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Click above to view the IIHS Helmet Law maps

If you plan on interstate travel, it's probably a good idea to understand the many differences in state traffic laws. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety is creating a series of color-coded US maps to point out the differences in state regs, beginning with motorcycle and bicycle helmet laws.

The motorcycle helmet law map shows which states mandate helmet usage, have a partial helmet law, or no helmet law. Bikers wanting to ride with the wind in their hair can head over to Illinois, Iowa, or New Hampshire. Be warned, though, that the IIHS has found that states repealing or weakening their helmet laws have seen an increase in motorcycle crash deaths.

The bicycle helmet law map shows the different laws governing helmet usage on bikes. Bicycle helmet legislation varies greatly between states. There are seven different types, ranging from mandatory helmets for bicyclists 11 and younger to no laws on the books whatsoever. In California and New Mexico, all riders under 18 must wear a helmet.

[Source: IIHS via Kicking Tires]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      The government decided people are entitled to (a degree of) healthcare on someone else's dime. The second that happened, the people footing the bill realized that meant they were entitled to treat you like a dependent child.

      Helmet laws - and seatbelt laws and airbag laws and all the other idiocy protecting you from yourself - can't be directly fixed because they aren't the problem. They're symptoms.
        • 6 Years Ago
        DAN - I agree with you. I am an avid rider (FJR 1300 - love it). But the laws are all there because someone else would pay your ER bills to some extent if you spill your brains on the pavement.
        I used to ride in Iowa and Kentucky and I always made sure that I had a helmet. Got to be pretty dumb not to understand stats of injury and say that you are out of the group of people at risk (HAhaha). But that is a personal choice, just as it is the choice of the government to protect their money from fools that need it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The symptoms of people infected with dumb.
      • 6 Years Ago
      JACK UP INSURANCE PREMIUMS for those who do not wear helmets or seat belts.

      Unfortunately, EVERYONE ELSE pays for these IDIOTS through higher premiums. It's NOT fair.

      Hurry up and die already no-helmet people - then we won't have to pay for YOUR health care anymore.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The first time I rode east of the Colorado River and I took my hat off, I felt naked. Like I was missing my watch or wallet kind of naked. And having been down twice, (yay lowsides!) I will always wear a helmet, along w/ the rest of my gear.

      Come on, we all know the adage. "There are those that have been down and those that are doing down." It doesn't matter if its the curves of a woman or the curves of a road, wear your protection.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm all for laws governing both types of protection, splattered brains and ill advised reproduction are both drains on the state and fed government.
      • 6 Years Ago
      In Florida, you're free to ride helmet-free if you wish. I believe, however, that there is an additional insurance requirement.

      While I do not believe it is the government's (especially the Federal government's) place to do any sort of nanny laws like this dealing with victimless events, if *I* have to pick up the medical bill for someone else, then I can't accept that.

      For that reason I accept the additional insurance requirement for now.
      • 2 Years Ago
      vegas style guy so lets ban scuba diving also parachuting because that helmet aint gonna help ya there and all other things you deem dangerous some that even you may enjoy...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Without getting into the helmet law debate, I can guess that some people are going to say the colors are reversed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's just incredibly retarded to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Period. That's just dumb...

      But hey, "personal freeeeedom, bla bla bla ..." "goverment this and goverment that" Putting yourself in danger just to make a point, smart move!

      If everyone used their braincells, there would be no need for laws or recommendations. Sadly enough that's not the case.

      I bet that the loudmouths will be very happy taking care of their drewling paraplethic sons once they crashed their bike into a tree. Or organising their funeral...

      And some people just don't get a grasp on the risks, because they will never give it a thought or think that this will not happen to them. I bet they would have wanted a helmet law after crashing.

      But hey, better to crash and spent your lifetime on tubes (because euthansia also is not an option...)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ummm Nicole Richardson... Helmet laws even for skiers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just a few days ago I saw a lady in her SUV eating a TV dinner while driving. Eating and driving is bad enough (c'mon, you know we all do it) but balancing the food tray and poking the food in her mouth is rather dangerous.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've had this debate with friends that disagree with helmet laws.
      They insist they are the only ones at risk. I happen to disagree, how about when you get hurt, all the police, fire, first aid, heli pilots (for the bad accidents) and everyone else that would be doing something else other than rushing your dumb ass to the hospital, if you wore a damn helmet.

      If i'm reading the partial law state stats correctly (and i may not be), the partial law looks to be a total waste, some states only require it until 17 years old, as if by that age you are a mature experienced motorcyle rider.
      Seems idiotic to me.

      If you ride a motorcyle without a helmet, you are a moron, because if you were'nt a moron, you would know you should be wearing a helmet.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Regardless of whether you think you should be required to wear a helmet or not (personally I think you should), I can't believe that each state has different laws for it. That seems as crazy as having, say, different width train tracks when crossing to another state.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Get your laws off of my body!
        • 6 Years Ago
        No joke!
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Spoken like someone who has taken a public policy course or two... "

        Wrong. People with risky lifestyles are cheaper overall than those who grow old, a statistic that few actually want to hear or face up to. People who grow old are in the healthcare system for longer portions of their life while not being able to work. Risky lifestyle people tend to go out quickly and are productive right to the end.

        So I say, ride on you kooks!
        • 6 Years Ago
        If it wasn't my tax dollars that would have to support you when you wind up paralyzed and in a nursing home for the rest of your life, then I'd agree with you.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Spoken like someone who has taken a public policy course or two...
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