Motorcyclists

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, D.C., Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a helmet law for motorcyclists.
    • 19 states, D.C., the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a universal helmet law, requiring helmets for all riders.
    • 28 states and Guam require helmets for specific riders.
  • 3 states (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire) do not have a motorcycle 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.

Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices.

Short Term Description
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. 

Motorcyclists Reluctant to Wear High-Visibility Gear

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2019

CONTACT: Kara Macek, 202-789-0944

New Findings Suggest How to Increase Acceptance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of the National Cooperative Research and Evaluation Program (NCREP), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a report examining why motorcycle riders choose to wear – or not wear – high-visibility gear and what can be done to encourage greater use rates.

Motorcyclists’ Attitudes on Using High-Visibility Gear To Improve Conspicuity

This report by NHTSA and GHSA's National Cooperative Research and Evaluation Program (NCREP) examines why riders choose to wear – or not wear – high-visibility gear. Through conducting a focus group of motorcycle riders, the report finds that while most participants did not regularly wear such gear, those who did reported doing so after having been in a crash with a motor vehicle, or personally knowing another rider who had been in such a crash.

Subscribe to Motorcyclists