Nationwide Motorcycle Helmet Laws

helmet laws in my state

With motorcycle riding season in full swing, I’m seeing a lot of bikers posting on social media their awesome rides. Of course, many are crossing the state line for the next adventure.

With that, keep in mind that laws vary from state to state when it comes to motorcycle riding. Thus, while you may live in a state that doesn’t require you to wear a helmet, you may be required to do so in the next state. Below is list of each state.



  • All riders must wear helmets, regardless of age, license status, or experience.
  • The law also applies to motor-driven cycles and mopeds.


In Alaska, you are required to wear motorcycle helmet if:

  • You are under 18 years old.
  • a passenger.
  • You have a motorcycle instruction permit.
  • You are taking a motorcycle road test.


You must wear a motorcycle helmet in Arizona if you’re either:

  • A motorcycle rider.
  • A passenger who is under 18 years old.


  • All motorcycle riders in Arkansas under the age of 21 must wear a helmet.


  • Everyone (riders & passengers).
  • This law also applies to motor-driven cycles and mopeds.


  • All motorcycle operators and passengers who are under 18 years of age must wear a DOT-approved helmet.


  • A helmet is required for those under the age of 18 which includes riders and passengers.


  • Every rider and passenger under the age of 19 must wear a DOT-approved helmet.
  • Every person operating or riding a motorcycle regardless of age must have a safety helmet in his or her possession.


  • Required to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle in Florida unless you have a motorcycle insurance policy for at least $20,000 in medical benefits to cover injuries sustained in a crash.
  • All riders under 21 years old must wear helmets, regardless of insurance policies.


  • All riders &  passengers must wear a DOT-approved helmet.


  • All under 18 years old are required to wear a motorcycle helmet.


  • Motorcycle riders and passengers under 18 years old are required to wear helmets.


  • Does not require helmets for motorcycle riders or passengers in Illinois.


  • Riders & passengers 18 or younger must wear a helmet.
  • The state also requires all learner’s permit holders to wear a helmet regardless of age.


  • Iowa does NOT helmet requirements for motorcyclists and passengers.


  • Requires helmet & eye protection if  younger than 18 years old.


  • Riders & passengers under 21 years old.
  • If you have a  motorcycle instruction permit you have to regardless of your age.
  • Or, you have had your endorsement for less than 1 year, regardless of age.


  • All riders & passengers.


Maine requires the following groups of people to wear motorcycle helmets:

  • Riders & passengers that are 18 or younger.
  • If you have a learner’s permit.
  • If you have had your endorsement for less than 1 year.
  • If you are a passenger with any of the above.


  • Both riders & passengers must wear a helmet.


  • Both rider & passenger must wear a DOT-approved helmet.


  • Any motorcycle rider under 21 years old must wear a helmet.
  • Exceptions- if you are 21 years old, you must wear a helmet unless you:
    • have a minimum of $20,000 in first-party medical benefits.
    • Have had your endorsement for at least 2 years.
    • passed an approved motorcycle safety course.
  • ***a passengers may also legally decline to wear a helmet if they have a minimum of $20,000 in first-party medical benefits in addition to the insurance required of the operator.


  • If you are under 18 years old, you must wear a DOT-approved helmet.
  • If you still still have your instruction permit.


  • All riders.


  • All riders and passengers.


  • Both riders & passengers if they are below the age of 18 years.


  • All riders and passengers.


  • All motorcycle riders & passengers (DOT-approved helmets).

New Hampshire

  • All riders & passengers under 18 years old.

New Jersey

  • All riders (DOT helmets).

New Mexico

  • All riders & passengers under 18 years of age.

New York

  • DOT helmets for all riders & passengers.

North Carolina

  • All riders & passengers and riders must wear helmets that comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard in North Carolina.
  • The same applies to moped riders.

North Dakota

  • All riders & passengers younger than 18 years old.


  • Riders & passengers younger than 18.
  • **also applies to anyone with a  “novice” designation on their motorcycle.


  • Any rider below the age of 18 & a DOT-approved helmet.
  • All riders in Oklahoma City are required to wear a helmet regardless of age.


  • All riders & passengers
  • DOT-approved helmets
  • Also applies to moped riders & passengers.


  • Riders under 21.
  • If older than 21, then you are NOT required to wear a helmet if:
    • You have had at least 2 years of riding experience.
    • You have successfully completed a motorcycle safety course that was approved by either the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Rhode Island

  • Riders younger than 21.
  • Also, if you have had your endorsement for less than 1 year.

South Carolina

  • Riders & passengers 21 years of age or younger.

South Dakota

  • Riders younger than 18 years old.


  • All riders plus DOT-approved helmet.


  • If under 21 years of age.
  • After 21, if you have health insurance that covers accidents.


  • The Utah law requires all riders & below the age of 18.


  • Riders & passengers.


  • All riders & passengers.


  • Washington requires all riders plus DOT approved helmets.

Washington, D.C.

  • All riders & passengers.

West Virginia

  • All riders & passengers + DOT-approved helmet.


  • All riders below the age of 18.
  • This includes anyone with an instruction permit.


  • Any rider younger than 18.

Be safe out there and enjoy your summer. If you have any rides or routes you wish to write about, send me an email at

MC Atty

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