US Australia & Canada Motorcycle Helmet Laws By State

Is the safety of its people riding motorcycles a top priority for a state government?

Yes or no? Let’s find out!

Motorcycle Helmet Laws by States

Motorcycle crashes are unavoidable and are a severe risk to a person’s life. There are no airbags or seat belts to save a person from those serious injuries.

However, wearing a reliable motorcycle helmet does not only protect a rider’s head by reducing the impact but also prevents the risk of spinal injury, thus saving the rider’s life.

Therefore, state governments ensure that their people are safe by imposing the law to make a motorcycle helmet compulsory.

But do you know that many states have different laws when it comes to wearing a helmet?

In case you might be wondering, what states have motorcycle helmet laws?

Here’s the answer:

Motorcycle Helmet Laws by States

Like Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, New Mexico, Utah, and Maine, states require riders and passengers of age 18 and under to wear a helmet.

On the other hand, riders and passengers in states such as California, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon, and Washington must wear a safety helmet at all times regardless of how old they are.

So, if you’re planning on a cross-country trip or moving to a new state, make sure you understand the motorcycle helmet laws by the government along with their pros and cons while riding through.

MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS PROS AND CONS

Do you know motorcyclists are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to being involved in a traffic accident?

Here’s why:

  • A rider’s risk of injury or death is as much as 30 times higher than the average motorist in an accident.
  • Motorcycles do not provide protection to the riders during an accident.
  • Except for New Hampshire, nearly every state in the country requires motorists to wear some form of safety gear while operating a vehicle.
  • States would also create laws requiring riders to wear a helmet to avoid the injuries and death that results from motorcycle accidents.

Now,  let’s find out more about motorcycle helmet laws’ pros and cons in this post!

Pros:

  • Safety reasons:

According to a rough estimate, 40% of motorcycle deaths can be prevented by wearing a helmet.

  • Conveniences:

Motorcycle helmets, especially newer models, have built-in speakers, earphones and radio devices.

  • State’s Law:

Regardless of age, it’s the law for motorcyclists to wear a helmet in Washington.

Cons:

  • Helmet’s weight:

Inexperienced riders may find the weight of the helmet hard for their neck to support.

  • Loss of Freedom:

The desire for freedom is a common thing among motorcyclists. Some people believe that these laws infringe their rights.

  • Effect on senses:

According to some riders, helmets inhibit their senses. But recent studies have found that a helmet does not diminish a person’s ability to see and hear.

WHAT STATES HAVE NO HELMET LAWS?

States without motorcycle helmet law include Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire regardless of the rider’s age.

Motorcycle helmet laws in Illinois do not require drivers or passengers to wear helmets. However, it does require drivers and riders to wear protective eyewear like goggles or glasses.

MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS BY STATE MAP

Wondering what the motorcycle helmet law is in your home state?

Well, we’ve made it easy for you!

motorcycle laws state map

Here is a list of motorcycle helmet laws by state map to help you find out about your home state law.

1.     NEW JERSEY MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAW

  • According to the New Jersey motorcycle helmet law, all passengers and drivers are required to wear a helmet.
  • The helmet must meet all the safety standards and be equipped with either a chin or neck strap.
  • It should be reflected on both sides.
  • Protective eyewear is a must for all motorcycle drivers.

2.     MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN MISSOURI

  • In Missouri, Motorcycle drivers under 26 are required to wear a helmet or those with an instructional permit.
  • Motorcycle helmet laws in Missouri states that drivers over 26 who choose not to wear a helmet will need health insurance coverage.
  • All riders and drivers should wear a helmet. 

3.     MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN FLORIDA

  • When it comes to motorcycle helmet rules and regulations in Florida, they are a bit complicated.
  • Generally, it requires all riders to wear a helmet.
  • However, the helmet law policy would not apply to someone 21 or older covered by an insurance policy covering at least $10,000 in medical coverage for motorcycle-related accidents.
  • Regardless of age, all motorcycle drivers and riders are required to wear protective eyewear.
  • Riding in an enclosed sidecar is not subjected to motorcycle helmet law in Florida.

4.     MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN CALIFORNIA

  • According to motorcycle helmet laws in California, all drivers and riders are required to wear a helmet.
  • All helmets should be fastened with the strap and must meet all safety standards.

5.     MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN OHIO

  • Both drivers under 18 years of age and those with a beginner license in Ohio must wear a helmet.
  • In Ohio, motorcycle helmet laws grant “beginner licenses” to motorcycle operators 18 or older who have never been allowed to ride a motorcycle in Ohio or any state.
  • All drivers and riders under 18 must wear a helmet, safety glasses, or other protective eyewear.

