Which States Can You Ride a Motorcycle Without a Helmet?

Riding a motorcycle offers an unmatched sense of freedom and adventure but also involves inherent risks. A helmet is one of the most crucial safety gear for any rider. However, whether you are required to wear one varies from state to state. Some states mandate helmets for all riders, others allow certain riders to forgo this protection, and some do not require anyone to wear a helmet. In this blog post, we’ll answer the question “which states can you ride a motorcycle without a helmet” and discuss the importance of helmet safety.

States with No Helmet Requirements

As of 2023, only three states have no motorcycle helmet requirements for riders of any age:

  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire

In these states, riders can legally operate a motorcycle without a helmet, regardless of age or experience level. However, it’s important to note that just because it’s legal to ride without a helmet doesn’t mean it’s advisable. The risks associated with helmetless riding are significant and can lead to severe injuries or even death in the event of an accident.

States with Restricted Helmet Laws

Several states have motorcycle helmet laws that only apply to certain riders, typically those under 18 or 21. These states include:

  • Alaska (17 and younger + those on instructional permit + all passengers)
  • Arizona (17 and younger)
  • Arkansas (20 and younger)
  • Colorado (17 and younger)
  • Connecticut (17 and younger)
  • Delaware (18 and younger + riders who have had their endorsement for less than two years)
  • Florida (20 and under + those with less than $10,000 in medical insurance covering motorcycle accidents)
  • Hawaii (17 and younger)
  • Idaho (17 and younger)
  • Indiana (17 and younger)
  • Kansas (17 and younger)
  • Kentucky (20 and younger + those licensed less than one year)
  • Maine (17 and younger + those on permit and those licensed less than one year + any passenger on a motorcycle operated by someone required to wear a helmet)
  • Michigan (20 and younger + riders and passengers without motorcycle insurance)
  • Minnesota (17 and younger + those with instructional permit)
  • Missouri (all riders except those over 25 who carry medical insurance)
  • Montana (17 and younger)
  • New Mexico (17 and younger)
  • North Dakota (17 and younger + any passenger of an operator who must wear a helmet)
  • Ohio (17 and younger + those licensed less than one year + any passenger of an operator who must wear a helmet)
  • Oklahoma (17 and younger)
  • Pennsylvania (20 and under + those licensed less than two years, except those who pass approved safety course)
  • Rhode Island (20 and younger + those licensed less than one year + all passengers)
  • South Carolina (20 and under)
  • South Dakota (17 and younger)
  • Texas (20 and under + those who have not completed safety course or lack medical insurance)
  • Utah (20 and younger)
  • Wisconsin (17 and younger + those on instructional permits)
  • Wyoming (17 and younger)

States not listed here require all riders and passengers to wear helmets.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

Regardless of your state’s helmet laws, prioritizing safety should always be a top concern when riding a motorcycle. Here are some essential motorcycle safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, even if your state does not require you to wear one by law.
  • Wear protective gear, including eye protection, gloves, long pants, a jacket, and sturdy footwear.
  • Perform regular maintenance on your motorcycle to ensure it’s in proper working order.
  • Obey traffic laws, speed limits, and road signs.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings, especially in heavy traffic or adverse weather conditions.

For more detailed information on motorcycle helmet laws in each state, visit our comprehensive helmet laws page.

Law Tigers Always Have Your Back

At Law Tigers, we’re riders just like you. This allows us to provide the best legal representation and resources with a biker-friendly perspective. With our team on your side, you can go on adventures anywhere in the country and know that we’ll be there in case something unfortunate does happen.