What States Have Motorcycle Helmet Laws?


Quick Answer

Out of 50 states only Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire do not have motorcycle helmet laws, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. The remaining 47 states, plus the District of Columbia, maintain some form of helmet law for motorcyclists, as of 2015.

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Full Answer

There are 19 states that have a universal motorcycle law requiring helmets for all riders, the GHSA reports, including California and New York, two of the most populous states. All but three states enacted universal motorcycle helmet laws after the U.S. Government required them in order for states to be eligible for certain highway safety funds. In 1976, this authority was revoked. Since that time, many states have gradually passed more lenient helmet laws to replace the more restrictive universal law. Numerous states now have helmet laws that apply only to young or inexperienced motorcyclists. The GHSA is vocal in its belief that all states should enact and enforce universal helmet laws that apply to all riders.

Pursuant to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the use of helmets has decreased since 2009. The data revealed that 60 percent of motorcyclists used DOT-compliant helmets in 2013, compared to 67 percent in 2009. The NHTSA contends that while helmets do not cut down on motorcycle accidents, they cut down on fatalities and injuries when accidents occur.

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