There is no federal law requiring bike or motorcycle riders to wear helmets. This causes a mix of legislation regarding helmets across all 50 states. Whether or not it is a law to wear a helmet when riding, doing so is always a good idea.
Studies show that wearing a helmet can reduce one's risk of serious brain injury or death. A proper helmet absorbs the impact energy during a collision or fall, protecting the head and brain. Head trauma can lead to permanent cognitive and behavioral problems such as sleep disorders, trouble concentrating, memory loss, and disability. As always, motorcyclists should follow all posted speed limits and be aware of lane splitting laws,
Motorcycle Helmet Laws by State
Motorcycle helmet laws are usually written to apply to all riders or riders under a specified age. Additionally, some states' motorcycle helmet laws do not cover certain motorcycle-type vehicles, such as mopeds or motorized bicycles. There are only three states that do not have motorcycle helmet laws: Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire.
Nineteen states require that all riders wear a helmet. Eighteen states require riders 17 and younger to wear helmets, and nine states require riders 20 and younger to wear helmets. Delaware requires riders 18 and younger to wear helmets, and Missouri sets the age as 25.
The following states' laws do not cover certain motorcycle-type vehicles and their specific definitions of these vehicles can be found in the table below:
- Arizona (moped)
- Delaware (moped)
- Florida (moped)
- Georgia (moped)
- Idaho (moped0
- Kentucky (moped)
- Maine (motorized bicycle)
- Michigan (moped)
- Missouri (motorized bicycle)
- Montana (moped)
- New Mexico (moped)
- New York (Class C limited use motorcycle)
- Oklahoma (motor-driven cycle)
- South Carolina (three-wheel motorcycle vehicle)
- Vermont (motor-driven cycle)
- Wisconsin (moped)
- Wyoming (moped)