The Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Use

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The most dangerous form of transportation is the motorcycle. According to research, motorcycle riders were more than 26 times would likely die in an event of crash or impact. There were about 4,668 motorcycle riders who were killed in 2013.

The motorcycle helmet laws implemented the use of motorcycle helmets thus decrease the motorcycle crash fatalities and even can save taxpayer dollar. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in 2012 that “laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proved to be effective in reducing motorcyclist fatalities.” About 59% of the motorcycle riders were killed in some states without the helmet law.

The motorcycle helmets prevent about $17 billion in injuries and death yearly. This could be more prevented by $8 billion if all motorcycle riders wear helmets. In the United States, about 80% favor the use of motorcycle helmet in some states. In economic costs, wearing helmets can save about $2.7 billion annually. The use of motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of death by 42% and head injury by 69%.

The Motorcycle Helmet Laws

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  • Definition


The motorcycle helmet laws oblige motorcyclists to wear helmets while driving on public roads. These fall into two categories in the US namely the:

  1. Universal Helmet Law

The universal motorcycle helmet law requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. In the United States, there are about 19 states including the District of Columbia that comply with the Universal Helmet Law.        

   2. Partial Helmet Law

The Partial helmet Law requires some motorcyclists that include riders with age 18 and below, novices, and those who don’t meet the state requirements on medical insurance coverage to wear a helmet. There are 28 states that adhere to this law. There are no helmet laws in New Hampshire, Iowa, and Illinois.

  • Provisions of the Universal and Partial Helmet Laws

These motorcycle helmet laws have the following provisions:

  1. Helmets must be approved and certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT or some regulatory agencies.
  2. The helmet laws enfold all motorized cycles. These include the low-powered cycles such as scooters and mopeds and all motorcycles. These also cover those that meet particular criterion such by horsepower, engine capacity or capability to surpass particular speeds.
  3. There will be monetary fines or penalties for those who will violate the helmet laws.
  • Application

Based on the systematic review and evidence conducted by some researchers, the universal helmet laws are helpful for the following populations and contexts:

  1. U.S. and non-U.S. settings
  2. Males and Females
  3. Urban and Rural Areas
  4. Motorcyclists of all Ages
  5. Motorcycle Riders and Passengers
  • Comparison

According to research, states that implemented the universal helmet laws have a greater rate of use of helmet and a smaller rate of motorcycle fatality that includes injuries and deaths compared to states without no or partial helmet laws. The statistics are as follows:

  1. Fatality Rates
  1. A median of 12% lower for per registered motorcycle.
  2. A median of 25% lower for per vehicle mile travelled.
  1. Helmet Use

A median of 53 percentage points higher

  1. Total Number of Deaths

47% fewer for deaths related to head injuries

  1. Total Number of Non-Fatal Injuries

24% fewer for non-fatal head injuries with a median of 33% fewer


The Universal Helmet Laws are more effective than the Partial Helmet Law. This is because the universal helmet laws apply to all motorcycle and passengers to wear helmets than for some motorcycle riders without a helmet. The evidence shows also that the wearing of helmets can reduce the risk of death and head injury. The use of motorcycle helmet certified and approved by the Department of Transportation and some performance standards must also be implemented. This can lessen casualties of the motorcycle riding on the road.

The universal helmet law also shows ample economic benefits than the partial or no helmet law. These include the benefits from productivity losses and the healthcare costs.

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