Are Helmets Required For Motorcycles In The U.S.?

Are Helmets Required For Motorcycles In The U.S.?

Are Helmets Required For Motorcycles In The U.S.? Motorcycles are much more than a hobby for many people. They are a convenient way to get around, unwind after a long day, but also enjoy the natural beauty. However, due to their small size and lack of protection, when these bikes are in an accident, the results can be disastrous. As a result, many studies and organizations recommend that motorcyclists wear helmets when they hit the open road.

However, not only are many riders objected to this protective headgear, but some states do not require motorcyclists to wear helmets while riding.

Why Are Helmets Necessary?

Why Are Helmets Necessary?
Why Are Helmets Necessary?

Are Helmets Required For Motorcycles? Helmets can help to prevent head trauma, which can be fatal in a motorcycle accident. A traumatic brain injury, for example, can cause severe physical complications, cognitive impairment, and even severe behavioral and emotional changes. Worse, for many, the consequences are irreversible.

For these reasons, motorcycle helmets are essential when riding because they protect the rider’s head and reduce the risk of injury but also death. Furthermore, because of their unique design, they allow the rider to operate their bike without even any difficulty.

They can also maintain the sun and wind off a rider’s face while on the road, which means the helmet can help the rider’s hearing and vision, making it easier for them to focus and see while on the road.
Helmets, most importantly, save lives.

The CDC states:

  • Every year, a helmet saves the lives of over 1,800 people.
  • If motorcyclists had worn helmets, nearly 750 lives could have been spared in just one year.
  • Motorcycle helmets are 37% more effective in preventing fatalities for riders and 41% more effective in preventing fatalities for passengers.
  • Helmets can cut the risk of head trauma by 69%.
  • Furthermore, today’s helmets are lightweight, well-ventilated, and have a lot of padding, which means they are not only incredibly comfortable but there are countless options to choose from with the many different kinds of helmets available.

The Most Common Injuries After a Motorcycle Accident

Although motorcycle accidents frequently injure the lower extremities, the chest, and head areas are also frequently injured. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, while leg bone fractures are the most common after a motorcycle collision, the study finds that chest, head, and abdominal injuries are the most severe.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the only injuries that can result from these horrifying collisions.

Aside from leg bone fractures and head as well as chest injuries, the following types of injuries are common after a motorcycle accident:

  • TBI stands for traumatic brain injury.
  • Injuries to the spinal cord
  • Lacerations that are severe
  • Disfigurement of the face
  • Rib fractures
  • Limbs amputated
  • Internal bruising
  • Organ deterioration
  • Crushing injuries from road rash
  • Death

Fortunately, wearing a helmet is one of the few precautions a motorcycle rider can take to avoid some of these potentially fatal injuries. As previously stated, wearing a helmet not only reduces the risk of head trauma by 69%, but it also reduces fatalities by 37 percent.

Are Helmets Required For Motorcycles In The U.S.? States that do not require motorcycle helmets

States that do not require motorcycle helmets
States that do not require motorcycle helmets

So, Are Helmets Required For Motorcycles in the U.S.? In 1967, the federal government mandated that states enact universal motorcycle helmet laws in order to qualify for certain types of highway safety funds. Except for three states, this requirement had been met by 1975. However, in 1976, Congress rescinded the authority to impose penalties for noncompliance, causing states to revise their motorcycle helmet laws. Many of these states managed to keep the law, but only applied it to novice and young riders.

While most states have some helmet laws requiring the use of a helmet when riding, three states do not require the use of a helmet when operating a motorcycle.

These are some of the states: Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire

Why Do Riders Refuse to Wear Helmets?

Despite the significant life-saving benefits which helmets can provide riders, particularly when it comes to safeguarding them in a motorcycle accident, some riders persist in refusing to wear a helmet or choose to skip it when riding in a state where it is not required.

While the reasons for not wearing the above helmet vary, some of the more common explanations for why motorcyclists prefer not even to wear a helmet are as follows:

  • The helmet is excessively heavy.
  • Too much heat is trapped as a result of the helmet.
  • In the helmet, the rider feels as if they are suffocating.
  • Physical discomfort (head pain, neck pain)
  • Riders believe wearing a helmet violates their rights and freedoms.

The bottom line

So, Are Helmets Required For Motorcycles In The U.S.?While there is no such thing as a concussion-proof helmet, a properly fitted helmet can protect people from serious brain and head injuries. However, before purchasing any helmet, ensure that it is age-appropriate, well-maintained, properly worn, and adequately certified for use.