply to a person who rides upon a bicycle while in a restraining seat which is attached to the bicycle or in a trailer towed by the bicycle.
As used in this act, "bicycle" means a vehicle with two wheels propelled solely by human power and having pedals, handle bars and a saddle-like seat. The term shall include a bicycle for two or more persons having seats and corresponding sets of pedals arranged in tandem.
b.The director shall publish a list of bicycle helmets which meet the standards described in subsection a. of this section and shall provide for its distribution in as many locations frequented by the public as the director deems appropriate and practicable.
c.The requirement in subsection a. of this section shall apply at all times while a bicycle is being operated on any property open to the public or used by the public for pedestrian and vehicular purposes; however, a municipality may by ordinance exempt from this requirement a person operating or riding on a bicycle as a passenger when the bicycle is operated:
(1)on a road or highway closed to motor vehicle traffic and limited to pedestrian or bicycle use at all times or only during specified periods of time during which bicycles may be operated; or
(2)exclusively on a trail, route, course, boardwalk, path or other area which is set aside for the use of bicycles or for the use of pedestrians and bicycle operation is not otherwise prohibited. However, an exemption may not be granted under this paragraph for any portion of a trail, route, course, boardwalk, path or other area which is immediately adjacent to a road or highway used by motor vehicle traffic and which does not contain a barrier of sufficient height and rigidity to prevent the inadvertent or deliberate entry of a bicycle operator onto the road or highway.
d.An ordinance enacted pursuant to subsection c. of this section shall specify those roads, highways, trails, routes, courses, boardwalks, paths or areas within the municipality where helmets are not required during the operation of a bicycle.
e.When a bicycle is being operated in an area where bicycle helmets are not required, the operator or a passenger, except a passenger in a restraining seat or trailer, shall dismount from the bicycle and walk whenever it is necessary to enter a crosswalk or to cross a road or highway upon which motor vehicle traffic is permitted.
L.1991,c.465,s.1; amended 1997, c.411, s.10; 2005, c.208, s.1.