Motorcycle Helmet Laws By State

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Here is a quick representation of helmet laws by state followed by a breakdown under the map below.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws in the United States

Did you realize that many states have different laws when it comes to whether or not you’re required to wear a helmet while on your bike? Whether you’re planning on a cross-country trip or moving to a new state, you’ll want to make sure you understand the motorcycle helmet laws in each state you’re riding through.

States with Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Most states have some laws that require a rider and their passenger to wear helmets. Some states, such as Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, New Mexico, Utah, and Maine, require riders and passengers ages 18 and under to wear a helmet. 

Other states have motorcycle helmet laws for riders of all ages. For example, 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.

States without Motorcycle Helmet Laws

There are just a few states that don’t have any requirements when it comes to helmet laws, regardless of the age of the rider. These rare states include Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

We’ve highlighted the most important information to know for each state below so it’s easy for you to plan your next ride.

  • Alabama Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Alabama requires drivers and passengers to wear protective headgear.

    The law has very specific requirements for this headgear like that the helmet must have a hard exterior shell of non-shatterable material that resists impact and penetration and have a firmly secured shock absorbent cradle for the head that is designed to support the helmet and maintain separation between the head and outer shell. The padding of the helmet must be impact-resistant, absorbent, and of substantial thickness in all areas where the head is in close proximity with or may contact the outer shell. The helmet must be made of durable materials that will not undergo appreciable alteration as the helmet ages. Materials known to cause skin irritation or disease are not to be used.

    Additionally, the helmet must have a permanently attached adjustable chin strap that holds it securely in place. The law requires all drivers and passengers to have the chin strap secured while the bike is in motion. The helmet does not need to have a visor, but, if it does, the visor must be flexible or of the snap-on type, and it cannot be more than one-quarter inch above the surface or exterior shell.

  • Alaska Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Motorcycle drivers 18 years or older aren’t required to wear a helmet in Alaska as long as they have a motorcycle license. However, if they only have their instructional permit, a helmet is required, no matter what age. Helmets are also required for all passengers.

    Everyone is required to wear eye protection unless the motorcycle has a windscreen or windshield.

  • Arizona Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Arizona, only motorcycle drivers and passengers under 18 must wear a helmet. However, everyone must wear protective glasses, goggles, or a transparent face shield, unless the bike is equipped with a protective windshield.

  • Arkansas Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Arkansas requires motorcycle drivers and passengers under 21 to wear a helmet. However, that does not apply to three-wheel motorcycles equipped with a cab and a windshield which do not exceed twenty horsepower (20 hp) when such motorcycles are used by municipal police departments.

    All drivers and passengers, no matter what age, must wear protective glasses, goggles or transparent face shields.

  • California Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In California, everyone who drives or rides on a motorcycle must wear a helmet. All helmets must meet U.S. Department of Transportation and state safety standards and be fastened with the helmet straps.

  • Colorado Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Colorado only requires drivers and passengers under 18 to wear helmets. Helmets must meet or exceed the standards established by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for motorcycle helmets and the chip strap must be worn any time the motorcycle is in motion.

    All drivers and passengers are required to wear protective eyewear with lenses made of safety glass or plastic. These eye protection devices are not required if the operator/passenger is wearing a helmet with eye protection.

  • Connecticut Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Connecticut, all those under 18 are required to wear a helmet to operate or ride on a motorcycle. There is a $90 fine for riding without a helmet.

  • Delaware Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Delaware, everyone under 19 must wear a safety helmet and eye protection approved by the secretary of state. Those 19 and older must at least have a helmet and eye protection in their possession when riding.

  • Florida Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Florida’s helmet law is a bit complicated. In general, it requires all motorcycle operators and riders to wear helmets. However, if anyone 21 or older is covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits for motorcycle related injuries, the helmet law policy does not apply.

    All motorcycle drivers and riders, regardless of age, are required to wear eye protection. Anyone who rides in an enclosed sidecar is not subject to Florida’s helmet or eye protection laws.

  • Georgia Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Under Georgia law, all motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear a helmet. Eye protection is also required if the motorcycle is not equipped with a windshield.

  • Hawaii Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Hawaii, drivers and passengers under age 18 are required to wear a safety helmet securely fastened with a chin strap. Everyone is required to wear safety glasses or goggles if the motorcycle is not equipped with a windshield.

  • Idaho Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Idaho, drivers and passengers under 18 must wear a helmet equal or better than the standards established for helmets by the Director of Motor Vehicles. However, the helmet requirement does not apply when motorcycles are operated or ridden on private property.

  • Illinois Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Illinois law does not require motorcycle operators or passengers to wear helmets. It does, however, require drivers and riders to wear eye protection such as glasses or goggles unless their motorcycles are equipped with a shatter-resistant transparent shield.

