BIKE & MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS

BICYCLE AND MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS IN THE U.S.

While I don’t always see eye-to-eye with the political views and legislative agenda of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, I do love their research.  According to the front page of its website IIHS is an “…independent, non-profit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses…on the nation’s highways…”

Of course, when you read the fine print you see that the “Insurance” part of the IIHS name means that the money supporting the IIHS comes from the biggest auto insurers in the world.  While this slant may indicate that “reducing losses” means paying less on claims to those who get hurt [you don’t see the IIHS supporting bills to INCREASE pain and suffering awards], it doesn’t change the numbers – only the “spin” when the numbers are whacked around in public!

In the arena of bicycles and motorcycle, the IIHS does strong research on death/injury statistics. It then tinges those numbers with a “Pro Helmet Law” flavoring which I, personally, tend to ignore.  I simply do not feel that the government should be telling us what kind of hat to wear when we go ride our bikes and motorcycles.  The numbers don’t support it – rather, the numbers would indicate that if Kevlar suits and helmets were required for CAR drivers and passengers, they would be a LOT safer… when they pass THAT law, they can tackle the really small problem of bicycle/motorcycle injuries.

The IIHS published an excellent summary of bicycle and motorcycle laws, which is shown below.  You can also go here to read about it up close and personal.

Currently in OHIO there is NO bicycle helmet law.  However, there is one percolating in the Legislature at this very moment.  More on that later.  For now, here’s the IIHS summary of Bicycle and Motorcycle Helmet Laws in the US.

FROM THE IIHS WEBPAGE

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have motorcycle helmet laws that require all riders to wear a helmet. Twenty-seven states have a motorcycle helmet law that only require some riders to wear a helmet. Three states (Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire) do not have a motorcycle helmet law.

Low-power cycle (LPC) is a generic term used by IIHS to cover motor-driven cycles, mopeds, scooters, and various other 2-wheeled cycles excluded from the motorcycle definition. While state laws vary, a cycle with an engine displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less, brake horsepower of 2 or less, and top speeds of 30 mph or less typically is considered an LPC. Twenty-two states have motorcycle helmet laws that cover all low-power cycles. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have laws that cover some low-power cycles.

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have bicycle helmet laws that require some young bicyclists to wear a helmet. Local law may require helmet use for some or all bicyclists.

State Motorcycle helmets Does the motorcycle helmet law cover all low-power cycles? Bicycle helmets
Alabama all riders yes 15 and younger
Alaska 17 and younger1 yes no law
Arizona 17 and younger some no law
Arkansas 20 and younger yes no law
California all riders yes 17 and younger
Colorado 17 and younger and passengers 17 and younger yes no law
Connecticut 17 and younger yes 15 and younger
Delaware 18 and younger some 17 and younger
District of Columbia all riders some 15 and younger
Florida 20 and younger2 some 15 and younger
Georgia all riders some 15 and younger
Hawaii 17 and younger some 15 and younger
Idaho 17 and younger some no law
Illinois no law no law no law
Indiana 17 and younger yes no law
Iowa no law no law no law
Kansas 17 and younger some no law
Kentucky 20 and younger3 some no law
Louisiana all riders yes 11 and younger
Maine 17 and younger4 some 15 and younger
Maryland all riders some 15 and younger
Massachusetts all riders yes 1–16 (riding with children younger than 1 prohibited)
Michigan all riders some no law
Minnesota 17 and younger5 yes no law
Mississippi all riders yes no law
Missouri all riders some no law
Montana 17 and younger some no law
Nebraska all riders yes no law
Nevada all riders some no law
New Hampshire no law no law 15 and younger
New Jersey all riders yes 16 and younger
New Mexico 17 and younger some 17 and younger
New York all riders some 1–13 (riding with children younger than 1 prohibited)
North Carolina all riders yes 15 and younger
North Dakota 17 and younger6 yes no law
Ohio 17 and younger7 yes no law
Oklahoma 17 and younger some no law
Oregon all riders yes 15 and younger
Pennsylvania 20 and younger8 some 11 and younger
Rhode Island 20 and younger9 some 15 and younger
South Carolina 20 and younger yes no law
South Dakota 17 and younger yes no law
Tennessee all riders yes 15 and younger
Texas 20 and younger10 some no law
Utah 17 and younger yes no law
Vermont all riders some no law
Virginia all riders some no law
Washington all riders yes no law
West Virginia all riders some 14 and younger
Wisconsin 17 and younger11 some no law
Wyoming 17 and younger some no law
Printed from: http://www.ohiobikelawyer.com/uncategorized/2009/12/bike-motorcycle-helmet-laws/ .
© 2016.

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