Do I or my passenger have to wear a motorcycle helmet?

For most Americans, earning a motorcycle license isn’t the only requirement for legal motorcycle riding; regularly recognizing motorcycle safety is also necessary and, because keeping your head intact is a key component of motorcycle safety, nearly every state in America requires certain or all motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

Check Your State’s Helmet Laws

In the grid below, we’ve briefly outlined each state’s helmet law; however, safety laws are prone to change, so be sure to contact your local DMV branch or read up on your state’s motor vehicle laws before firing up your bike.

Shopping for Motorcycle Helmets

Be sure to find out your state’s requirements when it comes to which motorcycle helmets are acceptable and which aren’t. Every helmet sold on store shelves must be DOT-approved, but your state might have additional requirements in place.

Too, if your state doesn’t have any specific requirements, consider looking for a motorcycle helmet that’s not only approved by the DOT but one that also meets Snell Memorial Foundation standards (which are notoriously stricter than the DOT’s).

Helmet Required Helmet Not Required
Alabama
x
Alaska
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Arizona
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Arkansas
x
Riders 20 and younger.
California
x
Colorado
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Connecticut
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Delaware
x
Riders 18 and younger.
Florida
x
Riders 20 and younger.
Georgia
x
Hawaii
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Idaho
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Illinois
x
Indiana
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Iowa
x
Kansas
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Kentucky
x
Riders 20 and younger.
Louisiana
x
Maine
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Maryland
x
Massachusetts
x
Michigan
x
Minnesota
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Mississippi
x
Missouri
x
Montana
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Nebraska
x
Nevada
x
New Hampshire
x
New Jersey
x
New Mexico
x
Riders 17 and younger.
New York
x
North Carolina
x
North Dakota
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Ohio
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Oklahoma
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Oregon
x
Pennsylvania
x
Riders 20 and younger.
Rhode Island
x
Riders 20 and younger.
South Carolina
x
Riders 20 and younger.
South Dakota
x
Riders 20 and younger.
Tennessee
x
Texas
x
Riders 20 and younger.
Utah
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Vermont
x
Virginia
x
Washington
x
West Virginia
x
Wisconsin
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Wyoming
x
Riders 17 and younger.
Washington DC
x

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