Thursday, August 22, 2013

Helmet laws by the state

This useful resource lists helmet and bicycle laws by the state. In Texas, there is no universal helmet law for motorcyclists, however those under 21 years old need to wear helmets while riding a motorcycle. Additionally, there is no required laws for bicyclists to wear helmets.

Motorcycle Helmets

In 1967, the federal government required states to enact universal motorcycle helmet laws to qualify for certain highway safety funds. By 1975, all but three had complied. In 1976, Congress revoked federal authority to assess penalties for noncompliance, and states began to weaken helmet laws to apply only to young or novice riders.
Currently, about half the states require helmets for all motorcyclists. Most other states require helmets for certain riders, and a few have no helmet law. GHSA urges all states to adopt a universal motorcycle helmet law and vigorously enforce existing laws.
  • 47 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islandshave a helmet law for motorcyclists.
    • 19 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a universal helmet law, requiring helmets for all riders.
    • The remaining 28 states and Guam require helmets for specific riders.
  • 3 states (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire) do not have a motorcycle helmet law.

Bicycle Helmets

Learn More About Bicycle Safety

Fewer states have enacted bicycle helmet laws. GHSA only tracks state laws. However, many localities require helmet use for some or all bicyclists.
  • 21 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have a helmet law for bicyclists below a certain age, generally about 16.
    • Only the Virgin Islands requires helmets for all bicyclists.
  • 29 states and Guam have no bicycle helmet law.
NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on helmet laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.
Universal Helmet Law (Year Enacted)Partial LawUniversal Helmet Law Repealed
Alabama1967  <16
Alaska <18 or instructional permit;
all passengers
Arizona <181976 
Arkansas <211997 
California1992  <18
Colorado <18; all passengers <181977 
Connecticut <181976<16
Delaware <191978<18
D.C.1970  <16
Florida <21 or those with <$10,000 in medical coverage for motorcycle-related injuries2000<16
Georgia1969  <16
Guam <18  
Hawaii <181977<16
Idaho <181978 
Illinois  1970 
Indiana <181977 
Iowa  1976 
Kansas <181976 
Kentucky <21 or licensed <1 yr.;
no medical insurance
Louisiana2004  <12
Maine Licensed <1 yr.;
all passengers <18
($25 fine for 2nd or subsequent violation)
Maryland1992  <16
Massachusetts1967  >1 and <17
(<1 prohibited)
Michigan <21 or no additional insurance (riders and passengers)2012 
Minnesota <18 or instructional permit1977 
Montana <181977 
New Hampshire   <16
New Jersey1968  <17
New Mexico <181977<18
New York1967  >1 and <14
(<1 prohibited)
North Carolina1968  <16
North Dakota <18; all passengers if operator is <181977 
Northern Mariana IslandsYes  <18
Ohio <18 or licensed <1 yr.; all passengers if operator required to wear helmet1978 
Oklahoma <181976 
Oregon1988  <16
Pennsylvania <21 or licensed <2 yrs. except those who complete a PnnDOT- or Motorcycle Safety Foundation-approved safety course2003<12
Puerto RicoYes   
Rhode Island <21 or licensed <1 yr.;
all passengers
South Carolina <211980 
South Dakota <181977 
Tennessee1967  <16
Texas <21; those who have not completed safety course or have no medical insurance (secondarily enforced)1997 
Utah <181977 
Virgin IslandsYes  All
West Virginia1971  <15
Wisconsin <18 or instructional permit1978 
Wyoming <181983 
Totals States47 + D.C., Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands31 stateshave had a universal helmet law repealed21 + D.C., Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands

Age (# of States)
All (Virgin Islands)
<18 (3 + Northern Mariana Islands)
<17 (2)
<16 (12 + D.C.)
<15 (1)
<14 (1)
<12 (2)
19 + D.C., Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands28 + Guam

Age (# of States)

<21 (8)
<19 (1)
<18 (18 + Guam)
Passengers <18 (1)

Read more here

No comments: