Which States Require Motorcycle Helmets?

While it’s true that whipping around on your motorcycle can be exciting, it’s also potentially life-threatening. This is why it’s critical that you are serious about safety from the very beginning.

The laws regarding Motorcycle Helmetz vary from one state to the next and have evolved over the past 50 years. At this time, there laws that require all motorcyclists to wear helmets in 19 states and DC. In 29 states, there are laws that require some motorcyclists to wear helmets. Finally, there are two states—Illinois and Iowa—that do not require helmets at all. Keep in mind that for the states that do require helmets, they must be in compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards of the US DOT (Department of Transportation).

States that require helmets

  • Alabama: Regardless of license status, experience, or age, all riders must wear helmets.
  • Alaska: Individuals who are taking the road test, have a permit, are under the age of 18, or are a passenger must wear a helmet.
  • Arizona: Riders must wear a helmet if a passenger under the age of 18 or a rider.
  • Arkansas: All riders under the age of 21.
  • California: All riders/passengers.
  • Colorado: Operators/passengers under the age of 18.
  • Connecticut: Operators/passengers under the age of 18.
  • Delaware: Riders and passengers under the age of 19.
  • Florida: Must wear a helmet unless you have a $20,000+ motorcycle insurance policy to cover injuries in case of a crash. If under 21, helmets are required.
  • Georgia: All riders and passengers must wear a helmet.
  • Hawaii: Riders and passengers under the age of 18.
  • Idaho: Riders and passengers under the age of 18.
  • Indiana: Riders and passengers under the age of 18 and learner’s permit holders of any age.
  • Kansas: Riders who are under the age of 18 must wear eye protection as well as a helmet.
  • Kentucky: Operators and passengers under the age of 21, anyone with a learner’s permit, anyone that has had a motorcycle license for less than 1 year.
  • Louisiana: All operators and passengers.
  • Maine: Anyone under the age of 18, all riders who have a learner’s permit, anyone who has had a motorcycle endorsement for less than 1 year, all passengers who ride with above operators.
  • Maryland: All operators and passengers.
  • Massachusetts: All operators and passengers.
  • Michigan: All riders under the age of 21. If over the age of 21, must wear a helmet unless you have passed an approved safety course, have $20,000+ in medical benefits, and have had a motorcycle license for at least 2 years. Passengers can decline a helmet if they have at least $20,000 in medical benefits in addition to what the operator has.
  • Minnesota: Anyone under the age 18, as well as those who have an endorsement or learner’s permit.
  • Mississippi: All operators and passengers.
  • Missouri: All operators and passengers.
  • Montana: Operators and passengers under the age of 18.
  • Nebraska: All operators and passengers.
  • Nevada: All operators and passengers.
  • New Hampshire: Riders and passengers under the age of 18.
  • New Jersey: All riders and passengers.
  • New Mexico: Operators and passengers under the age of 18.
  • New York: All operators and passengers.
  • North Carolina: All operators and passengers. Moped riders must comply as well.
  • North Dakota: Operators and passengers under the age of 18.
  • Ohio: Operators and passengers under the age of 18, as well as those who have a “novice” designation on their license.
  • Oklahoma: Operators and passengers under the age of 18. If in the city of Oklahoma City, all riders must wear a helmet.
  • Oregon: all motorcycle and moped operators/passengers.
  • Pennsylvania: All riders under the age of 21. If over 21, may opt out if you have been riding for at least 2 years or have completed an approved safety course.
  • Rhode Island: Operators and passengers under the age of 21 or anyone that has had their motorcycle endorsement for less than 1 year.
  • South Carolina: Operators and passengers under the age of 21.
  • South Dakota: Operators and riders under the age of 18.
  • Tennessee: All operators and passengers, regardless of age.
  • Texas: All operators and passengers under the age of 21. If over the age of 21, if you have a health insurance plan that provides accident benefits, you may opt out.
  • Utah: All operators and passengers under the age of 18.
  • Vermont: All operators and passengers, regardless of age.
  • Virginia: All operators and passengers, regardless of age.
  • Washington: All operators and passengers, regardless of age.
  • Washington, DC: All operators and passengers, regardless of age.
  • West Virginia: All operators and passengers, regardless of age.
  • Wisconsin: Operators and passengers under the age of 18- and anyone with a learner’s permit, regardless of age.
  • Wyoming: Operators and passengers under the age of 18.

As you can see, motorcycle helmet laws vary from one state to the next. Some are more stringent than others. If you are in a state that requires you to wear a helmet, you must make sure it is DOT approved.

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