MOTORCYCLE  SAFETY  LAWS

 

            State laws regarding motorcycle safety are very difficult to keep track of. They can cover helmet use, eye protection, inspections and speed and they vary extremely along state lines. Twenty two (22) states require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, but their laws regarding these other safety issues are far less consistent, not to mention the other twenty eight (28) states whose helmet laws vary as well. These variations make motorcycle laws difficult to follow, which can be frustrating since these laws are so easily enforceable.

            Between Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland there are distinct variations in these laws. Maryland and New Jersey require all riders to wear helmets while Pennsylvania only requires riders under the age of 21 to wear helmets and Delaware only requires riders under age 19. Of these four (4) states, all require eye protection except New Jersey. Given how confusing the laws are between these four (4) states which many riders travel between, you can imagine how confusing it can be on a national level.

            In an effort to clear up some of the confusion, here is a map and chart that has the most basic rules about motorcycle safety by state. The map shows the helmet requirement ages by state and the chart shows the helmet requirement age, whether eye protection is required or not, and the max speed allowable.

 

State

Helmet Required?

Eye Protection?

Max Speed

Alabama

Yes

Not Required

70

Alaska

If Under 18

Required

65

Arizona

If Under 18

Required

75

Arkansas

If Under 21

Required

70

California

Yes

Not Required

70

Colorado

If Under 18

Required

75

Connecticut

If Under 18

Required

65

Delaware

If Under 19

Required

65

Florida

If Under 21

Required

70

Georgia

Yes

Required

70

Hawaii

If Under 18

Required

55

Idaho

If Under 18

Required

75

Illinois

No

Required

65

Indiana

If Under 18

If Under 18

65

Iowa

No

Not Required

65

Kansas

If Under 18

Required

70

Kentucky

If Under 21

Required

65

Louisiana

Yes

Required

70

Maine

If Under 16

Not Required

65

Maryland

Yes

Required

65

Massachusetts

Yes

Required

65

Michigan

Yes

Not Required

70

Minnesota

If Under 18

Required

70

Mississippi

Yes

Not Required

70

Missouri

Yes

Required

70

Montana

If Under 18

Not Required

75

Nebraska

Yes

Not Required

75

Nevada

Yes

Required

75

New Hampshire

No

Required

65

New Jersey

Yes

Not Required

65

New Mexico

If Under 18

Required

75

New York

Yes

Required

65

North Carolina

Yes

Not Required

70

North Dakota

If Under 18

Not Required

75

Ohio

If Under 18

Required

65

Oklahoma

If Under 18

Required

75

Oregon

Yes

Not Required

65

Pennsylvania

If Under 21

Required

65

Rhode Island

If Under 21

Required

65

South Carolina

If Under 21

If Under 21

70

South Dakota

If Under 18

Required

75

Tennessee

Yes

Required

70

Texas

If Under 21

Not Required

70

Utah

If Under 18

Not Required

75

Vermont

Yes

Required

65

Virginia

Yes

Required

65

Washington

Yes

Required

70

Washington, D.C.

Yes

Required

55

West Virginia

Yes

Required

70

Wisconsin

If Under 18

Required

65

Wyoming

If Under 18

Not Required

75

 

 

    Motorcycle safety

             We all remember being told to wear our helmets when we were younger, and most of us accepted this guidance. Sure it was inconvenient, and we hated the way we looked and how the helmet felt, but it was certainly better than a fight with our parents. We did not give much thought to safety, but it turns out our parents were right and safety is a huge factor. Wearing a helmet on a motorcycle is important to the safety of riders and passengers. Here are some key facts about how important wearing a helmet really is:

 

  • An motorcyclist without a helmet is 40% more likely to suffer a fatal injury than a helmeted motorcyclist.

 

  • For the 18 years from 1984 to 2002 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets saved about 13,774 motorcyclists

 

  • A study from the University of Southern California showed that wearing a helmet was the most important factor in surviving a crash.

 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also estimates that wearing a helmet reduces the likelihood of death in a crash by 37%.

 These simple statistics show just how vital wearing a helmet is to surviving a motorcycle crash. Yet people still remain opposed to this easy safety precaution. States that have these helmet laws have lower fatality rates for crashes, yet only twenty two (22) states require all riders to wear helmets. Regardless of whether your state has a helmet requirement you should always wear one while riding a motorcycle. It is the safest choice.

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