Road Safety: The Need for Motorcycle Helmet Laws

A record 8.02% of US households have at least one motorcycle registered. So clearly, plenty of people are using motorcycles to get around.

That’s why motorcycle helmet laws are so important. Riders are amongst the most vulnerable road users, and these laws can keep people safe.

Wearing a helmet can be the difference between life and death in a crash, preventing lethal head injuries.

It can be difficult to decipher the exact laws around wearing a helmet in your state. In this article, we provide an overview of helmet laws so that you can stay safe when riding.

What Are Your Motorcycle Helmet Laws?

In 1967, the USA began to change. Where those who wore motorcycle helmets had once been thought of as uncool, new motorcycle safety laws began to arrive, which mandated the wearing of motorcycle helmets. Now, there are a number of different caveats to the helmet mandate, depending on the state in question.

Here, we list the states that have different types of helmet laws.

First are the states that require all riders to wear a helmet. The headgear should meet D.O.T standards:

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • Nevada
  • California
  • Alaska
  • Nebraska
  • Missouri
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Tennessee
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland

Here are the states that require riders of a certain age to wear a helmet. This is usually between 17-20 years of age:

  • Montana
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Hawaii
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Arkansas
  • Michigan
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Rhode Island
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Florida
  • New Hampshire
  • Delaware
  • Connecticut

Some states have conditions attached to their laws, such as the requirement of reflective decals on the helmet for raised visibility. They are:

  • Vermont
  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia

Only 2 states have no helmet requirement: Iowa and Illinois. In those states, avoiding motorcycle accidents is key for riders who choose to go without a helmet, due to the lack of legislation.

The Importance of Motorcycle Safety

Avoiding motorcycle accidents means avoiding motorcycle fatalities. There are a lot of rules when it comes to being on the road, but there are also plenty of unexpected hazards to be aware of. Here are some tips for riding safely.

One of the biggest hazards for cyclists is debris. Whether it’s being kicked up by other vehicles or is sitting in the road causing a hazard to smaller modes of transport, it’s vital to be hyper-aware of debris and road surfaces. Always look ahead for anything that might damage your tires or cause you to crash.

Commandeering a motorcycle can leave you with countless things to do. This guide on offers plenty of useful tips as to avoiding motorcycle accidents. Stay safe on the roads.

Wear Your Helmet and Keep Yourself Safe

Now that you know the motorcycle helmet laws in your state, you can feel good in the knowledge that you’re riding legally. Even if it’s not the law, wearing a helmet can save your life, so consider putting one on next time you ride.

If you found this article useful, we have plenty more guides to local laws and requirements waiting for you on our blog. Check out our recent posts for the latest legal and advocacy news!