Do You Have To Wear A Motorcycle Helmet In West Virginia?

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It is common for some states to enforce helmet laws up to a certain age, while it is much less common for them not to enforce them.

Some states give no quarter requiring all motorcyclists to wear motorcycle helmets. Where does West Virginia lie on this spectrum?

This, along with the question, “Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in West Virginia?” is quite common. It is sufficient to say that West Virginia requires all motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

No matter how old the motorcycle is and how much experience they have, this is required. This is also done without exception.

The set of rules does not end here either. There are many other helmet laws that you have to follow in West Virginia. I will explain all of these in this article which is why I recommend reading this till the end.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws And Rules In West Virginia

What are the motorcycle helmet laws in West Virginia? Check my guide to find out

West Virginia motorcycle helmet rules are extremely simple to understand. They follow the universal helmet law model.

Everyone, regardless of age, gender and experience, have to wear a motorcycle helmet while driving a motorcycle.

This makes the entire process a lot easier for the people who have to follow the law and enforce it. You either wear a helmet and are okay, or don’t wear it and risk getting pulled over by the police.

Usually, some states give some degree of exceptions to the people. This can be in the form of certain vehicles that do not classify as motorcycles not requiring any form of helmet protection.

In other cases, you can take a safety course and not have to wear a helmet at a certain age. None of that is available in West Virginia.

The state is extremely strict when it comes to motorcycle helmet regulations. It asks you to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. It gives no quarter and does not provide any ease or exceptions to its people.

Helmets are known to save lives. That much is true. However, many think that universal motorcycle helmet laws infringe on their basic rights.

Many people say that it violates their freedom. I agree that the set of rules in West Virginia are quite strict, but that does not mean your freedom is being taken away.

Rules are in place for a reason; in this case, it is your safety! It is best if you follow them to the letter or as I will show you, the fines can be quite hefty.

Motorcycle Helmet Requirements In WV

It would be too easy to just slap on a helmet and go on a ride on your motorcycle. Recent times have shown that people will do almost anything to avoid following the rules. They will wear anything that fits their description of a helmet.

For reasons like this, the state of West Virginia has various requirements for what type of helmet you should wear. The first thing you need to know is that the Department must approve the helmet of Transportation.

Helmets certified by this department are often known as DOT-approved helmets. You can figure out if your helmet is dot approved if you have a sticker on the back of your helmet.

This sticker should say that the helmet complies with DOT regulations. This sticker is also required to be present on DOT-approved helmets. It enables the police to determine if the helmet is legal without pulling you over.

Apart from fulfilling all the specifications needed for helmets to be DOT approved, the helmet must also be worn properly. It needs to have a neck or chin strap to be securely fastened.

Additionally, for a helmet to be considered DOT approved, it needs to fulfill Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. It also must adhere to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA.

Understanding and explaining all of these requirements is a topic for another day. Instead, I will also elaborate on the eye protection laws that West Virginia state has set up.

Firstly, the face, particularly the eyes, must always be safe. You can do this simply by wearing a visor of your helmet.

You must have the proper equipment if you do not want to wear a full-face helmet. Goggles and glasses are more than enough to suffice. All you need to do is make sure they are shatter-resistant and durable.

They must also not restrict your field of view or your vision. You could also opt for face shields, but this might be going a bit overboard.

Penalties/Legal Consequences

It is not enough to set rules and expect people to follow them. There have to be punishments in case people avoid or break the rules.

To that end, the state of West Virginia has made it so that breaking motorcycle helmet laws is a misdemeanor. This can come with a fine that can reach up to $100.

It should be known that this is only for the first conviction. If you are caught again in the same year, it will bump the fine to $200. Any further convictions can go as high as $500. This is regardless of what year they occur.

While a fine of $500 is nothing short, at least the state does not start with it outright. I will explain why this is so later in the article.

Why Does The Penalty Scale Up In West Virginia?

As mentioned above, the first-time fine is set at $100, but the next fine you get in the same year goes up to $200. Further fines can easily go up to $500. But why is this so?

The simple reason for this is that it makes it more punishing each time you break the law. Getting off with a mediocre fine does not encourage you to follow the rules.

For some people, it might even do the opposite and have them break the law even more. Having the fine scale up will make people less likely to break the rules.

This is done out of fear of potentially paying more than they had to last time. It is a fair scheme and prevents people from getting the wrong ideas.

Get In Touch With Experienced Motorcycle Attorneys In West Virginia

Having capable attorneys by your side in a legal matter is necessary. I have decided to list some excellent law firms for you to choose from.

1. West Law Firm LC

The people at West Law Firm put the needs of their motorcycle accident clients first. They make sure that they put all their effort in to get you the win, doing whatever is necessary.

Phone Number: 1-877-943-9378

2. Robinette Legal Group, PLLC

These people understand the stress and pain from motorcycle accidents and the bills they bring. This is why they attempt to maximize your compensation and have earned their reputation doing so for their clients.

Phone Number: (304) 381-5269

3. The Miley Legal Group

Personal injury laws, especially with motorcycles, can be a bit complicated. Don’t worry, as the talented lawyers at the Miley Legal Group know the ins and outs of the law and will easily get you speedy justice.

Phone Number: (304) 407-7950

Frequently Asked Questions

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

It is okay for people to wear an open-face helmet in the state of West Virginia. All you need to do is make sure that the helmet follows the standards mentioned above.

Along with this, you will need to maintain proper protection of your eyes; otherwise, you could get pulled over.

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

The fine for not wearing a motorcycle helmet in West Virginia scales the more times that you are caught. The first-time fine can go up to $100.

If the second time occurs in the same year, it can go up to $200. Subsequent convictions can go up to $500.

Q3. When Did Motorcycle Helmet Become Law In West Virginia?

The universal helmet law was passed in West Virginia back in 1971. This was just three years after the fact that all states were forced to adopt universal motorcycle helmet laws.

Some states did not do so immediately, and it is obvious West Virginia was one of them.

Q4. Should Passengers Wear A Helmet In West Virginia?

Anyone on the motorcycle itself needs to wear a helmet. This includes passengers as well.

You will have to wear a helmet if you are riding on a motorcycle; otherwise, you will get pulled over and charged a fine, as mentioned above. This might seem unfair, but it is done for your safety.

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

Even moped drivers are not safe from the motorcycle helmet laws in West Virginia.

There are no exceptions to the motorcycle helmet laws which mean that you will have to wear a helmet if you are on a moped. Failure to do so will result in the same fine as for motorcycles.


The state of West Virginia is quite harsh with its motorcycle helmet laws. It forces each and everyone who drives on a motorcycle to wear a helmet.

This leaves no room for you to even ask questions like, “Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in West Virginia?” The fine can escalate rapidly, and that is something no one wants.

Furthermore, this is little to no other way, which means that you basically need to follow the rules. Luckily, I have done my best to explain these rules to you, and you should have no problem following them.

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