Motorcycle helmet laws vary from state to state in our country. Laws for motorcyclists have seen major changes during the past half a century. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 19 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws requiring helmets for all motorcyclists. This is known as the universal helmet laws. In 28 states, laws requiring only some motorcyclists to wear a helmet are in place. In three states, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire, there are no laws for motorcycle helmet use.
As a result of pressure from the federal government, more states have developed universal helmet laws. For states to qualify for certain federal safety programs and highway construction funds back in 1967, states were required to enact helmet use laws. This federal incentive worked, and almost all the states had universal motorcycle helmet laws. But in 1976, states successfully stopped the financial penalties from Department of Transportation. Since 1976, the laws began to vary greatly from state to state and more lenient laws were replaced.
Currently, 23 states have motorcycle helmet laws that cover all low-power cycles. The District of Columbia along with 24 states have laws that cover some low-power cycles. The IIHS uses a generic term, low-power cycles, to cover nonmotorcycle motors, such as cycles, scooters, mopeds, and various other 2-wheeled cycles. These low-power cycles are excluded from the motorcycle definition. A low-power cycle is a cycle with brake horsepower of 2 or less, an engine displacement of 50 ccs or less, and top speeds of 30 mph or less.
As advocates for the safety of all motorcyclist and low-powered cyclist, Meyerkord, Meyerkord & Kurth, LLC, fights the for rights of accident victims in the Greater St. Louis area. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation at our downtown St. Louis office.