6.     MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN TEXAS

  • All drivers and riders must wear a helmet, as stated by motorcycle helmet laws in Texas. Still, they must also meet safety standards.
  • Those aged 21 and over who have successfully completed an approved motorcycle operator training and safety course can drive the bike without wearing a helmet.

7.     MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN MICHIGAN

  • Drivers and passengers under 21 must wear helmets.
  • Drivers of age 21 and over can decide not to wear a helmet if they have a healthcare benefit of at least $20,000 and earn an endorsement of their motorcycle for at least two years.
  • Motorcycle helmet laws in Michigan state that passengers over 21 years of age may opt not to use a helmet if they have medical insurance of at least $20 000 along with motorcycle operator’s insurance.

8.     MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN TENNESSEE

  • Wearing a crash helmet at all times is a must for all drivers and passengers.
  • If a rider or passenger gets 21 or older, they can wear any helmet that meets all safety standards.
  • According to motorcycle helmet laws in Tennessee, a helmet should have ventilation airways that exceed one and a half inches in diameter.  

9.     MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN NORTH CAROLINA

  • Motorcycle helmet laws in North Carolina states that all drivers and passengers must wear helmets with secured chin straps.

10.   MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN ARIZONA

  • Motorcycle helmet laws in Arizona require all passengers and drivers under 18 to wear a helmet.
  • Along with the helmet, they must wear goggles, a transparent face shield, and protective eyewear.

11.   MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN COLORADO

  • Drivers and passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets in Colorado.
  • Helmets must meet safety standards established by DOT (United States Department of Transportation).
  • Anytime the motorcycle is in motion, drivers are required to wear the chin strap.
  • Wearing protective eyewear with lenses made of safety, plastic, or glass must be stated by Colorado’s motorcycle helmet laws.
  • Eye protection devices are not required if the passenger is wearing a helmet with eye protection.

12.  MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN VIRGINIA

  • Motorcycle helmet laws in Virginia clearly states that all drivers and riders must wear helmets.
  • Helmets should meet all safety standards of the Snell Memorial Foundation, the Federal Department of Transportation, and ANSI (the American National Standards Institute).
  • Virginia also requires all motorcycle drivers to wear eye protection like a face shield, safety glasses, or goggles.

13.  MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN MARYLAND

  • All drivers and passengers are required to wear a helmet.
  • Also, all drivers are required to use protective eyewear unless the bike has a windshield, as stated by motorcycle helmet laws in Maryland.

14.  MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN ARKANSAS

  • No matter what age, both drivers and riders must wear clear glasses, helmets, or transparent face shields.
  • Motorcycle helmet laws in Arkansas require drivers and passengers under 21 to wear a helmet.
  • This law does not apply to motorcycles with three wheels equipped with a cab and a glass shield.

15.  MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN MINNESOTA

  • Under motorcycle helmet laws in Minnesota, all drivers and passengers under 18 are required to wear helmets.
  • Regardless of age, drivers with permits should also wear a helmet.
  • Wearing protective eyewear is a must.

16.  MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN CANADA

Dreaming of taking your bike across Canada, the open road will stretch over the Canadian Rockies, through giant forests, next to snow-covered tundra.

No wonder Canada’s scenery can’t be matched anywhere, and the same goes for the rules it uses to keep motorcycling as safe as possible.

Each of the ten provinces and three regions has its own motorcycle helmet laws in Canada, just as the states in the U.S.

Do you know that different territories and provinces in Canada have different standards?

Well, yes, some provinces like British Columbia give choices to the riders. They allow riders to use helmets that fit the following safety standards:

  • DOT
  • Snell
  • ECE

On the other hand, Motorcycle helmet laws in Alberta states that riders younger than 18 years must wear helmets when riding on public land.

Sikhs who wear turbans are exempt from this requirement. Albertans with a medical or physical condition can apply for an exemption.

However, Manitoba’s Motorcycle helmet laws are quite a mixture of the other two states discussed above.

It is mandatory in Manitoba to wear the approved helmets stated above. Additional protective clothing for arms, hands, face, and legs is also recommended.

Nonetheless, Sikhs are exempted from this motorcycle helmet law based on their religious freedom and respect for their turbans.

17. MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN AUSTRALIA

With features like great roads, a warm climate, and little precipitation all year, make Australia an ideal place to enjoy your motorcycle ride.

Therefore, the rising motorcycling trend has led to the implementation of strict motorcycle helmet laws in Australia.

