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Mild Bill (Asshole #27)
StephG (Asshole#108)

Revisions/updates  2010 Keeper of the FAQ's
Schmoe (Asshole #128)

r.m.h VB&G logo design © Jim Combs

 

 

US and Canadian Motorcycle Laws

Join ABATE to help the fight for motorcyclist's rights. They can be reached at 800-540-1979

The following is a recent summary of US helmet laws from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety website (updated 4-2010):

 

State

Motorcycle helmets
Alabama all riders
Alaska 17 and younger1
Arizona 17 and younger
Arkansas 20 and younger
California all riders
Colorado 17 and younger and passengers 17 and younger 
Connecticut 17 and younger
Delaware 18 and younger
District of Columbia all riders
Florida 20 and younger2
Georgia all riders
Hawaii 17 and younger
Idaho 17 and younger
Illinois no law
Indiana 17 and younger
Iowa no law
Kansas 17 and younger
Kentucky 20 and younger3
Louisiana all riders
Maine 17 and younger4 
Maryland all riders
Massachusetts all riders
Michigan all riders
Minnesota 17 and younger5
Mississippi all riders
Missouri all riders
Montana 17 and younger
Nebraska all riders
Nevada all riders
New Hampshire no law
New Jersey all riders
New Mexico 17 and younger
New York all riders
North Carolina all riders
North Dakota 17 and younger6
Ohio 17 and younger7
Oklahoma 17 and younger
Oregon all riders
Pennsylvania 20 and younger8
Rhode Island 20 and younger9
South Carolina 20 and younger
South Dakota 17 and younger
Tennessee all riders
Texas 20 and younger10
Utah 17 and younger
Vermont all riders
Virginia all riders
Washington all riders
West Virginia all riders
Wisconsin 17 and younger11
Wyoming 17 and younger


1Alaska's motorcycle helmet use law covers passengers of all ages, operators younger than 18, and operators with instructional permits.

2In Florida, the law requires that all riders younger than 21 years wear helmets, without exception. Those 21 years and older may ride without helmets only if they can show proof that they are covered by a medical insurance policy.

3In Kentucky, the law requires that all riders younger than 21 years wear helmets, without exception. Those 21 years and older may ride without helmets only if they can show proof that they are covered by a medical insurance policy. Motorcycle helmet laws in Kentucky also cover operators with instructional/learner's permits.

4Motorcycle helmet laws in Maine cover operators with instructional/learner's permits. Maine's motorcycle helmet use law also covers passengers 17 years and younger and passengers if their operators are required to wear a helmet.

5Motorcycle helmet laws in Minnesota cover operators with instructional/learner's permits.

6North Dakota's motorcycle helmet use law covers all passengers traveling with operators who are covered by the law.

7Ohio's motorcycle helmet use law covers all operators during the first year of licensure and all passengers of operators who are covered by the law.

8Pennsylvania's motorcycle helmet use law covers all operators during the first two years of licensure unless the operator has completed the safety course approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

9Rhode Island's motorcycle helmet use law covers all passengers (regardless of age) and all operators during the first year of licensure (regardless of age).

10Texas exempts riders 21 years or older if they can either show proof of successfully completing a motorcycle operator training and safety course or can show proof of having a medical insurance policy. A peace officer may not stop or detain a person who is the operator of or a passenger on a motorcycle for the sole purpose of determining whether the person has successfully completed the motorcycle operator training and safety course or is covered by a health insurance plan.

11Motorcycle helmet laws in Wisconsin cover operators with instructional/learner's permits.

 

The following table comes from this website: (http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/PrintLaws.html). I can't guarantee it's accuracy but it's last update was 4/10. If notice an error, please e-mail info@rmhfaq.com.

