Motorcycle Helmet Law

So I’m in Texas on a business trip and suddenly I see two motorcycle riders not wearing a helmet.  I knew that are state that don’t require a motorcycle helmet but it always catches me off guard.  So I had to check out to see how many states do actually have a helmet law.

There are 19 states and the District of Columbia have the universal helmet laws which requires all motorcycle riders and passengers of all ages to wear helmets whenever riding.

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

Whereas 29 states have a partial helmet law which only requires specific groups of people, such as those below a certain age to wear a helmet.

  • Alaska – 17 and younger
  • Arizona – 17 and younger
  • Arkansas – 20 and younger
  • Colorado – 17 and younger
  • Connecticut – 17 and younger
  • Delaware – 18 and younger
  • Florida – 20 and younger
  • Hawaii – 17 and younger
  • Idaho – 17 and younger
  • Indiana – 17 and younger
  • Kansas – 17 and younger
  • Kentucky – 20 and younger
  • Maine – 17 and younger
  • Michigan – 20 and younger
  • Minnesota – 17 and younger
  • Montana – 17 and younger
  • New Mexico – 17 and younger
  • North Dakota – 17 and younger
  • Ohio – 17 and younger
  • Oklahoma – 17 and younger
  • Pennsylvania – 20 and younger
  • South Carolina – 20 and younger
  • South Dakota – 17 and younger
  • Texas – 20 and younger
  • Utah – 17 and younger
  • Wisconsin – 17 and younger
  • Wyoming – 17 and younger

Then are 3 states that have no helmet law.

  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire


I remember when the helmet law was first being debated in California in the early 90’s, it was topic especially for those who rode horses.  At the time I wasn’t riding a motorcycle yet but I was an avid horse rider and we were concerned that once the universal helmet law passed, it would eventually trickled down to having wear a helmet while riding a horse.  Therefore, we really opposed to it.

However, now that I do ride motorcycle, I’m a firm believer of wearing full gear while out riding whether riding dirt or street.  Too many times, I see under dress rider or pillion and I cringe at the thought of them falling off the motorcycle without the proper gears.

I remember one time while riding dirt, I was trying to prove that I could ride up a waterfall of rocks trail.  At the beginning, I was doing well but suddenly, I hit a rock and did a 90 degree turn over the side of trail and flew over 10 feet down it.  Since, I wasn’t going to salvage the crash, I let go which was the last thing I remembered.  Luckily, I was wearing full gear on this ride and the only injury I had were brightly color bruises on both of my knee since I wasn’t wearing shin guard.

I guess it come down to personal preferences to wear a helmet or not.  I prefer safety over looking cool and will always wear full gear whenever I ride.


9 thoughts on “Motorcycle Helmet Law

  1. “I prefer safety over looking cool and will always wear full gear whenever I ride.”
    Who says you can’t look cool with full gear 🙂
    I’m with you…ATGATT!


  2. Helmets for 17 and under here in Ohio….on the TW I gotta admit, I don’t wear one if the weather is nice{now that a chill is in the air I usually wear my full face}. Frankly I think you should wear one, regardless, but don’t follow my own advice. Having had 2 major crashes, both in town, and both while wearing a helmet, I should know better, the first(1975) saved my face from most of the damage, the second (1987) likely saved my life, or at least a skull fracture….but for some reason, I still enjoy not wearing one, especially when cruising the back roads at 40 mph….


    1. It funny how in the beginning I hated having my visor up while riding…now I don’t like keeping it down and want to feel the wind in my face. However, I still feel lost not wearing a helmet on a bike.


  3. Yay — wear that helmet whether you “need” to or not…if Danny hadn’t been wearing his full-face helmet, he wouldn’t be here today. If he’d had full gear on, he might not have had soooo many fractures.


  4. Here in Arkansas I have the choice not to wear a helmet, I chose to wear one. The older I get the safer I want to be, I don’t bounce very good anymore!


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