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Cycle Safely, Boston: Bicycle Helmet Program

Photo of steps to properly fit a helmet

A properly fitted helmet is essential for every bike ride. There are a number of places in Boston that provide free helmets and fittings for Boston residents.  

Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital Community Van

Brigham Health has launched a community health van offering a variety of services including helmet fitting and distribution.  Each Friday the van goes to a different neighborhood of Boston. Find the full schedule.

Bikes Not Bombs

Bikes Not Bombs uses the bicycle as a vehicle for social change to achieve economic mobility for Black and other marginalized people in Boston and the Global South. They provide a free helmet to any Boston resident who needs one.

Boston Cyclists Union

The union's mission is to transform the streets of greater Boston into equitable and inviting people-centered spaces affording access and connection for every body.

Dorchester Bike Kitchen

A donation-based, volunteer-run, bike repair space. Learn to fix your bike! They are open every Monday and Saturday from 6 - 9 p.m. and are located at 1443 Dorchester Ave in Dorchester.

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

The center's mission is to promote and sustain healthy communities, families, and individuals. They do this by providing accessible, person-centered, compassionate, high-quality health care services to all who live and work in their service area, regardless of ability to pay, while upholding diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Madison Park Development Corporation

A leading developer of affordable housing and one of the largest community development corporations in Massachusetts. They take a multi-dimensional approach to community development by offering impactful programming for youth development, health and community wellness, public safety, resident leadership, civic engagement, and arts and culture.

Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition

Brings together residents, organizations, and others to work on improving the food and physical activity environments in Mattapan. They will be distributing free helmets to Boston residents during their annual Mattapan on Wheels event on July 23, and weekly during the Mattapan Square Farmer's Market, taking place Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. from July 9 - October 29.

Please contact us at 617-534-2355 if you have any questions about our Bicycle Helmet Program or email Ella Froggatt, Active Living Manager:

Bluebikes Income-Eligible Program

The Bluebikes Income Eligible Program allows eligible residents discounted access to Bluebikes. Eligible residents can use Bluebikes for a year of riding at $50 or 30 days of riding at $5. Membership includes unlimited 60-minute trips and a Bicycle Benefits sticker.  Learn more about the Income Eligible Program.


Income-eligible residents and those in the following assistance programs qualify for the membership:

  • Boston Housing Authority (BHA)
  • Federal Pell Grant (Financial Aid/FAFSA)
  • Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8)
  • Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Massachusetts Medicaid Program (MassHealth)
  • National School Lunch Program (Free/Reduced Lunch)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/EBT)
  • Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI or SSDI)
  • Women Infants and Children Nutrition Program (WIC)

Guests and clients of Boston’s homeless shelters and transitional housing agencies are eligible for a subsidized membership of $5 per year. For more information, call 617-635-1470, or speak to your caseworker.

Sign up for the Income Eligible program with the Mayor's Health Line and receive a bicycle helmet from our program. Learn more about the Income-Eligible Program HERE.

Concussion Information

A properly fitted helmet can protect you from a concussion.

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. It causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. Forceful impact to the body can also bounce the brain against the skull causing a concussion. This can cause serious damage to the brain such as: bruising, bleeding, and tearing.

Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • “not feeling right”

A severe or untreated concussion can have long-term consequences. These include: epilepsy, an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain-related disorders. 

Fit Test and Safety Facts

To be sure a helmet is the right fit for you, our Cycle Safely, Boston postcard shows you how, in three simple steps, to test a helmet before you ride. 

Three important helmet safety facts to remember:

  1. Every helmet can withstand one hit if you fall and hit your head. After this you'll need to replace it with a new one as this helmet can no longer safely protect you as intended.
  2. Heat can cause damage to your helmet. Leaving it outside on a hot day or in a car in the warmer months can damage a perfectly good helmet. So, after every ride wipe it down, let it air dry, and put it in a cool dry place.
  3. All helmets have an expiration date. Inside each helmet is a sticker with the day it was made. Write down your purchase date on that sticker. Helmets have a replacement recommendation of 3 years. Three years after the new date on the sticker you should replace your helmet with a new one.

Find the required school head injury reporting forms in multiple languages

Learn more

Bicycle Rules of the Road

  • Massachusetts law requires people under 17 years old wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, or in-line skates.
  • Cyclists should stay on sidewalks until they reach 10 years old and know the rules of the road.
  • Ride with traffic. Ride as far to the right as possible.
  • Use appropriate hand signals when cycling.
  • Respect traffic signals. Stop at all stop signs and red lights. Stop and look left, right, and left again before entering a street.
  • Look back and yield to traffic coming from behind before turning left at intersections.
  • Avoid riding when it’s dark and during rush hour if possible.
  • Wear reflective material on your clothing or bike, and use lights on the bike.
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