North Carolina Motorcycle Helmets May Soon Be Optional

Posted on Mar 27, 2013

north carolina motorcycle accident lawyerOur motorcycle accident lawyers in Raleigh have a breakdown of the details surrounding proposed legislation that may change North Carolina's motorcycle helmet law. Currently, North Carolina's motorcycle helmet law requires all persons operating a motorcycle or riding as a passenger to wear a helmet, regardless of the person's age. The fine for violating the law is $25.00.

This week House Bill 109 was approved, which may change the legal obligations of motorcycle riders around North Carolina. If it continues to pass legislation, the new changes would go into effect on October 1, 2013. The proposed legislation would:

  • Make it optional for motorcycle riders to wear a helmet if they are over the age of 18 if they meet certain requirements. (The age is according to the NC General Assembly. Conflicting local news reports cite age 21.)
  • Offer optional helmet use to all riders age 18 and older if they have held a motorcycle endorsement for one year or longer or have been certified by the Motorcycle Safety Instruction Program. 
  • Establish minimum insurance coverage requirements in order for motorcycle riders to be eligible for having the choice of wearing a helmet or not. ($10,000 medical coverage would be required.)
  • A $25.50 ticket would be issued to those in violation.


Just five years ago North Carolina was in the Top 10 states in the nation based on the number of annual fatal motorcycle accidents. Even though North Carolina requires all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, that same year when fatalities spiked, 159 people lost their lives in a motorcycle crash and approximately 1 in 11 riders was not wearing a helmet. Across the nation during the same year, motorcycle helmets saved 1,829 lives according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

There are many different types of helmet options available for motorcycle riders who are concerned about safety and style: Skull caps, three-quarter face and full-face helmets each offer their own degrees of protection. Riders can research different options to find a safe motorcycle helmet--one that is DOT-approved or Snell certified.

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