Motorcycle helmets can save lives. In Washington, state law requires bikers to wear helmets in specific circumstances. Currently 19 states require motorcycle helmet use for all riders, while 28 states require helmets only for certain riders (those younger than 21, for example). 

Review the motorcycle helmet laws in Washington to help protect yourself from a serious accident injury. 

Understanding helmet laws

The state requires riders to wear helmets except when operating a motorcycle that has all these elements: 

  • Fully or partially enclosed driver’s seat 
  • Seat belt 
  • Steering wheel 

In addition, if the bike does not have a windshield, the rider must also wear a face shield, glasses or goggles to protect the eyes. 

Choosing a helmet

A motorcycle helmet meets Washington legal requirements only when it has a hard outer shell, inside padding and a secure chin strap. In addition, helmets should meet the safety standards established by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The rider must fasten the strap and wear the helmet securely when operating a motorcycle.

While various state lawmakers have attempted to repeal Washington’s helmet law for riders ages 21 and older, the requirements currently stand. However, the state legislature reintroduced a bill that would discontinue the helmet mandate in January 2020. The plan, which is currently under review, would require riders to carry proof of insurance as part of a three-year pilot project. Washington would still require a motorcycle helmet for riders and passengers younger than 21. Under the proposal, the state would review the impact of repealing the helmet law in September 2022.