When it comes to helmet requirements while on a motorcycle, whether you are the operator or the passenger, the laws vary from state to state. Only two states do not have a law that requires one to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle. These two states are Illinois and Iowa.
Safety Factors
Helmets can be thirty five percent more effective in preventing any brain injuries in the event of a motorcycle accident.
  • Critics of the mandatory state wide helmet laws have argued that helmets can restrict a motorcycle operator’s vision as well as their hearing.
  • There have been a number of studies that show the Department of Transportation approved helmets do not hinder vision or hearing when they are properly worn.
  • Because of all the positives to wearing a helmet, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association is pushing for all states to have a universal law as well as more enforcement for those states that currently have laws in effect.
Required Helmets
Twenty states require all bikers and their passengers to wear helmets. The helmets also must be in compliance with the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to qualify as an approved helmet. Those states are:
  • California
  • Alabama
  • Maryland
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Massachusetts
  • Nebraska
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • New York
  • Tennessee
  • Oregon
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Washington DC
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
Helmet Laws for Minors
    1. Bikers and riders under the age of 21 the following states require helmet use:
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Pennsylvania
  • Florida
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • South Carolina
2. Bikers and riders under the age of 18 the following states require helmet use:
  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Maine
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
  • Utah
  • Wyoming
Additional Motorcycle Laws
  1. Learner’s permit. Several states also list additional laws, such as the requirement that a motorcycle rider wear a helmet regardless of their age if they only have a motorcycle rider learner’s permit.
  2. Eye protection. Some states require eye protection as well as a helmet.
  3. Motorcycle safety classes. Some states require motorcyclists to take a motorcycle safety course in order to opt out of wearing a helmet.
When Motorcycle Helmet Laws are Disregarded
The consequences that come with not following these helmet laws vary state by state and can also vary according on a case by case basis.
  • Most states, however, will generally ticket those who are not following any given motorcycle law.
  • Fines may be assessed to the motorcycle driver and/or passenger.
A ticket and the fine that comes with it is truly the least of a motorcyclist’s worries if anything goes wrong. Motorcycle accidents can often be deadly and no using the proper protection by wearing a helmet could cost someone their life. In many cases, it is not the fault of the person on the bike. In those scenarios, the injured biker may be eligible for reimbursement of their damages. If you or someone you care about was injured while on a motorcycle due to faulty equipment or another’s negligence, contact a Memphis personal injury lawyer immediately.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Wiseman Bray PLLC for their insight into motorcycle accident case.