All states and cities require the use of an approved motorcycle helmet made in compliance with the following standards:

  • AS/NZS 1698:2006
  •  ECE 22-05
  •  AS 1698-1988

Other helmet standards state that:

  1. Your helmet should fit you properly.
  2. Online shopping for helmets is not recommended as you can not try out the helmet on your head.
  3. Light-colored helmets are recommended as they are more visible day and night.
  4. Do not buy a second-hand helmet!
  5. A helmet should be immediately replaced after a crash or an accident.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS

The Helmet Argument is probably the most hotly debated topic affecting the safety of motorcycles.

This argument revolves around whether federal regulations should allow motorcyclists to wear helmets at all times while riding or whether the choice of whether or not to wear a helmet should be left to the individual rider.

Opponents of the helmet laws argue that the rules are oppressive; that by requiring the laws on helmets, the federal government is seeking to control an area that should be left to the States to decide.

On the other hand, the advocates of helmet regulation argue that such laws save lives, decrease the risk of injuries, and discourage motorcycle thieves.

Below provides information from all sides of the issue to help you understand the truth, hear the reasons and make an educated decision on whether to accept or condemn the legal requirement to wear a motorcycle helmet while riding.

Supporters of Helmet Laws:

Many that advocate helmet regulations contend that, first and foremost, helmets are life-saving.

They cite reports that the use of helmets is now increasing significantly as states enforce the rules on helmets.

For example, after California passed its helmet law in 1992, the use of helmets soared from 50 percent to 99 percent. During the same time, motorcycle crash deaths in California decreased by 37%.

Studies also endorse the idea that motorcycle helmets are life-saving. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that helmets decrease the risk of an injury fatality by 29 percent.

The Hurt Research corroborates this figure, showing that cyclists wearing helmets have a slightly reduced risk of all forms of neck and head injuries.

Advocates for stricter helmet regulations argue that the legislation still benefits the public in several respects.

They’re saying that many car thieves won’t have a helmet with them when they steal a motorcycle.

If the helmet rule is in place, the absence of a helmet for the robber will attract the police’s attention and likely lead to detention.

Some also claim that a higher proportion of motorcycle accidents in states without helmet regulations disadvantage taxpayers.

When an uninsured or under-insured motorcyclist is involved in a crash, federal funds also pay for the medical services of the operator.

Finally, helmet law advocates claim that most developed nations have universal motorcycle helmet regulations in effect apart from the United States.

This supports the point that since most other countries feel it appropriate to provide helmet regulations to protect their residents, the United States should follow suit.

Opponents of Helmets laws:

Opponents of the rules of helmets are almost as adamant in their views. The primary claim put forward by many critics of helmet legislation is that if the federal government enacted a mandatory helmet law, the regulation would conflict with states’ sovereignty.

As you have read in the paragraphs above, even Congress appears unaware of its proper position in determining if helmets should be compulsory.

ABATE is prominent nationwide biker protection, education, and charity group that opposes the controversial federal helmet regulations.

They claim that education, not law, is the secret to providing a healthy atmosphere for motorcyclists.

Younger riders can lack the maturity required to make a proper decision on the use of the helmet.

Interestingly, the association also supports the use of helmets for all motorcyclists but firmly rejects laws requiring helmets under the assumption that each individual biker should be left to determine whether to wear a helmet.

Many critics contend that wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is an inconvenient and inadequate way of defending oneself from injuries.

Instead, they suggest, riders should be qualified in safe riding practices to avoid risky conditions altogether.

They claim that the regulation on helmets does not deter injuries; only safety and healthy riding can prevent an accident.

Besides, critics object to the claim that motorcyclists put an unfair burden on taxpayers.

By noting that when the cost of injury to motorcyclists is viewed in the sense of a large-scale health care image, the volume of money paid on behalf of motorcyclists is not shocking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bottom Line of Motorcycle Helmet Laws

The combination of your dream motorcycle with a smooth road can become an adventurous ride, only if you keep your safety in check!

Believe it or not, you will have more fun and peace of mind over the journey if you are adequately insured and are abiding by the state law to wear a motorcycle helmet.

After reading through your state laws and the pros and cons of wearing a motorcycle helmet, it is essential to note that wearing a helmet is a must, no matter what your state law says!

Knowing both sides of the argument of wearing a motorcycle helmet, the information given would now have convinced you to wear a helmet.

Don’t forget to ensure that other passengers wear it too.

Going with a helmet is much safer than going without one. It is an undeniable fact, so you may now choose the right one to continue with your journey full of fun.

It’s better to be safe than sorry! Happy motorcycling!

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