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Motorcycle Helmet Law

A Guide to Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Law

May 1, 2019

After a long Michigan winter, motorcycle enthusiasts are ready to enjoy the longer days and warmer temperatures ahead. Most bikers know that motorcyclists over 21 are no longer required to wear helmets under certain conditions. However, many people still have questions about current Michigan motorcycle law, particularly motorcycle helmet law. 

  • Are helmets optional for all bikers?
  • Do the same rules apply to motorcycle passengers?
  • Is eye protection mandatory?

To help bikers ride safely and legally, here is an up-to-date guide to motorcycle helmet law in Michigan.

Who Can Ride Without a Helmet?

Motorcyclists have the right to choose whether to wear a helmet, providing certain conditions are met.

In order to ride without a helmet, a motorcycle operator must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits (Personal Injury Protection, or PIP)
  • Have held a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years, or have passed an approved motorcycle safety course

Motorcycle passengers who wish to ride without a helmet must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits (Personal Injury Protection, or PIP), in addition to the insurance the motorcycle operator must carry

Motorcycle operators and passengers under 21 years old must wear a helmet. 

In addition, individuals younger than 19 must wear a helmet if operating a moped on a public roadway.

All helmets worn by Michigan motorcyclists of any age must comply with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards.

Is Eye Protection Required by Law?

Unlike helmet use, motorcyclists do not have a choice about eye protection. To operate a motorcycle on a public highway at 35 mph or faster, motorcyclists must comply with at least one of these regulations:

  • The motorcycle must have a windshield large enough to protect occupants from insects, water, debris and other airborne objects.
  • If there is no windshield, the operator must wear goggles with shatter-proof transparent lenses, a transparent face shield or eyeglasses. These items should be shatter resistant and large enough to sufficiently protect the eyes.

Even with a windshield, safety experts recommend additional protection, such as helmets with full-face coverage and energy-absorbing liners.

The Benefits of Motorcycle Helmets

Despite the choice provided by Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law, helmets are still recommended. Here are a few reasons why riders and passengers will be safer and more comfortable when they wear helmets.    

  • Riders who don’t wear helmets are twice as likely to sustain serious head injuries, the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents
  • Riders who don’t wear helmets are three times as likely to die if they are involved in a crash.
  • Helmets add comfort to your ride by reducing wind noise and windblast on your face and eyes.

Helmet Safety Tips From the Motorcycle Safety Foundation

  • Replace your helmet immediately if you dropped it on the ground or wore it in a crash. Otherwise, replace it every few years. If you’re not sure, have it inspected by a reputable helmet shop.
  • Buy your helmet from a knowledgeable dealer who will help you find the correct fit and style. 
  • Wear your helmet whenever you ride, even during short neighborhood trips.
  • Keep your helmet securely fastened at all times. Accidents happen quickly, and you’ll want to be prepared for any unexpected situations.
  • Never operate a motorcycle after drinking alcohol or using drugs.

Motorcycle accident law is complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple.

Get the Bernstein Biker Advantage.

Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free no-obligation consultation.

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