icon Wearing a Mandatory Bicycle Helmet in France: The Ultimate Guide

Wearing a mandatory bicycle helmet in France: The ultimate guide for cyclists

In France, the law which frames the obligations and recommendations on the wearing of helmets for cyclists is quite complex. In this article, we propose to disentangle the true from the false and to provide a concrete answer to the questions of all cyclists!

Why is wearing a bicycle helmet important?

Before looking at the legal aspect, it is important to understand why wearing a helmet is important for your safety and to limit the risks. There are many studies that have analyzed the impact on health of road accidents by bicycle (city and countryside).

An in-depth report has been produced by the Senate in the case of the bill of January 5, 2022 which aims to make the helmet compulsory on bicycles and in the context of other means of transport.

Firstly, the proposals submitted to senators illustrate the risk and the effect linked to the use of bicycles, here are the key points:

  • The risk of being injured is eight times higher by bicycle than by car and twenty times higher than by foot. To put it into perspective, on the other hand, it is five times lower than on two motorized wheels. This makes cycling a safer mode of transport than scooters or motorbikes.
  • The risk of being killed by bicycle is three times higher than for a motorist and four times higher than for a pedestrian.
  • Head injuries are among the most serious on a bicycle, in addition to facial trauma (injury to the face, eyes or jaw, for example).

A study of micro-mobility professionals from 2020 shows that 56% of cycling injuries are to the skull, face and neck .

With these figures in hand, the road safety delegation believes “there is a scientific consensus on the fact that the helmet is effective if it is well designed, adapted and well worn. It protects in the context of skull fracture or cranial trauma. However, cyclists must remain cautious, because at higher speeds (over 30km/h) helmets will no longer protect as effectively”.

These various reports of the bill pushed the analysis of the figures further. For cyclists who have an accident in town while wearing a helmet in order to concretely measure its effectiveness.

Here are the conclusions:

  • In the event of an accident on an untimely door opening
    • The risk of skull fracture is halved
    • The risk of minor trauma is divided by 20
  • In the event of an accident with a vehicle traveling 45km
    • The risk of cranial fracture is divided by three with a helmet.

All these elements tend to support the fact of setting up the compulsory helmet in France. However, the law is quite different.

Is it compulsory to wear a bicycle helmet in France?

The French government distinguishes users according to 2 criteria: age and the bike used (classic or with electric assistance).

The ultimate summary table to easily understand everything

The case of adolescents over 12 and adults on a bicycle without electric assistance

The helmet is not compulsory for adolescents over 12 and adults who use a traditional bicycle. By traditional bike, we mean a bike that does not offer electric assistance.

Even if the helmet is not obligatory, know that it is very strongly recommended by the government. These helmets must also meet very specific standards that we detail below in this article.

Equip yourself now with one of our bike helmets .

The case of adolescents over 12 years old and adults on a bicycle with electric assistance

In the context of a bicycle with electric assistance (VAE), a distinction must be made between 2 types of vehicle:

  • the VAE with a speed limit of 25 km/h, in this context the helmet will not be compulsory even if it is strongly recommended to wear one that complies with government standards.
  • the VAE called "speed bike" can reach 45 km / h, this type of electric bike is considered a moped. In this context, a helmet is mandatory and must be approved for use on a moped . In other words, a simple bicycle helmet will not be enough.

The case of babies and children under 12

The bicycle helmet is compulsory for babies and children under 12 years old . The regulations do not stop there, because this obligation applies when the child is a driver, but also when he is a passenger. In addition, the helmet must be attached.

The adult who transports or accompanies the child must ensure this. In the event of non-compliance with this obligation, a fine of up to €750 may be imposed on the accompanying adult. In general, this is a fixed fine of €135.

Discover our collection of baby and child helmets .


  1. *Proposal of law relating to the port of the port of the port of the helmet to bicycle and within the framework of other means of transport Report n° 311 (2021-2022) of Mr. Jérôme DURAIN , made in the name of the law commission, deposited on 5 January 2022*
  2. *Uses, risks and accidents of motorized personal transport vehicles (EDPM) before and after confinement , study by the French Insurance Federation (FFA), Insurance Prevention and the Federation of Micro-Mobility Professionals ( FP2M), produced by Smart Mobility Lab, October 2020*
  3. *Vulnerable head (TEVU), assessment of the risk of head trauma in pedestrian and cyclist accident situations , Caroline Deck, Rémy Willinger, Multi-scale materials and biomechanics team of the ICube Laboratory of the University of Strasbourg, May 2017. C *