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According to Kentucky State Law, there are three groups of people who are required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. First, motorcyclists under the age of 21 must wear a DOT-approved helmet at all times. Second, people who only have a motorcycle instruction permit must wear a safety helmet. Last, motorcycle drivers that have held a motorcycle operator’s license for less than one year must strap on a helmet while cruising around the Bluegrass State.

Failure to comply with the above laws could result in serious fines and license suspensions. Currently, the fines for breaking any of the above rules are between $20 and $100.

Please keep in mind the above restrictions are only for motorcycle drivers. All passengers on motorcycles, regardless of age & experience, must wear a helmet. This includes passengers riding in sidecar attachments.

Currently, only 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear helmets while riding. 28 states have helmet laws that affect certain groups just like Kentucky. New Hampshire, Illinois, and Iowa are the only three states in the nation without helmet laws. Anyone traveling out of Kentucky should acquaint themselves with the laws of whatever state they’re visiting. Here’s a helpful webpage put together by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that shows the motorcycle helmet policies for all 50 states.

Even though Kentucky doesn’t require all motorcyclists to wear helmets, traffic safety officials highly recommend they get in the habit of wearing them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that motorcyclists who wear helmets have a 37 percent reduced chance of dying in the event of an accident. Data from the CDC also shows that over 800 motorcyclists who died in 2016 could’ve been saved had they worn a helmet.

All of these regulations are clearly listed in Title XVI Motor Vehicles Chapter 189 Section 189.285. Those interested in reading Kentucky’s motorcycle helmet laws in detail should click on this link.