Do You Have To Wear A Motorcycle Helmet In Iowa?

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Helmets provide a measure of protection and safety when driving motorcycles. Regardless of why other people may or may not wear motorcycle helmets, it is a good idea to use one. This is why many states here require motorcycle riders, by law, to wear helmets.

Now, when it comes to answering the question, “do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Iowa?” there is a very clear-cut answer which is the state of Iowa doesn’t require motorcycle passengers to wear helmets. Quite a few states do not implement helmet safety laws, and Iowa is one of those states.

If a short answer is what you came here to look for, then you have it, as stated above. However, if you want to look into this matter in more detail, I would encourage you to read the following article to the end.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws And Rules In Iowa

Learn if there is any motorcycle helmet regulation in Iowa or not through my guide

In 1967, the federal government made it mandatory for all states to have laws that ensured that motorcycle riders were made to wear helmets for safety.

States that could not implement these laws suffered the penalty of having their highway funds deducted.

However, in 1976, Congress made it so that this law didn’t need to be implemented. Following this change, states, including Iowa, Illinois, and New Hampshire, retracted this universal law.

The state of Iowa made this change in 1986, becoming one of the last of the three states to do so.

You are also not required to wear eye protection in motorcycle protection glasses or any other type of face shield.

This is the case for anyone regardless of their age. You can freely ride a motorcycle in Iowa without the obligation of wearing a helmet, and you will not get in trouble with local law enforcement.

There is no restriction for helmets based on the type of motorcycle either. Your motorcycle can be of any horsepower, or you can have a motorcycle with more than two wheels. The same is the case for occupation as well.

There is no specific occupation that requires you to be wearing a helmet while driving a motorcycle. Hence, the choice is entirely up to you, the vehicle’s driver.

Motorcycle Helmet Requirements In IA

Since Iowa does not have a law that requires drivers to wear a motorcycle helmet, I’ve given some suggestions as to what you should look for in a helmet.

Firstly, you should try your best and get yourself a DOT Approved helmet. Even if Iowa does not require you to wear helmets, the added protection DOT-approved helmets provide will benefit you greatly and further help you if you are moving to another state requiring this type of helmet.

In the case of open-face helmets, it is recommended that you equip yourself with capable eye protection that is both impacts resistant and shatterproof.

This will ensure maximum protection for your eyes. If you want to take this one step further, you can use a face shield; however, this may be overkill.

Once again, due to the nature of none existent helmet laws in Iowa, all of these requirements have been taken based on other states and will guarantee your protection when driving on the busy roads with your motorcycle, which is why you should wear a helmet regardless of whether it is required by the state or not.

Penalties/Legal Consequences

Firstly, addressing the elephant in the room is the most important one. Even though wearing a helmet or not wearing one is left up to you, the driver, the consequences are also yours to bear if you choose not to wear one.

You could be at risk of losing your life in an accident. However, putting that aside, there are a lot of legal ramifications that you need to be worried about as well.

If you are involved in an accident and suffer a head injury, your comparative negligence will get affected even if you did not cause the accident.

This means that you are partially liable for the injury even if you were to get hit by someone else and get a head injury while not wearing a.

In the case of settlements, you will also receive a reduced settlement. In the case of not wearing a helmet, the reduction is 15% of the accepted settlement.

So, in case you were to receive $20,000 originally, you will receive $17,000. This is because the opposition can argue that wearing a helmet could have helped lessen the damage of your injuries.

Other Things To Consider Aside From Helmets In Iowa

Although there is no mandate for wearing a helmet, some really strict laws regarding driving licenses in Iowa exist.

Since riding a motorcycle is very different from driving a car, getting a motorcycle license is also quite different.

If you don’t have a license already, you will have to go through the process of getting one.

And even if you do have a license for driving a car, the Iowa Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires you to get an endorsement for motorcycles on that existing license.

The endorsement process requires you to give a motorcycle driving test, a vision screening test, and a motorcycle knowledge test.

This is only for people over the age of 18. However, even under that age, you can get an instruction permit to drive alone.

Keep in mind that you might get into trouble with local law enforcement without a license or a permit.

Get In Touch With Experienced Motorcycle Attorneys In Iowa

If you are in an accident while driving a motorcycle, you may be entitled to compensation.

Here are some of the best attorneys in Iowa in case you need to get in touch with them.

1. Des Moines Injury Law Firm

Des Moines Injury Law is one of the most popular law firms when it comes to dealing with motorcycle accident cases.

They have a free consultation, and some of their lawyers are experienced licensed bike riders, which is why they are more likely to understand your situation better.

Phone Number: (515) 493-4878

2. LaMarca Law Group, P.C.

The Iowa-based law firm LaMarca Law Group is known for its experience and success in motorcycle accident litigation. Their successful recoveries are somewhere in the millions of dollars.

They handle motorcycle accident cases very well, making them a very good fit in case you need a lawyer in this situation.

Phone Number: (515) 705-0233

3. Lombardi Law Firm

Steve Lombardi, one of the name partners at this firm, has handled hundreds of cases related to motorcycle accidents since 1981.

So, it is safe to say that these guys know what they are doing. Their previous clients in such cases give some glowing recommendations for their work.

Phone Number: (515) 222-1110

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is It Ok To Wear An Open Face Helmet In Iowa?

Since no outright law states that you even need to wear a helmet, the option of wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is up to you. With this in mind, you will be fine wearing an open-face helmet in Iowa.

Q2. How Much Is The Fine For Not Wearing A Motorcycle Helmet In Iowa?

The short answer to this question is that there is no fine. With no law, you will not get into trouble for not wearing a helmet.

You might get some problems in accident cases with liability. However, if it happens with you not wearing one.

Q3. When Did Motorcycle Helmet Become Law In Iowa?

Helmet laws have existed in Iowa since 1967, but soon after, the mandate for having a helmet-wearing law was removed by Congress in 1976.

Iowa, like a handful of other states in America, chose to revoke this law and has since made it law to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.

Q4. Should Passengers Wear A Helmet In Iowa?

Passengers, like the drivers, do not have to wear helmets in Iowa. This is, once again, due to the lack of any law enforcement for the wearing of helmets.

Q5. Are Moped Drivers Required To Wear A Helmet In Arkansas?

There are no specific conditions in the state of Iowa that make you have to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Types of motorcycles are in the same boat.

You can choose not to wear a helmet in Iowa regardless of whichever type of motorcycle you drive. You will not get in trouble with the police on a moped so long as you are licensed to drive a motorcycle.

You may also be interested in my article: How To Get A Motorcycle License In Iowa


Iowa is one of the only three states in America that do not have a standing law for motorcycle riders to wear a helmet while riding.

The choice is left to you as the driver. Even though you may be free to drive without wearing one, you may be better off legally in case you get caught up in a motorcycle accident case.

So, in the end, do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Iowa? Since even the most experienced motorcycle riders attest to the dangers of riding a motorcycle, it is best that you still do wear one despite being allowed not to.

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