Motorcycle Helmet Laws by State | Helmet FAQ

May 6, 2024

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motorcycle helmet laws by state, explained by Riders Share, a peer-to-peer motorcycle rental company

Motorcycle helmet laws are different in each state, and it's important for riders to know these rules to stay safe and avoid fines. Understanding these laws can help you better prepare for rides, whether you're going across town or across the country. Below, we'll break down the helmet laws state by state so you can easily find the information you need.

*Disclaimer: Riders Share promotes safe riding practices and strongly recommends that all riders wear a motorcycle helmet, regardless of local laws. We believe in putting safety first to ensure an enjoyable riding experience for everyone.*

Which US States Legally Require Motorcycle Helmets? Helmet Laws by State

In the United States, several states require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets as a mandatory safety measure. Here’s a list of states where you’re legally required to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, helping you stay safe on the road.

States with mandatory helmet laws:

  • Alabama
  • California 
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts 
  • Mississippi 
  • Nevada 
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington

States that have age-dependent helmet laws:

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

Which US States Have No Motorcycle Helmet Law?

While most states have some form of helmet law, there are a few where motorcycle helmets are not required by law. Here's a list of states where riders can legally choose whether or not to wear a helmet. Here are the states that don’t require a helmet:

  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire

For more information, please visit the Insurance for Highway Safety’s official motorcycle helmet law page

Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Navigating the specifics of motorcycle helmet laws can be tricky, so we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help clarify common concerns and regulations.

Q1: When did helmets become mandatory in the US?

Answer: The first universal motorcycle helmet law was enacted in 1966, following the Highway Safety Act, which required states to mandate helmet use to qualify for certain federal safety programs and highway construction funds.

Q2: Are there penalties for not wearing a helmet?

Answer: Yes, penalties for not wearing a helmet vary by state but can include fines, points on your driving record, or even suspension of your motorcycle license.

Q3: Can a child passenger ride without a helmet?

Answer: No, all states that require helmets mandate them for both drivers and passengers, including children. It’s a necessary precaution to make sure the helmet is properly fitted for the child’s safety.

Q4: Do helmets really reduce injury in accidents?

Answer: Absolutely. Studies show that wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 69% and the risk of death by almost 42%.

Q5: How often should I replace my motorcycle helmet?

Answer: It’s recommended to replace your motorcycle helmet every five years or sooner if it has been damaged or involved in a crash. Regular inspection for wear and tear is also important to maintain its protective qualities.

Ride Safely with a Motorcycle Rental from Riders Share

At Riders Share, safety is our top priority. Whether you're heading out on a short trip or a long adventure, we always encourage our riders to wear helmets. Many owners on Riders Share offer complimentary helmet or gear rentals for a small fee.  By choosing our motorcycle rentals, you're opting for a safer riding experience. Comply with local helmet laws and enhance your protection on every ride. Rent a motorcycle with Riders Share and make every journey safe and memorable!

Why Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet Matters

There’s a reason why wearing a motorcycle helmet is a legal requirement in most states, and that’s mainly because it greatly improves your chances of surviving a motorcycle crash. Helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle drivers. This protective gear helps guard against severe head injuries and increases visibility and protection from the elements, making every ride safer. 

On a different note, a well-fitted helmet can enhance comfort during long rides, reducing fatigue and increasing overall enjoyment. It also serves as a personal statement, allowing riders to express their style while staying protected.