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Are Minnesota motorcyclists required to wear helmets?

| Mar 11, 2021 | Motorcycle Accident |

Minnesota does not require all motorcyclists to wear helmets, even though it is recommended for biker safety. Motorcyclists are highly vulnerable due to their smaller size and lack of protection. Riders can easily suffer catastrophic injuries if hit by another driver.

Which riders are required to wear a helmet?

While most Minnesota motorcyclists are not required to wear a helmet, the following bikers must wear a DOT-approved helmet at all times:

  • Individuals under the age of 18
  • Permit holders who have yet to receive their license endorsement

While not required, we recommend that all motorcyclists protect themselves with a DOT-approved helmet.

What is a DOT-approved helmet?

For a helmet to be “DOT-approved,” it must meet or exceed certain safety standards as determined by the United States Department of Transportation. New helmets are rigorously tested by the DOT each year to ensure that they meet these standards.

If a helmet is DOT-approved, there will be a DOT sticker on the back. There have been cases where disreputable sellers paint false DOT stickers on helmets. Do your research ahead of time to ensure that you are purchasing an approved helmet.

What must all motorcyclists do?

While helmets are not always mandatory, motorcyclists are required to follow other regulations. To legally operate a motorcycle in Minnesota, you must:

  • Have a driver’s license and proper motorcycle permit/license endorsement
  • Register your motorcycle with Minnesota’s Driver & Vehicle Services (DVS)
  • Carry proof of insurance (and liability insurance) with you while on your bike
  • Wear eye protection (such as goggles or glasses)
  • Display a license plate on your bike

What happens if you cross state lines?

If you bike across state lines, you must follow the helmet laws of the state in which you’re in. Below we list who is required to wear a helmet for all the states bordering Minnesota:

  • Wisconsin: Permitted bikers and those under the age of 18
  • Iowa: No helmet laws for any biker
  • South Dakota: Riders and passengers who are under the age of 18
  • North Dakota: Bikers under the age of 18 and any of their passengers (regardless of the passenger’s age)

How does wearing a helmet impact your ability to file a personal injury claim?

Whether you wear a helmet does not impact your ability to file a personal injury claim in Minnesota.

You should note that no-fault benefits do not apply to motorcycles. If you desire coverage similar to no-fault benefits, talk to your insurance agent about med-pay coverage. You should also review your coverage limits to ensure you have sufficient uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

The minimum bodily injury coverage in Minnesota is $30,000 per person / $60,000 per incident, which will likely not be enough coverage after a collision. Ensuring you have adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is important for you to be fully compensated if you are injured by another driver.