What You Need to Know about State Helmet Laws

State Helmet Laws Guide

Click on the image for a full-sized map

Know the Helmet Laws Before Your Next Motorcycle Trip

What's better for motorcycle riding than clear weather, warm sun, and open roads? Most motorcyclists we know are taking advantage of the seasonal temperatures. In fact, many are planning their first motorcycle trip of the year.

To enjoy the safest and most law-abiding ride, we recommend you familiarize yourself with state-to-state helmet laws. Knowing them will keep you covered and keep your wallet from taking a hit.

Did You Know?

Traffic regulations change from state to state. You've certainly noticed this if you've ever crossed a state line and witnessed a speed limit change on the same stretch of road. What does this mean for motorcyclists?

Some states don't require helmets. You can choose not to wear one, but if you enter a state that requires a helmet, then you must follow that particular state's laws. For example, Pennsylvania doesn't require all riders to wear helmets. However, if you take a trip from Erie to Findlay Lake, NY, then you're required to put a helmet on after crossing the state line.

With that in mind, it's important to know the state helmet laws if you're planning a cross-country trip. Map out each state and follow the helmet laws accordingly. To make this part of planning your trip easier, we've created an interactive helmet law map of the United States.

You can even print out our State by State Helmet Laws here and take it with you.

Having the Right Helmet

State by State Helmet Laws

If you typically ride without a helmet but plan to leave your state, you may need suggestions to find the right one for your riding style. Our law firm always recommends a helmet with a full-face shield, but there are others available.

helmet with goggles

If you typically wear your own goggles – as is required in PA – you might consider a three-quarter open face helmet. These have a similar construction to full-face helmets, but leave the face and chin exposed.


There are also half-helmets, which reduce the coverage on your head compared to the other two options. They cover a smaller amount of area and offer less protection.

As long as your helmet is DOT approved, it will be up to federal safety standards. Always buy your helmet from a reputable dealer and steer clear of second-hand helmets. If you buy your helmet second-hand – and it's been in an accident – it is essentially worthless. Helmets should always be replaced after any significant impact.

Know Your Rights as a Motorcyclist

Motorcyclists deserve their fair share of the road. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. Some drivers are negligent or inconsiderate, and that can lead to deadly accidents or severe injuries to motorcycle riders.

So if you're ever involved in a motorcycle accident, contact our law firm for a free legal consultation. We'll help you understand your rights as a motorcyclist, and we'll get you the help you deserve. We're always standing by. Contact us any time.