Maine Motorcycle and Bicycle Helmet Laws

What are Maine’s helmet laws? Do you have to wear a helmet in Maine?

Helmet laws still vary state by state, and the law for wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, a motorcycle or a sidecar may be different within a particular state. But there are no states in the US with universal bike helmet laws. A universal bike helmet law would require that all citizens wear a helmet when driving a bike or riding as a passenger.

Bike helmet law by state and age

Map via IIHS

Like bike helmet laws, motorcycle helmet laws also vary across the country. Starting in 1967, motorcycle helmets laws have a back and forth history between state and federal government in which the federal government required that in order to qualify for particular highway construction and federal safety programs, states enact helmet laws. By 1970 this process had worked but was followed by individual states repealing, reenacting, and amending the motorcycle laws, and in the late ’70s, numerous states had lobbied Congress to successfully stop the US Department of Transportation from using financial penalties as a means to leverage state helmet laws. Today, there remain three states in the country that do not require drivers or passengers to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle: New Hampshire, Illinois, and Iowa. In the US, 19 states and the District of Columbia have laws that require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet (universal). 28 states have laws that require only some motorcyclists to wear a helmet (partial).

Motorcycle helmet law by state

Map via IIHS

Read on to learn the helmet laws in Maine.

Do you have to wear a helmet on a motorcycle in Maine?

Maine state law has a few categories which require a helmet when riding a motorcycle. All riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. Any passenger(s) under the age of 18 riding a motorcycle or a sidecar must wear a helmet. And if you’re driving a motorcycle within only one year of finishing your driver’s test or are operating a motorcycle with a permit, you must wear a helmet. And lastly, if you’re the passenger of a motorcycle operated by a driver who is required by law to wear a helmet, you too must wear one.  Protective headgear must meet the minimum specifications set forth by the American National Standards Institute or the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.

Do you have to wear a helmet on a bicycle in Maine?

Riders or passengers under the age of 16 are required by law to wear a bicycle helmet while riding a bike in public in Maine. Across the state, there remains no law requiring that riders over the age of 16 wear a helmet. Passengers of bicycle taxis are exempt from the law which requires passengers under the age of 16 to wear a helmet.

The Maine State legislature states on their website that “a person under 16 years of age who is an operator or a passenger on a bicycle…on a public roadway or a public bikeway shall wear a helmet of a good fit, positioned properly and fastened securely upon the head by helmet straps.” Note that a violation of this law is viewed as a traffic infraction and this violation is punishable by up to a $25 fine.

Distracted driving like texting while riding a bike is not illegal but is strongly cautioned against. If riding a bike under the influence is discovered in the investigation of a bike accident, this evidence may be taken into consideration and viewed as negligence.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent, and the odds of head, face or neck injury by 33 percent.”

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident or motorcycle accident and are seeking legal representation, contact Mann Law, a Maine-based personal injury law firm for a free consultation.