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Helmet use varies across country – September 4, 2006

September 4, 2006
Filed under Features

In the early 1970s, virtually all states had laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets. But Illinois repealed its law in 1970 and, by 1980, many states had abandoned or substantially limited helmet laws, usually restricting coverage to riders younger than 18.
Today, helmet use rates approach 100 percent in 20 states and the District of Columbia where motorcycle helmet laws apply to all riders. Furthermore, only three states — Colorado, Illinois and Iowa — don’t have helmet laws.
State: Alabama
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Alaska
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Arizona
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Arkansas
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 20 yrs. and younger
State: California
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Colorado
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: no helmet use laws
State: Connecticut
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Delaware
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 18 yrs. and younger
State: Dist. Of Columbia
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Florida
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 20 yrs. and younger
State: Georgia
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Hawaii
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Idaho
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Illinois
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: no helmet use laws
State: Indiana
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Iowa
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: no helmet use laws
State: Kansas
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Kentucky
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 20 yrs. and younger2,3
State: Louisiana
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Maine
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 14 yrs. and younger4
State: Maryland
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Massachusetts
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Michigan
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Minnesota
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Mississippi
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Missouri
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Montana
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Nebraska
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Nevada
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: New Hampshire
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: New Jersey
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: New Mexico
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: New York
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: North Carolina
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: North Dakota
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Ohio
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Oklahoma
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Oregon
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Pennsylvania
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 20 yrs. and younger
State: Rhode Island
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 20 yrs. and younger
State: South Carolina
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 20 yrs. and younger
State: South Dakota
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Tennessee
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Texas
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 20 yrs. and younger
State: Utah
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Vermont
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Virginia
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Washington
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: West Virginia
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: all riders
State: Wisconsin
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 17 yrs. and younger
State: Wyoming
Motorcycle Riders Covered by Helmet Law: 18 yrs. and younger
1) Alaska’s motorcycle helmet use law covers passengers of all ages, drivers younger than 18, and drivers with instructional permits.
2) Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas provide exceptions for riders over a certain age. In Florida and Kentucky, the law requires that all riders younger than 21 years wear helmets, without exception. In Florida, those 21 years and older may ride without helmets only if they can show proof that they are covered by a medical insurance policy. Louisiana’s law allows riders 18 years and older to ride without helmets if they can show proof that they are covered by a medical insurance policy. Texas exempts riders 21 years or older if they either can show proof of successfully completing a motorcycle operator training and safety course or can show proof of having a medical insurance policy.
3) Motorcycle helmet laws in Kentucky, Minnesota, and Wisconsin also cover drivers with instructional/learner’s permits.
4) Maine’s motorcycle helmet use law covers passengers 14 years and younger, drivers with learner’s permits, and passengers if their drivers are required to wear a helmet.
5) Bicycle helmet use laws in Massachusetts and New York prohibit people from transporting passengers younger than age 1.
6) North Dakota’s motorcycle helmet use law covers all passengers traveling with drivers who are covered by the law.
7) Ohio’s motorcycle helmet use law covers all drivers during the first year of licensure and all passengers of drivers who are covered by the law
8) Rhode Island’s motorcycle helmet use law covers all drivers during the first year of licensure and all passengers. Pennsylvania’s motorcycle helmet use law covers all drivers during the first two years of licensure unless the driver has completed the safety course approved by the department or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. psb

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