Universal Helmet Law

Universal helmet laws state that all motorcycle riders and motorcycle passengers must wear helmets while riding, regardless of age. Partial helmet laws define certain groups of people who are required to wear helmets while riding, such as riders below a certain age. Helmet laws vary by state, as each state imposes and regulates its own motorcycle helmet laws.

Universal Helmet Laws by State

As of February 2014, 19 states and the District of Columbia maintain a universal helmet law. Partial helmet laws are in place in 28 states. There are three states have no motorcycle helmet laws. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety lists each state and their current motorcycle helmet laws.

Florida Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Florida does not have a universal helmet law, rather it requires helmets in certain circumstances. Motorcycle riders aged 20 or younger are required to wear helmets. Those who are 21 and older who have less than $10,000 medical insurance coverage are also required to wear helmets.

Universal Helmet Law Statistics

Data indicates that a universal helmet law has a significant impact on helmet use and motorcycle injuries and deaths in each state. According to the CDC, enactment of a universal helmet law significantly increases the use of helmets among motorcyclists. Furthermore, repealing a universal helmet law results in a significant decrease in the use of helmets. With a decrease in helmet use comes an inevitable increase in reported motorcycle injuries and deaths.

Motorcycle Accident Deaths

A universal helmet law shows a direct statistical impact on the number of motorcycle deaths in each state. Findings published in the American Journal of Public Health show that universal helmet laws were associated with a reduction in motorcycle deaths by roughly 11 percent. Furthermore, states that imposed a universal helmet law then repealed the law saw an estimated 12 percent increase in motorcycle deaths.

Universal Helmet Law Controversy

Universal helmet laws can be a cause for controversy within a state. Those who support universal helmet law argue that more lives can be saved through helmet use. Those who oppose universal helmet law argue that mandatory helmet use may actually contribute to certain types of head and neck injuries. Additionally, many believe that mandatory helmet use is an infringement on an individual’s constitutional freedom of choice.




Houston, David J., and Lilliard E. Richardson. “Motorcycle Safety and the Repeal of Universal Helmet Laws.” American Journal of Public Health. 97.11 (2007): 2063-2069. Print.

“Motorcycle Safety Guide: Universal Helmet Laws Increase Helmet Use.” CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Jun 2012. Web. 5 Feb 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/mc/guide/laws.html>.