Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is always a good idea, regardless of the law. It affects many aspects, such as insurance claims in accidents. It is incredible to have a direct touch of wind on your face and scalp, but that may cost your life!
Even if your state allows motorbiking without a helmet on your head, you should practice wearing one for your own safety.
The state where you’re residing may have its own helmet safety laws or no law at all. Most states have their laws for each age demographic. Other states have laws with no age limit.
They also dictate what safety features a motorcycle helmet should have. Motorcycle helmet laws are different in each state. In this article, we are going to cover the motorcycle helmet laws by state, and how you should follow them.
Different Helmet Law Categories
Motorcycle helmet laws fall into several categories:
- Everyone – applicable for everybody without age limitation
- Under 21- applicable for everybody under 21 years old
- Under 18 – applicable for everybody under 18 years old
- No helmet requirement – not applicable to anybody
States have the discretion to determine rules such as engine power limitation, maximum speed, and insurance policy.
Helmet Safety Laws By State: A Full Breakdown
To help you understand better, we’ve listed all the states and their current laws on helmet safety below.
- Alabama – Everyone
- Alaska – Under 18
- Arizona – Under 18
- Arkansas – Under 21
- California – Everyone
- Colorado – Under 18 (riders and passengers only)
- Connecticut – Under 21
- Delaware – Under 19
- Florida – Under 21
- Georgia – Everyone
- Hawaii – Under 18
- Idaho – Under 18
- Illinois – No helmet requirement
- Indiana – Under 18
- Iowa – No helmet requirement
- Kansas – Under 18
- Kentucky – Under 21
- Louisiana – Everyone
- Maine – Under 18
- Maryland – Everyone
- Massachusetts – Everyone
- Michigan – Under 21
- Minnesota – Under 18
- Mississippi – Everyone
- Missouri – Under 26
- Montana – Under 18
- Nebraska – Everyone
- Nevada – Everyone
- New Hampshire – No helmet requirement
- New Jersey – Everyone
- New Mexico – Under 18
- New York – Everyone
- North Carolina – Everyone
- North Dakota – Under 18
- Ohio – Under 18
- Oklahoma – Under 18
- Oregon – Everyone
- Pennsylvania – Under 21
- Rhode Island – Under 21
- South Carolina – Under 21
- South Dakota – Under 18
- Tennessee – Everyone
- Texas – Under 21
- Utah – Under 21
- Vermont – Everyone
- Virginia – Everyone
- Washington, D.C. – Everyone
- West Virginia – Everyone
- Wisconsin – Under 18
- Wyoming – Under 18
As you can see, three states have no law at all, while 19 states have helmet safety laws for everyone. The rest of the states focus on rules for younger riders (18 or 21 years old).
In some states, bikers are allowed to ride without helmets, but they need to be covered by a certain amount of insurance. In regards to off-road or dirt biking, most states require safety certificates or supervision from professionals. Laws can get changed from time to time, subject to necessities.
Helmet Law Violations and Results
The states where you need to wear a helmet will typically ask you to buy a DOT approved helmet. These can cost you between $150 and $500. The price will vary for different models, sizes, and brands. However, these helmets will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
In places where you’re legally bound to wear a helmet, you may receive a warning or be fined for violations. These fines can be pretty high compared to the price of a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet.
If you violate the law and ignore wearing a helmet where asked, you may get in an accident and cause a head injury. In this case you are at risk of getting little to no compensation from the person who was at fault. It can also impact your insurance claim.
Riding through the road or terrain with a motorbike is always thrilling! Some riders love to get a gust of wind on their face and scalp for more thrills! But this can cost them their life, and that is why most states emphasize helmet use! These laws are put in place to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Be considerate and always wear a helmet when you are on the road.
Hopefully this article has answered all of your questions on the motorcycle helmet laws by state. Laws are constantly changing and it is your job to stay up to date. As young adolescents want more thrills and drive recklessly, states tend to focus their attention more. Whoever you are, it is your responsibility to ensure riding safety.
Justin Hughes, “Mandatory Helmet Laws Across The U.S.” RideApart, April 6, 2019, accessed April 26, 2021, https://www.rideapart.com/features/337084/mandatory-helmet-laws-across-us/#:~:text=Helmet%20laws%20fall%20into%20four,to%20go%20without%20a%20helmet.