Motorcycle helmets are certainly the first line of defense for those involved in an accident, and they are the main way that riders seek to prevent serious head injuries. Many people choose to wear them every time they ride the bike, knowing that they could always be involved in a crash caused by another driver, no matter how proficient they are at riding their motorcycle on their own.
On the other hand, some drivers feel that helmets limit their field of vision and make it harder to hear traffic around them. They feel that this puts them in more danger, and they like the feel of the open air around them while they ride. They would prefer not to wear helmets. So what does the law say?
If you’re under 21, you must wear a helmet
Most riders do not need to wear a helmet. It is only required for those who are driving or who are passengers when they are under 21 years old. Once you reach 21, you’re not obligated to wear a helmet. This does mean that some people who are technically not minors – in that they are not under 18 – will still have to wear a helmet. But the idea is generally that younger people, whether driving or riding, need more protection than adults.
Interestingly, the law does stipulate that anyone on a motorcycle needs to have something protecting their eyes. They can use a transparent face shield, a pair of goggles or even just a pair of glasses. Obviously, if they’re wearing a helmet, then the face shield on the helmet serves this purpose. But, if they choose not to wear the helmet, then they need to do something else to make sure that their eyes are protected so they can always see while they’re riding.
Arkansas is certainly not the only state with a law that works in this fashion. Other states that allow helmetless riding for most riders but that require helmets for those who are under 21 include Utah, Texas, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Kentucky, just to name a few.
What if you get a ticket for riding without a helmet?
If you are stopped without a helmet and you’re under 21, or you’re riding with a passenger who is under 21 and he or she doesn’t have a helmet, then you may be ticketed by the police. Make sure you know about all of your defense options when facing these types of traffic violations.