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Is The Motorcycle Helmets Law Blueprint In 19 States A Lighthearted Affair?

Want to Ride Motorcycles But Are Afraid to Get Started? 19 States Mixed-up Mandatory Motorcycle Helmets Law

Making the decision to ride a motorcycle without a helmet has consequences that affect more than just the motorcyclist. Helmets increase the safety of passengers on motorcycles. Shouldn’t all states require motorcyclists and passengers on any motorcycle to have helmets on at all times during their journey?

62 per cent of all motorcycle fatalities could be prevented with the use of an approved DOT helmet. - Wild Hogs62 per cent of all motorcycle fatalities could be prevented with the use of an approved DOT helmet. - Wild Hogs

To convince all motorcyclists to wear helmets requires a system-wide change. Helmets save lives and financial resources. Mandating motorcycle helmet usage should be an attractive solution that clinches coalition of support from providers, insurers, and the public.

Thus, in whose interest are motorcycle helmets laws passed or repelled?

Let’s find out.

Related: 5 perfect questions to ask if you are considering moving – answers included

What Kind of Motorcycle Should You Get?

For many riders, the standard motorcycle is just right for almost any kind of riding. Ultra fast super sport motorcycle bikes are built for the racing platforms. They have a combination of light weight and high-horsepower engines. Its what makes most models reach speeds of more than 160 miles per hour faster. The thrill encourages risky behavior.

Before 1980s, motorcycles were either street bikes or dirt bikes. Which of the following kinds of motorcycle should you get, if you don’t have one yet?

Dirt Bike



Super sport motorcycles have driver death rates about 4 times as high as that of cruisers and standards.
Teoh, Eric R. / Campbell, Marvin (Journal of Safety Research, 2010)


Related: Bewildering Book Review of World’s Fastest Neurosurgeon by Jim Lowe

Do Motorcycle Helmets Increase the Safety of Passengers?

Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%. Peng adds that helmets decrease the possibility of death by 42%.

As it is already, there is very little protection for a motorcyclist and passenger in an accident.

When crashes occur, motorcyclists, therefore, need the protection of their bodies. To prevent one of the leading causes of death and disability in America, motorcyclists should protect their head.

crash-involved riders wearing half-coverage motorcycle helmets were twice as likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries crash-involved riders wearing half-coverage motorcycle helmets were twice as likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries
Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk fatal injury by 37%Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk fatal injury by 37%

Universal Motorcycle Helmets Law

It no secret that motorcycle crashes are a major public health concern. On top of this is the rising economic pressure on the health system. Eltorai, et. al., (2016) states that not all states have helmet laws that require cyclists to wear a helmet.

Wei (2016) adds that a universal bike law is not in effect in the US. In short, here is no federal law requiring bike or motorcycle riders to wear helmets. This result is a mix of legislation regarding helmets across all 50 states. Yet there is substantial scientific evidence supporting that motorcycle helmets are a measure that saves lives.

The federal government first required states to adopt motorcycle helmet laws in 1967. However, in 1995, Congress lifted sanctions against states without such laws.

Sanctions and Law Surrounding Mixed Motorcycle Helmets Law

The American Motorcycle Association and other motorcyclist rights organization claimed that the laws infringed upon their constitutional rights. Why would they feel being deprived of their rights to monitor their safety without government intervention, despite the reduction in mortality and health care costs (Nolte, K. B. et. al. (2017)?

Moreover, political groups vocalized the freedom to choose, than to make the right choice. Therefore, motorcycle riders rode down the roads to feel the breeze without any care or worry.

Wei did a textual analysis of studies on values and objectives of motorcyclist associations and the mobilized coalitions. They are an obstacle to the universal helmet law in the US.

Today, only 20 states have laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear a helmet.

Federal Government’s Universal Helmets Law

Moffa, et. al. (2017) indicate that riders without helmets are 40% more likely to suffer fatal head injuries than those with helmets. 15% more likely to incur nonfatal head injuries as stated by the Office of Highway Safety Planning. Further, the study points out an apparent complexity between different states; one removes the legal requirement to wear helmets, while another upholds it.

In Arkansas and Texas, motorcycle fatalities rose by 21 and 31% respectively after they repelled the universal helmet laws in 1997.

Louisiana, Florida, and Kentucky followed suit. They too saw a 100%, 25%, and 50% increase in motorcycle fatalities too (Eltorai, et. al., 2016).

State Legislature- Mussed Mandatory Motorcyclists Helmets

The state legislature has failed to adopt fundamental universal highway safety laws. Instead, there are thousands of fatalities and injuries on the US streets and highways (Johnson, 2009).

States operate independently. Only 19 states have passed mandatory motorcycle helmet laws in an effort to protect riders.