  • Indiana Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Indiana, only drivers and passengers under 18 are required to wear a helmet and protective eyewear or face shields.

  • Iowa Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Iowa does not have any motorcycle helmet laws. Motorcyclists can decide whether or not to wear protective gear.

  • Kentucky Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Kentucky law requires all drivers and passengers under 21 to wear a helmet.

    Helmets are also required for drivers with a motorcycle permit and those who have held their motorcycle license for less than one year. Additionally, drivers with a permit are not allowed to have any passengers.

    Everyone, regardless of age, must wear eye protection.

  • Louisiana Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Louisiana, all drivers and passengers must wear a helmet that is secured with a chin strap when the bike is in motion.

  • Maine Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Maine law requires all passengers under 18 to wear a helmet. Additionally, any drivers with a permit or that have been licensed under one year must also wear helmets. If these drivers have passengers, they must also wear helmets.

  • Maryland Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Maryland, all drivers and passengers are required to wear a helmet. Additionally, all drivers must wear eye protection, unless the bike is equipped with a windscreen.

  • Massachusetts Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Massachusetts law requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear helmets. This also applies to anyone riding in a sidecar.

    Additionally, drivers must wear eyeglasses, goggles, or a protective face shield, if the motorcycle is not equipped with a windshield or screen.

  • Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Michigan, drivers and passengers under 21 are required to wear helmets.

    Drivers 21 and over can decide not to wear a helmet if  they have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits and have held a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years, or have passed an approved motorcycle safety course.

    Passengers over 21 can decide not wear a helmet if they have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits insurance in addition to the insurance that is required of the motorcycle operator.

  • Minnesota Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Under Minnesota law, all drivers and passengers under 18 must wear a helmet. In addition, all drivers with a permit, regardless of age, must wear a helmet.

    Additionally, those driving under a learner’s permit are not allowed to have passengers or drive on interstates at night.

    Minnesota law also requires all drivers to wear eye protection.

  • Mississippi Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Mississippi law requires all drivers and passengers to wear helmets.

  • Missouri Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    All drivers and passengers in Missouri are required to wear helmets.

  • Montana Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Montana, drivers and passengers under 18 must wear a helmet. Helmets meet the standards of the state’s Department of Justice.

  • Nebraska Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Nebraska requires all drivers and passengers to wear a helmet with a chin strap at all times when the bike is in motion.

    Nebraska also requires the helmet to have lining and padding that meets or exceeds federal regulations.

  • Nevada Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Nevada, all motorcycle drivers and passengers are required to wear helmets and protective eyewear when riding.

    If the motorcycle is equipped with a windscreen, the driver and passenger are not required to wear glasses, goggles, or face shields.

  • New Hampshire Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    New Hampshire does not have any motorcycle helmet laws. Riders and passengers can choose whether or not to wear protective gear.

  • New Jersey Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In New Jersey, all drivers and passengers are required to wear a helmet. The helmet must meet the safety standards set by New Jersey’s Director of Motor Vehicles and be equipped with either a neck or chin strap and be ‘reflectorized’ on both sides.

    Protective eyewear is also required for all motorcycle drivers.

  • New Mexico Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    New Mexico law requires drivers and passengers under 18 to wear a helmet.

  • New York Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    New York law requires all drivers and passengers to wear helmets. Additionally, New York requires all motorcycle drivers to wear goggles or a face shield.

  • North Carolina Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In North Carolina, all motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear helmets with chin straps secured.

  • North Dakota Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Under North Dakota law, all drivers and passengers under 18 must wear helmets. However, if a driver is under 18, their passenger must also wear a helmet, regardless of the passenger’s age.

  • Ohio Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Ohio, all drivers under 18 and those with a “novice license” must wear a helmet. Ohio issues “novice licenses” to motorcycle operators 18 or older who have never previously been licensed to operate a motorcycle in Ohio or any other state or another jurisdiction recognized by Ohio law.

    All passengers under 18 must wear a helmet, as well as passengers riding with drivers holding a “novice” license, regardless of the passenger’s age.

    All drivers and passengers must wear safety glasses or other eye protective devices at all times.

  • Oklahoma Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Oklahoma law requires drivers and passengers under 18 to wear helmets. The helmet must have lining, padding, and chin straps, and not distort the view of the driver.

    All drivers, however, must wear goggles or a face shield, unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windshield of sufficient quality, size, and thickness to protect the driver from foreign objects.

  • Oregon Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Oregon, all motorcycle drivers and passengers are required to wear helmets. Their helmets must have stickers indicating that they meet standards established by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

  • Pennsylvania Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Pennsylvania repealed its mandatory helmet law in 2003. Now, motorcycle drivers over 21 who have either had their license for 2 years or have completed a motorcycle rider safety course are not required by law to wear helmets.

    Passengers over 21 are permitted to ride on motorcycles without helmets, unless the driver is required to wear a helmet, in which case the passenger must as well. Passengers riding with a driver who has their learner’s permit are also required to wear a helmet, regardless of the passenger’s age.

    All drivers and passengers under 21 are required to wear a helmet, and everyone is required to wear eye protection.

  • Rhode Island Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Rhode Island law requires motorcycle drivers under 21 to wear a helmet. Additionally, all new drivers, regardless of age, must wear a helmet for one year after they first receive their motorcycle license.

    All drivers must wear eye protection at all times. All motorcycle passengers must wear helmets.

  • South Carolina Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In South Carolina, all motorcycle drivers and passengers under 21 must wear a helmet.  Helmets must be approved by the Department of Highways and Public Transportation and be equipped with either a neck or chin strap, and be ‘reflectorized’ on both sides.

  • South Dakota Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    South Dakota law requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers under 18 to wear a helmet. The helmet must comply with federal regulations. All drivers are required to wear eye protection, unless their motorcycle has a windshield of sufficient height under the statutes.

  • Tennessee Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Tennessee, drivers and passengers must wear a crash helmet at all times.

    If the driver or passenger is 21 or older they can wear any helmet that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards. It also must have ventilation airways that exceed one and one half inches in diameter. Tennessee motorcycle laws state that these helmets must have a label that says the helmet complies with the requirements of the American Society for Testing Materials, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Southern Impact Research Center, or the Snell Foundation.

  • Texas Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Generally, Texas law requires all drivers and passengers to wear a helmet. Helmets must meet the safety standard of the state’s Department of Public Safety.

    However, those 21 and over who have successfully completed an approved motorcycle operator training and safety course or are covered by a health insurance plan providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred while operating the motorcycle can drive the bike without wearing a helmet.

  • Utah Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Utah, motorcycle drivers and passengers under 18 must wear a helmet. The helmets must comply with the standards established by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).

  • Vermont Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Vermont law requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear a helmet. The helmet must be approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles. State law requires all helmets to be equipped with either a neck or chin strap.

  • Virginia Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Virginia, all motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear helmets. Helmets must meet or exceed the specifications of the Snell Memorial Foundation (Snell), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), or the Federal Department of Transportation.

    Virginia also requires all motorcycle drivers to wear eye protection like a face shield, safety glasses, or goggles, unless the bike is equipped with safety glass or a windshield approved by the Superintendent of the Department of Motor Vehicles or that meets or exceeds the standards and specifications of Snell, ANSI, or the federal Department of Transportation.

  • Washington Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Washington law requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear a helmet. The helmet must be equipped with either a neck or chin strap, which must be fastened securely when the motorcycle is in motion.

    All drivers must also wear eye protection like glasses, goggles, or a face shield, unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windshield.

  • Washington, D.C. Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    D.C. law requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear helmets. Helmets must be approved by the Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles or must meet The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Specifications for Protective Headgear for Vehicle Users, Standard Z90-.1-1966.

    D.C. motorcycle law also requires helmets to have permanent, weather-proof reflectors on each side that cover an area of at least four inches. Helmets must also have either a neck or chin strap. The law further requires that helmets permit unobstructed peripheral vision to 120 degrees on each side. Helmets must also allow for unobstructed hearing.

    All motorcycle drivers must also wear goggles or a face shield, unless the bike is equipped with a windscreen, or unless the operator wears eyeglasses with safety glass lenses.

  • West Virginia Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In West Virginia, all motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear a helmet that is securely fastened by either a neck or chin strap. The helmet must be designed to deflect blows and resist penetration and spread impact forces. The law requires helmets to meet current performance specifications established by federal law, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z 90.1 or Snell Safety Standards (Snell) for Protective Headgear for Vehicle Users.

    Additionally, all motorcycle riders and passengers must wear safety, shatter-resistant eyeglasses, eye goggles, or a face shield that complies with ANSI Standard Z2.1.

    If a motorcycle is equipped with a windshield or a windscreen, it must comply with the performance specifications established by the Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205 and ANSI Safety Glazing Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicles on Land Highways, Standard Z26.1.

  • Wisconsin Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    Wisconsin law requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers under 18 to wear a helmet with a chin strap. Drivers with instructional permit are also required to wear a helmet, regardless of age.

    All motorcycle drivers must wear a protective face shield, glasses, or goggles, unless the bike is equipped with a windshield that rises to a minimum of 15 inches above the handlebars.

  • Wyoming Motorcycle Helmet Laws

    In Wyoming, only motorcycle drivers and passengers under 18 are required to wear helmets. Helmets must be securely fastened and comply with the standards established by the state’s Superintendent of the Department of Transportation.

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