Do You Have To Wear A Motorcycle Helmet In Wisconsin?

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Come to think of it, there has been a sudden increase in motorcycle accident-related fatalities. This does not come as a surprise considering the statistics.

These statistics, from trusted institutions like the national highway and transportation safety administration (NHTSA), show an increased number of motorcycle riders. Hence, the increased number of motorcycle accidents.

There are a lot of states that give you a choice not to wear a motorcycle helmet while driving. Alternatively, there are other states which enforce everyone to wear one.

This might cause you to be confused and ask the question, “Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Wisconsin?”. Well, not if you are over 18 and have a motorcycle endorsement.

This much information should be enough for you if you are just looking around for some general research.

However, if you plan on riding a motorcycle in Wisconsin, I suggest you to read the whole article. This will help you better understand the nuances surrounding this state’s helmet law.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws And Rules In Wisconsin

Are motorcycle helmets required in Wisconsin? Read my guide to get an answer

Before the year 1976, having a motorcycle helmet law that was universal was something that was required by all states.

This was a mandatory requirement for any state if they did not want their highway funds reduced.

However, this mandate was removed by congress in 1976, which led to many states repealing their motorcycle helmet laws. Some states even went completely removed the law from existence.

The state of Wisconsin followed suit with the former. This was two years after the removal of the mandate by congress, i.e., the year 1978.

Wisconsin repealed its helmet law to have an age limit for minors riding motorcycles. This age was set to be 18 years old. Some details need to be kept in mind here.

Minors, i.e., those younger than 18, are legally required to wear motorcycle helmets. This is the case for both minors who operate or are passengers on a motorcycle.

Minors are also required to have a learner’s permit to drive legally. There is a similar situation for adults as well.

Although they have an option to wear a helmet, those who are over the age of 18 must have an endorsement for driving a motorcycle on their driver’s license.

This is achieved through passing driving and other related tests at the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Motorcycle Helmet Requirements In WI

Although some of the more novelty and designer helmets may look fancy, it is important to know whether they are legal to drive with.

Most of these more fancy helmets do not follow the guidelines for a helmet to be considered legal. These guidelines are based on the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218.

The institute that makes sure these guidelines are followed is called the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Almost any major manufacturer in the United States will have to send their helmets to the DOT for them to be inspected.

Upon inspection, the DOT decided whether the helmet met the set guidelines. To know whether the helmet you are looking to buy is DOT Approved or not, you can check the back of the helmet.

There should be a DOT sticker that shows this approval. However, if you get a motorcycle that does not have a DOT sticker, you can check to see if the helmet has the following.

The motorcycle helmet is supposed to weigh at least 3 pounds. The helmet must have a sturdy, tight chin strap and solid rivets.

For comfort, an inner lining of foam is necessary, with a thickness of at least 1 inch. Beyond 2/10 of an inch ahead of the helmet’s surface, there should be no extending features.

Penalties/Legal Consequences

Traffic laws are there for a reason: to protect you and other people on the road. In the state of Wisconsin, the motorcycle helmet law is there to protect minors, and the state is very strict with it.

If a person under the age of 18 is caught by local law enforcement, they are committing what is considered a Class D traffic infraction. The court has set quite a hefty fine for this. The amount the person is liable for is up to $200.

However, not having a helmet equipped may be an option for adults, but they are not completely out of the woods with the decision to not wear a helmet.

The reason is that the state uses a system called Comparative Negligence. This system can get you in trouble if you don’t wear a helmet and end up in a motorcycle accident.

The comparative negligence system kicks in if this accident leads to a legal dispute. This system works by assigning all parties a fault percentage. This is even the case for the victim.

Upon analysis of all the responsible parties, this percentage is set to reflect who was responsible for how much of the damage.

This includes checking for how much the victim was responsible for the injuries they received based on their decision not to wear a helmet.

So this means that there may be reduced compensation for the victim. In extreme cases, the compensation may be brought down to zero.

Comparative Negligence Consequences Of Wisconsin’s Motorcycle Helmet Law

As mentioned previously, the comparative negligence system ensures that every party is held accountable for their participation in the accident. This is also the case in the case the person dies.

If there is a person who was completely responsible for their fatal injury, their family may be barred from getting any compensation for this loss as well.

The person’s family may not be allowed to hold opposing parties responsible for the death. Life could have been saved had the person been wearing a motorcycle helmet when the accident happened.

This is also the case with insurance companies. Courts allow insurance companies to appeal and reduce the number of payable damages based on the fault percentage assigned to their client.

This is also a result of the companies using the comparative negligence system. Although this might seem unfair, this system does a very good job of ensuring that some adults wear helmets, even if it is just to win the case.

Get In Touch With Experienced Motorcycle Attorneys In Wisconsin

There are a lot of unfortunate cases where a person may be involved in a motorcycle accident and not even get the compensation they deserve.

For this reason, it is best to have a competent attorney in your corner. Here are some of the best in the state of Wisconsin.

1. Martin Law Office, S.C.

Martin Law Office, S.C. is a personal injury law firm well-known for treating its clients with their motorcycle accident cases.

They are extremely confident in their ability to represent you. So much so that they do not even charge you unless the case is ruled in your favor.

Phone Number: +1 414 856 4010

2. Hupy and Abraham, S.C.

Following the same trend as the previously mentioned firm, Hupy and Abraham, S.C., also have a “Win or it’s free” guarantee. Most notable is the fact that this firm has won up to $1 billion in compensation.

Phone Number: +1 800 800 5678

3. Sperling Law Offices LLC

Sperling Law Offices LLC, or Milwaukee Injury Law Firm, is composed of seven lawyers focusing on one case at a time. This means that when they take your motorcycle accident case, their legal services will be of top quality.

Phone Number: +1 414 273 7777 or +1 414 273 7100

Frequently Asked Questions

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

If the open-face helmet you want to wear has been approved by the Department of Transportation, then you are good to go. Just be sure to wear some eye protection.

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

The fine that the court has set is $200. However, it is important to know that this fine is only for minors, i.e., people under 18.

Q3. When Did Motorcycle Helmet Become Law In Wisconsin?

Wisconsin changed its law from a universal motorcycle helmet law to one allowing exceptions. This change was made in the year 1978, two years after the congress’s mandate removal.

Q4. Should Passengers Wear A Helmet In Wisconsin?

Passengers who are under the age of 18 are the only ones who are legally required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle in the state of Wisconsin.

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

Mopeds come under the umbrella of motorcycles. And since mopeds are usually driven by minors as learning, they are required to wear a helmet.


A person must wear a helmet at all times when riding a motorcycle. This should be the case regardless of the person’s age or whether they are driving or riding as a passenger.

This is the reason why we see many states that still enforce the universal motorcycle helmet law.

So, answering this question, “do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Wisconsin?” specifically from a legal standpoint, I would have to say not if you are an adult over the age of 18.

However, if I were to give my personal opinion, I would say you should wear one whether it is legal or not.

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