Know Your State By State Helmet and Equipment Laws

Here in North Carolina, we all know that North Carolina has what we refer to as “a helmet law.”  Like a lot of other states, North Carolina motorcyclists must wear a helmet that complies with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218.  But, there are times when you are going to ride your motorcycle outside of North Carolina and need to know the particular helmet law of another state.  But, it is not as simple as a state either having a helmet law or not having a helmet law.  For example, let’s say that you are riding to Daytona for Bike Week.  When asked, most motorcyclists will tell you that South Carolina does not have a helmet law.  That is only partially true.  In South Carolina, you still have to wear a helmet if you are under 21.  When you enter Georgia, the helmet law is just like North Carolina.  Once you enter Florida, however, you do not have to wear a helmet if you are 21 or over as long as you have health insurance with $10,000.00 of medical benefits for injuries.  It appears there are only 3 states, Idaho, Iowa, and New Hampshire that are true “no helmet law” states.

There are a couple of good general websites which will give you an overview of the motorcycle laws of each state and their equipment requirements.  Visit the American Motorcyclist Association for helpful resources. You can also view this chart put out by MSF – Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

When you visit the websites above, they don’t just discuss helmet laws, but also will let you know each state’s law regarding certain equipment such as eye protection, handlebar height restriction, headphones, and if each of the tires on your motorcycle require a fender.  So, before you head out on your next out-of-state motorcycle trip, check out the laws of those states that you will travel through to make sure that you and your motorcycle are meeting that state’s helmet and equipment requirements.

Gary Poole “On the Side of Those Who Ride”

Gary Poole Law Office