Do You Have To Wear A Motorcycle Helmet In Michigan?

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Motorcycle safety is very important, and law enforcement and the government must implement and uphold regulations ensuring safety for motorcycle riders.

Making these riders wear motorcycle helmets while driving is one of these. Now, there isn’t exactly a straightforward answer to the question, “Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Michigan?”

For starters, if you are under the age of 21, then you have to. No exemptions here. However, there are exemptions for people at or above 21 years old.

For readers under 21, that much information is the basics you need to know. However, if you wish to fully understand, I urge you to read the article to the end so you know the details of motorcycle helmet laws in Michigan.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws And Rules In Michigan

Let's find out if Michigan is a helmet state or not

Before the removal of the mandate by Congress in 1976 for the universal motorcycle helmet law, the state of Michigan, like all other states, made it mandatory for all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet while riding.

However, after 40 years of upholding this law, even after the removal of the mandate, Michigan repealed its motorcycle helmet law.

The law goes something like this; If a motorcycle rider or passenger is under 21 years old must wear a motorcycle helmet without any exemptions.

Under 21, riders must also have a learner’s permit to drive. Failure to follow these guidelines can result in trouble with local law enforcement, which can even lead to the suspension of the learner’s permit.

Drivers must have a driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years. If, however, the rider or passenger is at or above the age of 21, a few exemptions allow for not wearing a helmet.

Firstly, the motorcycle operator must have first-party medical benefits of at least $20,000 from insurance. If this is the case, then a motorcycle rider has the option to not wear a helmet.

For a passenger, however, there is another requirement. If the passenger wishes to not wear a helmet, they must be with a driver who fulfills the abovementioned requirements.

Motorcycle Helmet Requirements In MI

Motorcycle helmets have to meet certain requirements to apply to the law in the state of Michigan. In Michigan, motorcycle helmets must be DOT-compliant.

This means they must fulfill the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Helmets compliant with FMVSS 218 usually have the DOT sticker on them.

However, some manufacturers try to sell non-DOT-compliant stickers by putting fake stickers on the helmets.

Although this is very rare now, since manufacturers must get their helmets approved by the US Department of Transportation and the Department of State Police, it is still safer to know what your helmet must have to be DOT-compliant.

It must have at least a 1-inch thick inner foam layer. It must weigh at least 3 pounds. The helmet’s features should not extend beyond 2/10 an inch from its surface. And last but not least, it should have a sturdy chin strap and solid rivets.

I would suggest against going for the more novelty helmets because they are usually just made to look fancy and are not up to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or Snell standards.

If you buy a helmet that is compliant with ANSI standards, it is also automatically DOT-compliant. Make sure you get the right type of helmet, so you do not have to face any problems with the police.

Penalties/Legal Consequences

It is important to follow the law regardless of whichever law it is. Especially when it is there to provide you safety.

In the state of Michigan, if you do not wear a helmet while driving a bike and are not among the ones who are exempted, you violate the motorcycle helmet law, which can carry some legal penalties and consequences.

If you are under 21 and get caught driving without a motorcycle helmet, or if you are over 21 and do not come under the exemption, you will be committing a civil infraction.

You can face a fine of up to $200, of which $100 is the fine and $100 is court costs. However, this is not a set fine and can vary from one county to another. What I just mentioned is probably the highest it can go.

In Montcalm, Ionia, and Ottawa counties, there is $55 fine without court costs. In Kent County, the fine is $35, and lastly in Houghton County, they have a fine of $85 without court costs.

So, it is important to know which county you were in when the offense was committed so that you pay the right amount. Also, repeated tickets do not increase the cost of the fine.

Helmet Requirements During Nighttime In Michigan

Although dark visors help with the bright sunlight during the daytime and look cool while wearing them, it is recommended that you instead get helmets with transparent visors for better visibility in the nighttime.

Dark visors can be dangerous in the nighttime, especially if you happen to come face to face with a vehicle that does not have properly functioning headlights, making it very difficult to see and navigate on the road.

Along with this, you can opt to get a helmet with a more vibrant color to help other people see you at night.

The presence of a reflector can also help in this regard. All of this may not be required by the state, but it is widely recommended by experts.

Get In Touch With Experienced Motorcycle Attorneys In Michigan

Motorcycle accidents can lead to some nasty lawsuits. So, in the unfortunate event that you end up in one, you are going to need an experienced attorney on your side.

Here are some of the best in the state of Michigan.

1. Mike Morse Law Firm

Mike Morse Law Firm is one of the leading personal injury law firms in the nation. Their experience with handling motorcycle accidents and their free consultation make them a great fit if you need representation.

Phone Number: (855) 738-2606

2. Michigan Auto Law – Auto Accident Attorneys

Michigan Auto Law has been the top-rated firm for accident settlements for 17 consecutive years. They have an amazing track record and have had more million-dollar results than any other firm in the state of Michigan.

Phone Number: (800) 777 0028

3. Kajy Law Firm, PLLC Personal Injury Attorneys

Another amazing firm is Kajy Law Firm, PLLC Personal Injury Attorneys. They have a very good success rate, and their clients sing their praises.

This, along with the fact that they have free consultations, is the reason they are recommended. So, keep them on your list in case you are visiting personal injury attorneys.

Phone Number: 877-KAJY-CARES

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Helmets are strictly required to be worn by passengers and riders under 21 and some over 21 riders and passengers as well. As long as the helmet is DOT-compliant, it can be worn.

However, with open-face helmets, you are required to wear some eye protection goggles or glasses to keep your eyes safe from insects and dust, etcetera.

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

As I have explained above in the article as well, there is a fine for not wearing a helmet if you fall in the category of people who must wear a helmet.

This fine can vary from one county to another, and the maximum fine you may be slapped with can go up to $200.

Q3. When Did Motorcycle Helmet Become Law In Michigan?

Even after Congress removed the mandate to have a universal helmet law for all riders and passengers on motorcycles, Michigan did not change this law for 40 years.

The law was revised in 2012, and ever since then, there have been some detailed regulations for people who are allowed to not wear a helmet when they are riding a motorcycle.

Q4. Should Passengers Wear A Helmet In Michigan?

The rules for passengers and riders under the age of 21 years old are the same. Both have to wear helmets and eye protection glasses or goggles.

For people over 21, there are some detailed requirements that must be met, as explained in the article, for them to have the choice to not wear a helmet while driving a motorcycle.

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

In the state of Michigan, any bike that can go over the speed of 28 miles per hour is one during the operation of which a helmet is required.

This is true for under 18 riders on bicycles as well. So, since a moped goes over this speed limit, anyone who does not fall under the exemption is required to wear a helmet while riding a moped.

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


So, do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Michigan? If you are under 21, you definitely have to make sure that you wear a helmet so you do not have to deal with law enforcement and end up having to pay a fine.

Moreover, if you are over 21, be sure to check whether or not you are eligible to have the choice to not wear a helmet.

My recommendation is always that you wear a motorcycle helmet regardless of the choice because safety always comes first.

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