Nebraska looks to eliminate the obligation for motorcyclists to wear helmets, and increase tourism in the process.

If you’re riding through America, some states require you to wear a helmet by law, and others don’t. Currently, 19 states (and the District of Columbia) all have laws requiring motorcyclists to wear a helmet; called universal helmet laws. 28 states have laws which apply to some but not all motorcyclists (it’s dependent on age) – and there is no motorcycle helmet use required by law in three states (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire). If you were planning a cross-country jaunt and prefer to ride sans-lid, it could mean you’ve got some serious planning to do to ensure you’re not breaking any laws as you pass through different states.


Nebraska is currently one of the states which employs universal helmet laws, but is set to change all that – as it looks to increase the number of motorcycle riding tourists that crosses its border. That’s because Nebraska is surrounded by states where the use of a helmet is not necessary, or is only necessary as a minor, including, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. In fact only Missouri, with which it shares a border, also has universal helmet laws. Consequently, the governors of Nebraska have come to the conclusion that motorcyclists who undertake trips that would take them across their territory, prefer to circumnavigate the State instead of passing through it, to avoid having to wear a helmet on their motorcycle.

Ok, so looking across at our American cousins, we might be perturbed by their general indifference to safety equipment when riding a motorcycle – after all, it is evident that the use of a helmet will minimise the chances of injury or death – but in the United States things work differently, with glasses and gloves considered as perfectly adequate protection.

Ross Mowbray
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