                     State Motorcycle Riding Laws

State Helmet
required
Daytime
Headlights
Eye
Protection
Radar / Kids
/ Earphones
Yearly
Inspections
Lane*
Sharing
Blood Alcohol Max Speed
Over 21 Under 21 Rural Urban
Alabama Yes         Yes .08 .02 70 70
Alaska 18 Required Required   Random Yes .08 .00 65 55
Arizona 18   Required   Yes Yes .08 .08 75 55
Arkansas 21 Required Required   Random   .08 .02 70 55
California Yes Required   1 Ear Only Random Yes* .08 .01 70 65
Colorado 18   Required   Random Yes .08 .02 75 65
Connecticut 18 Required Required   Random Yes .08 .02 65 55
Delaware 19 Rflct   Required   Yes   .08 .02 65 55
Florida 21 Required Required     Yes .08 .02 70 65
Georgia Yes Required Required No Music   Yes .08 .02 70 65
Hawaii 18 Rflct   Required No Pass Under 7 Yes Yes .08 .02 55 50
Idaho 18           .08 .02 75 65
Illinois   Required Required       .08 .00 65 55
Indiana 18 Required 18     Yes .08 .02 65 55
Iowa   Required       Yes .08 .02 65 55
Kansas 18 Required Required   Random Yes .08 .02 70 70
Kentucky 21   Required       .08 .02 65 55
Louisiana Yes   Required   Yes Yes .08 .02 70 55
Maine 16 Required     Yes Yes .08 .00 65 55
Maryland Yes Rflct   Required   At Sale Yes .08 .00 65 65
Massachusetts Yes   Required No Earphones Yes Yes .08 .02 65 65
Michigan Yes       Random Yes .08 .02 70 65
Minnesota 18 Required Required 1 Ear Only Random Yes .08 .00 70 65
Missouri Yes   Required    Yes   .08 .02 70 70
Mississippi Yes       Yes   .08 .02 70 60
Montana 18 Required       Yes .08 .02 75 65
Nebraska Yes         Yes .08 .02 75 65
Nevada Yes   Required     Yes .08 .02 75 65
New Hampshire     Required   Yes Yes .08 .02 65 65
New Jersey Yes Rflct       Yes   .08 .01 65 55
New Mexico 18 Rflct   Required   Random   .08 .02 75 55
New York Yes Rflct Required Required 1 Ear Only Yes Yes .08 .02 65 65
North Carolina Yes Required     Yes Yes .08 .00 70 65
North Dakota 18 Rflct         Yes .08 .02 75 55
Ohio 18   Required   Random Yes .08 .02 65 65
Oklahoma 18 Required Required       .08 .00 75 70
Oregon Yes Required     Random Yes .08 .00 65 55
Pennsylvania 21 Required  Required No Music Yes Yes .08 .02 65 55
Rhode Island 21   Required No Earphones Yes Yes .08 .02 65 55
South Carolina 21 Rflct Required 21     Yes .08 .02 70 70
South Dakota 18   Required     Yes .08 .02 75 65
Tennessee Yes Required Required     Yes .08 .02 70 70
Texas 21 Required     Yes   .08 .00 70 70
Utah 18       Yes Yes .08 .00 75 65
Vermont Yes Rflct   Required   Yes   .08 .02 65 55
Virginia Yes   Required  No Radar Det Yes No .08 .02 65 55
Washington Yes Required Required No Pass Under 6 Random Yes .08 .02 70 60
Washington DC Yes   Required No Radar Det Yes   .08 .02 55 55
West Virginia Yes Rflct Required Required   Yes   .08 .02 70 55
Wisconsin 18 Required Required   Random Yes .08 .00 65 65
Wyoming 18 Required       Yes .08 .02 75 60
Canada Yes Required   No Radar Det, Music     .08 .08 65 55
* - Two motorcycles in a single lane.
In California Only, lane splitting is legal. Motorcycles may drive between cars, but not on shoulders.

 

Ivan Gregory suggests:

"Call 1-800-4bikers. Ask them to send you the Pocket Guide for Helmet Facts."