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A resource site about owning a motorcycle, buying a motorcycle, riding your motorcycle and fixing your motorcycle..
 

HELMET USE LAWS
as of July 2003

Helmet laws don't change much, but before you find out the hard way, ask.

By the early 1970s, virtually all states had laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets.

Illinois repealed its law in 1970 and, by 1980, most states had abandoned or substantially limited theirs -- usually restricting coverage to riders younger than 18.

Legislators in some states later reinstated helmet laws so that all but 3 states now require some or all motorcyclists to wear helmets. (Colorado, Illinois, and Iowa don't have helmet laws.)

Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, and Texas have changed their laws covering all riders to apply only to young riders.

Helmet use rates approach 100 percent in 20 states and the District of Columbia where motorcycle helmet laws apply to all riders, but the laws in 27 states that apply only to some cyclists aren't effective.

Bicycle helmets also prevent injuries, but no state has a universal bicycle helmet law.

Only 17 states and the District of Columbia have statewide bicycle helmet laws, and they apply only to young riders.
Local ordinances in a few states require bicycle helmets for some or all riders.

State Motorcycle Riders
Covered by Helmet Law
Bicycle Riders
Covered by Helmet Law
Alabama all riders riders younger than 16
Alaska 17 yrs. and younger1 no law
Arizona 17 yrs. and younger no law
Arkansas 20 yrs. and younger no law
California all riders riders younger than 18
Colorado no helmet use laws
Connecticut 17 yrs. and younger riders younger than 16
Delaware 18 yrs. and younger riders younger than 16
District of Columbia all riders riders younger than 16 
Florida 20 yrs. and younger2 riders younger than 16

State Motorcycle Riders
Covered by Helmet Law
Bicycle Riders
Covered by Helmet Law
Georgia all riders riders younger than 16
Hawaii 17 yrs. and younger riders younger than 16
Idaho 17 yrs. and younger no law 
Illinois  no helmet use laws
Indiana 17 yrs. and younger no law
Iowa  no helmet use laws
Kansas 17 yrs. and younger no law
Kentucky 20 yrs. and younger2,3 no law
Louisiana all riders all riders
Maine 14 yrs. and younger4 riders younger than 16

State Motorcycle Riders
Covered by Helmet Law
Bicycle Riders
Covered by Helmet Law
Maryland all riders riders younger than 16
Massachusetts all riders riders older than 1 and younger than 135
Michigan all riders no law
Minnesota 17 yrs. and younger3 no law
Mississippi all riders no law
Missouri all riders no law
Montana 17 yrs. and younger no law
Nebraska all riders no law
Nevada all riders no law
New Hampshire 17 yrs. and younger no law

State Motorcycle Riders
Covered by Helmet Law
Bicycle Riders
Covered by Helmet Law
New Jersey all riders riders younger than 14
New Mexico 17 yrs. and younger no law
New York all riders riders older than 1 and younger than 145
North Carolina all riders riders younger than 16
North Dakota 17 yrs. and younger6 no law
Ohio 17 yrs. and younger7 no law
Oklahoma 17 yrs. and younger no law
Oregon all riders riders younger than 16
Pennsylvania 20 yrs. and younger8 (eff. 09/04/03) riders younger than 12
Rhode Island 20 yrs. and younger8 riders younger than 16

State Motorcycle Riders
Covered by Helmet Law
Bicycle Riders
Covered by Helmet Law
South Carolina 20 yrs. and younger no law
South Dakota 17 yrs. and younger no law
Tennessee all riders riders younger than 16
Texas 20 yrs. and younger2 no law
Utah 17 yrs. and younger no law
Vermont all riders no law
Virginia all riders no law
Washington all riders no law
West Virginia all riders riders younger than 15
Wisconsin 17 yrs. and younger3 no law
Wyoming 18 yrs. and younger no law

Alaska's motorcycle helmet use law covers passengers of all ages, drivers younger than 18, and drivers with instructional permits.

Florida, Kentucky, and Texas provide exceptions for riders over a certain age. In Florida and Kentucky, the law requires that all riders younger than 21 years old wear helmets, without exception.

In Florida, those 21 years old and older may ride without helmets only if they can show proof that they are covered with a medical insurance policy.

Louisiana's law allows riders 18 years and older to ride without helmets if they can show proof that they are covered with a medical insurance policy.

Texas exempts riders 21 years old or older if they either (1) can show proof of successfully completing a motorcycle operator training and safety course or (2) can show proof of having a medical insurance policy.

Motorcycle helmet laws in Kentucky, Minnesota, and Wisconsin also cover drivers with instructional/learner's permits.

Maine's motorcycle helmet use law covers passengers 14 years and younger, drivers with a learner's permit, and passengers if their drivers are required to wear a helmet.

Bicycle helmet use laws in Massachusetts and New York prohibit people from transporting passengers younger than age 1.

North Dakota's motorcycle helmet use law covers all passengers traveling with drivers who are covered with the law.

Ohio's motorcycle helmet use law covers all drivers during the first year of licensure and all passengers of drivers who are covered with the law

Rhode Island's motorcycle helmet use law covers all drivers during the first year of licensure and all passengers.

Pennsylvania's motorcycle helmet use law covers all drivers during the first two years of licensure unless the driver has completed the safety course approved by the department or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.