Let us dig deeper into 6 states as an example. Namely:

  • Michigan
  • Massachusetts
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • California
  • Hawaii
When states enact universal helmet laws, deaths, injuries and medical costs go downWhen states enact universal helmet laws, deaths, injuries and medical costs go down
Helmet laws that apply only to young riders are impossible to enforceHelmet laws that apply only to young riders are impossible to enforce

Michigan Helmet Requirement

Michigan has had its long-standing helmet requirements for motorcyclists overturned, yet their annual motorcycle accidents are 3,250 annually.

Notwithstanding, Senate Bill 291 too overturned a 35-year-old safety requirement. It had been created to protect motorcycle riders from traumatic brain injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident. These decisions sparked nationwide controversy and debates on the costly effects of health care and legal battles.

Firstly, a rider in a motorcycle accident mostly likely incurs serious injuries. They could be long-term, disabling, and extremely expensive resulting in numerous costly insurance claims.

Secondly, bike accidents are some of the most devastating accidents prompting victims of wrongful injuries to seek compensation rightfully.

Unhelmeted riders are 3 times more likely than helmeted ones to sustain traumatic brain injuries in the event of a crash

– NHTSA, 2008

How different is the helmet law in Massachusetts’ from the Michigan on for motorcyclists?

Massachusetts’ Motorcycle Rider Helmets Law

Motorcyclists in Massachusetts are required to wear helmets, eye protection, and ride bikes with turn signals. They welcomed these safety precautions, considering nearly half of all motorcycle deaths in 2009 occurred during a single-vehicle crash.

Massachusetts lawmakers proposed to lift the riders and passengers helmet requirement for those over 21 years of age. Additionally, they sought exemption of riders with motorcycles registered in a state without the helmet law.

Here’s the contradiction. 78.5% of the 1,150 accidents of bikes that occurred in Massachusetts in 2010, the riders had a helmet on.

Let’s find out if it diggers from the law in Texas.

Texas Motorcycle Helmets Law

The Texas motorcyclist’s law on helmets requires anyone riding or operating a motorcycle to wear a helmet. They should also meet the Federal Motor Safety Standard #218. However, if anyone wants to ride without a helmet, the law does offer exceptions for those who are 21 and older.

Riders older than 21 are not required to wear a helmet if they have successfully completed a motorcycle operator training and safety course.

Florida Must-have Motorcycle Helmets Law

Florida motorcycle helmet laws stands out from that of Michigan, Massachusetts, or Texas. It states that, if you’re under the age of 21, you must wear an approved helmet when operating a motorcycle. If you are 21 or older, a helmet is optional but under the following exemptions. The helmets must be approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Snell.

Moreover, any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, MUST be equipped with footrests for passengers [section 316.2095(2)].

Florida’s helmet laws and regulations exceptions of 2021
  1. The only individuals eligible for the motorcycle helmet exemption are 21 years of age or older and covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries.
  2. The motorcycle owner must have liability insurance of at least $20,000 in total body coverage for both passengers, i.e., $10,000 each.
  3. Motorcyclists under the age of 16 can decide not to use a helmet their maximum motorcycle speed doesn’t exceed 30mph on flat ground, powered by a two horsepower’s brake power and with maximum displacement of 50 cubic centimeters (50cc)

California Motorcycle Driver Helmets Law

According to California State law, it is illegal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.

The mandatory helmet law in California was enacted in 1992. A growing number of severely injurious and fatal motorcycle accidents occurred throughout the state. This caused the inscription of California Vehicle Code 27803.

Therefore, in California, anyone who rides on a motorcycle or motorized bike is required to wear a federally-approved helmet.

Hawaii Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Similarly, Hawaii motorcycle helmet use law requires all riders and passengers below 18 years of age to wear helmets. This covers motorcycle helmets with chin straps. Children less than 7 years old are banned from riding on mopeds or motorcycles.

Do you want to enjoy a Hawaiian motorcycle ride? Check out the latest helmet laws. Motorcycle helmet laws are subject to change from universal helmet usage to a law that allows exemptions. State helmet laws across the USA are periodically revised.

Effective Motorcycle Helmets Prevent Death

A motorcyclist wearing a motorcycle helmet is 30 times less exposed to severe and fatal injuries in a traffic accident.


. More specifically, motorcycle helmets results in:

  1. Reducing risk of a fatal injury to a motorcyclist by 37%
  2. Decreasing a motorcyclist’s chance of sustaining any injury by 69%
  3. Savings of more than $1 billion in economic costs in the United States
  4. More than 800 lives saved yearly when all motorcyclists wear helmets
  5. Saving the lives of more than 2,000 people each year

Muddled Motorcycle Safety Helmets

Federal Mandate on Motorcycle Helmets

Motorcyclists have the right to express their opinions about wearing helmets. For safety reasons, all states should require riders and passengers to wear helmets. Riders should take in all considerations of dangers when they ride, for example, once could have an accident outside their home state, leading to federal intervention.

