Do You Have To Wear A Motorcycle Helmet In Oregon?

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It has been statistically proven, time and time again, that wearing a helmet can quite literally save your life.

Head injuries from motorcycle accidents can lead to major life alterations and, in many cases, even death. This is why the government needs to enforce safety laws as much as possible.

However, despite all that, there are still some states where it is either ambiguous or clear whether you are allowed riding a motorcycle without helmet.

This may lead you to the question, “Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Oregon?”. Yes, you do. Oregon has adopted the universal motorcycle helmet laws set by the United States back in 1968. This forces all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear a helmet, regardless of age.

As a short answer, that is enough to tell you. However, it is important to understand why the law is in place the way it is and how well the local government and law enforcement enforce it.

To understand these nuances, I highly recommend that you read this article to the end.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws And Rules In Oregon

What is the helmet rule in Oregon? Read my guide to learn about it

Previously all states in the United States were required to have a universal helmet law. If a state’s government was not enforcing this law, it suffered a penalty in the form of reductions in its highway funds.

However, in the year 1976, congress removed this mandate. This allowed many states to change their motorcycle helmet laws, allowing for exceptions and even outright removing the law.

Unlike many other states, however, Oregon did not make this change. Oregon still enforces the same universal law for wearing a motorcycle helmet while riding.

This means that all people, regardless of age, must wear a motorcycle helmet. This goes for both drivers and passengers.

Along with this open-face helmet, users must wear eye protection goggles or glasses to keep their eyes safe from dust and wind.

The state of Oregon also requires all motorcycle drivers to have an endorsement for motorcycles on their licenses.
To get this endorsement, you will need to get it from the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

For this, you will be required to have a few tests, which include a written test for knowledge of the road and a motorcycle driving test, etc.

Those under the age of 21 are required to have a learner’s permit and a licensed adult for supervision while driving.

Driving a motorcycle without a motorcycle endorsed license, a learner’s permit, or a helmet is sure to get you in trouble with local law enforcement.

Motorcycle Helmet Requirements In OR

You will find that there are clear guidelines as to what is considered a legal helmet in the state of Oregon. These guidelines are based on the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218.

It is best that you make sure that the helmet comes within or surpasses these standards when you are looking to buy one.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) assumes the responsibility of enforcing these standards for motorcycle helmets.

This means that all manufacturers have to go through the process of having their helmets checked and approved by the DOT.

Hence, you will see that most of the major manufacturers have the DOT sticker on their helmets. This sticker ensures that the helmet is legal according to the guidelines set by the state.

On the off chance that you may end up with a helmet with a fake sticker, here are a few important guidelines.

The helmet must be heavy enough to weigh at least 3 pounds. It must have solid rivets and a sturdy, tight chin strap to keep it sung on your head.

The helmet must be comfortable for you to wear, so it must be the right size for you, and it is also required to have an inner lining of foam that is at least 1 inch thick. There should be minimal protrusions.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the institute responsible for setting these standards for most of the states here.

Penalties/Legal Consequences

Oregon is a very strict state when it comes to penalties for failing to follow the law and the motorcycle helmet laws are no exception to this.

If a person is caught without a helmet while riding a motorcycle, he/she is considered to be committing a Class D traffic violation.

For this reason, they are liable for a hefty fine of at least $115. Adding to this is the importance of having a motorcycle endorsement on your license as well.

Due to the State of Oregon following a modified version of the comparative negligence system, there are quite a few interesting situations that can arise with people who are involved in motorcycle accidents while not wearing a helmet.

Since it is already illegal to not be wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle helmet, you will already be facing a fine.

On top of that, there will be a percentage assigned to you, which will signify how much you were responsible for the accident.

This percentage is, based on the decision made about how much of your compensation you are eligible to receive.

If your fault percentage is higher than the other parties involved, then you may even be barred from receiving any compensation at all.

Exemptions To The Oregon Motorcycle Helmet Rules

The motorcycle helmet law in the state of Oregon is quite straightforward. However, there are still some clarifications that need to be made.

There are cases where some small vehicles are sometimes put under the umbrella of the motorcycle category when that is not the case.

Enclosed cabs and vehicles with three wheels that do not go over the speed limit of 15 miles per hour are not considered motorcycles.

Hence, operators of these vehicles are exempt from the motorcycle helmet law in Oregon. However, since the question of moped motorcycles comes up a lot, let me clear that out as well.

Since mopeds are categorized as motorcycles in this state, you will be mandated to fulfill all the requirements for it when riding one. That means having both a helmet on and a license to drive.

Get In Touch With Experienced Motorcycle Attorneys In Oregon

Getting into an accident can be life-changing, but what comes after? How should you deal with any legal repercussions? The extraordinary lawyers mentioned below should help give you an idea.

1. Law Offices Of Jon Friedman

This father and son law firm has had a major experience related to motorcycle accident cases. They will protect your rights and give you the best legal experience of your life.

Phone Number: +1 503 242 1440

2. Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, PC

A team of awarding-winning lawyers that will set your record straight. They have significant experience in motorcycle accidents, as can be seen by their operation period, which started in 1962.

Phone Number: +1 541 617 0555

3. Phillip C Gilbert & Associates, PC

Experienced and unmatched motorcycle accident attorneys await you in Phillip C Gilbert & Associates. They will work day and night for your needs and help you get the best settlement.

Phone Number: +1 503 465 9600

Frequently Asked Questions

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

The state of Oregon has not elaborated on open-face helmets. That being said, as long as you make sure to follow the helmet requirements, them being DOT approved, you should be good to wear one. You should also account for eye protection laws as well when doing so.

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

Judging by the fact that riding without a helmet in the state of Oregon is a class D felony, you can imagine the price is quite high. The fine has been set at $115 and can easily go as high as $250, forcing you to follow the rules closely.

Q3. When Did Motorcycle Helmet Become Law In Oregon?

Motorcycle helmet laws date all the way back to 1968 for the state of Oregon. It was during this time that most of the states adopted universal helmet laws.

Q4. Should Passengers Wear A Helmet In Oregon?

Yes, they should. Not just because they are legally required to do so but also because they are safe doing so. From a legal standpoint, they will be fined anything starting from $155.

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

Mopeds have been grouped up with motorcycles and are subject to the same rules. They are required to have a helmet, both the driver and the passenger. Failure to do so can easily come with a big penalty.

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


Universal helmet laws can be a bit troublesome to deal with. Along with forcing full adults to wear a helmet, it also forces the passengers as well do so without question.

Pair this with a rather hefty fine, and you will find it quite difficult to adhere to the motorcycle helmet guidelines in Oregon.

That being said, you should not be asking, “Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Oregon?”. With such strict actions being taken against people who do not follow the rules, it is integral that you follow them.

In the end, they exist for your benefit and safety.

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