For a broader adoption that expedites implementation, a federal mandate is of priority. Meanwhile, there is an expectation of a substantial amount of federal health care spending. A coalition of support from health providers, insurers, and the community/public is evident with the solution of helmets saving lives and financial resources.

Motorcycle Classes

Safety motorcycles classes taken semi-annually or annually would benefit motorcycle riders to be more aware of hidden dangers. The Governors Highway Safety Association (Hassan, et. al., (2017), Federal Safety Officials (Fagan et. al, (2015), and Congress have a national responsibility. They ensure that all states pass the laws for all motorcyclists and passengers to wear helmets and protective clothing (Endogen, 2013).

Protective Safety Apparel

Wearing of protective safety apparel could also be encouraged, showcasing the advantages to the riders like preventing tearing and damaging the skin, reducing serious injuries from head to toe. As a result, moving forward, regulators should continue promoting additional knowledge among motorcyclists on the benefits of helmet-wearing, and as an alternative to helmet mandates.
Legislation walking hand in hand with public enlightenment has a success rate in passing an initiative or cause as discussed by Eltorai et. al., (2016), and thereby, ensure that voter education is used to gain widespread support to overcome special interests.

Campaigns to Educate the Public on Bills

Have you seen any campaigns for nation-wide promotional efforts? Some have user-friendly websites with accurate information and information provided at different tiers and hierarchies to best meet readers’ comprehension capabilities are efficient. Other several available media platforms to disseminate messages, and relate to individual experiences through the creation of different approaches for small sub-groups also successfully affect behavioral change. Hence the public is well informed and educated to direct the elected legislators on what bills to pass.

The result is that for all the strongly held feelings and views on law, the legislature passes them. This way, legislators must believe that their re-election depends on if they pass a law or not. Despite the repeal of mandatory helmet laws, US motorcycle rider trends show an increase in the use of helmets. In 2010, usage grew from 56% in 2003 to 60% (p < 0.001). , while fatalities increased during the same period as discussed by Phillips, et. al., (2016).

Additional $1.5 B in economic costs and $8.9 B in comprehensive costs could have been saved If all motorcyclists had worn helmets (2017)Additional $1.5 B in economic costs and $8.9 B in comprehensive costs could have been saved If all motorcyclists had worn helmets (2017)
motorcycle crash victims form big proportion of traffic crashesmotorcycle crash victims form big proportion of traffic crashes

What is your opinion on the motorcycle’s helmets law and safety?

From the studies above, it is evident that weakened or repealed helmet laws lead to more than a 50% drop in helmet use with a significant impact on the injuries suffered in these accidents. The resultant effect is an overwhelming increase in stress and demand for the already limited health care providers and doctors, unnecessary healthcare costs, injuries, and deaths.

As shown by Moffa (2017), long court battles are on the rise. All injured persons seek settlement through quality legal assistance. Compensations due to injuries resulting from the negligence or carelessness of riders are hefty. The adverse effect on the overall economy of the nation is notable.

Helmets, therefore,  increase the safety of passengers on motorcycles; therefore, all states should require passengers on motorcycles to have them on at all times during the journey.

What is your opinion? Would you rather all states implement mandatory motorcycle helmet laws?

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In some states, motorcycle helmets laws only require those under the age of 18 or 21 to wear motorcycle helmets.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute


There is a wide variety of trendy motorcycle helmets with innovative and pleasing designs are available to choose from.
Motorcycle helmet laws prevent a motorcyclist from suffering a traumatic brain injury in a traffic accident.
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  • Peng, Y., Vaidya, N., Finnie, R., Reynolds, J., Dumitru, C., Njie, G., … & Sleet, D. A. (2017). Universal motorcycle helmet laws to reduce injuries: a community guide systematic review. American journal of preventive medicine, 52(6), 820-832.
  • Eltorai, A. E., Simon, C., Choi, A., Hsia, K., Born, C. T., & Daniels, A. H. (2016). Federally mandating motorcycle helmets in the United States. BMC public health, 16(1), 242.
  • Wei, E. (2016). The Case of the Missing Motorcycle Helmet Mandates. Why has a universal motorcycle helmet law not been passed in the US (even with strong scientific evidence that supports such a measure?)
  • Erdogan, M. O., Sogut, O., Colak, S., Ayhan, H., Afacan, M. A., & Satilmis, D. (2013). Roles of motorcycle type and protective clothing in motorcycle crash injuries. Emergency medicine international, 2013.
  • Nolte, K. B., Healy, C., Rees, C. M., & Sklar, D. (2017). Motorcycle policy and the public interest: a recommendation for a new type of partial motorcycle helmet law. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 45(1_suppl), 50-54.
Further references

Motorcycle Helmets Law Corrections

Motorcycle helmets law across the states of the US changes over time. Often, this is not updated in any of the existing government resources. Do you see something on this blog post that is inaccurate? We are ready to update it. Only give us the non-shambolic source of motorcycle helmet law information you’ve found. An authoritative source like a government website or government office is verifiable.

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