North Dakota Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Under North Dakota law, motorcycles operators and riders under 18 must wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
In North Dakota, all motorcycle operators and riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet that meets the federal safety standards defined by the Department of Transportation. If the operator is under age 18, the passenger must wear a helmet, no matter their age. 
According to the
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA
), about 14% of all motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. in 2019 involved motorcycles. States have been trying to reduce these statistics since the 1960s by introducing laws to mandate motorcycle helmets.
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Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in North Dakota?

If you are under the age of 18, you must wear a helmet while operating or riding on a motorcycle. If the operator is under 18, any passengers must wear a helmet as well—even if they are older than 18 years of age.

Exceptions to North Dakota’s motorcycle helmet law

There are a few exceptions to North Dakota’s motorcycle helmet law—operators and riders under 18 years of age can only ride without a helmet if participating in a lawful parade.
Also, riders or operators under the age of 18 do not have to wear a helmet while inside the enclosed cab of a golf cart.

Penalties for breaking North Dakota’s motorcycle helmet law

You can be fined up to $20 and potentially be assessed points on your record for violating North Dakota’s motorcycle helmet law.

Why it’s important to wear a motorcycle helmet

You might not think a $20 fine is a big deal if you’re caught not wearing a helmet, and you might be right. But if you’re unhelmeted and involved in an accident? Your chances of suffering severe injury or death are significantly higher if you’re not wearing a helmet.
When did motorcycle helmets start to come into vogue? The modern motorcycle helmet can be traced back to the 1930s. The event that spurred research into motorcycle helmets was the death of T.E. Lawrence, or the original “Lawrence of Arabia,” who died while riding helmetless on a motorcycle in 1935. Following that incident, neurologist Hugh Cairns undertook pioneering research on motorcycle helmets to prevent such tragedies. After all, Lawrence was just 46 years old when he died.
According to the NHTSA, motorcycle helmets save hundreds of lives each year. In states that don’t have universal helmet laws, 52% of all motorcycle fatalities are riders who weren’t wearing a helmet. In states with universal helmet laws, where most operators and riders wear helmets, just 9% of all motorcycle fatalities were unhelmeted riders.
In North Dakota, where operators and riders over age 18 are not required to wear helmets, unhelmeted riders make up 64% of all motorcycle fatalities. Even if you are not required to wear a helmet in North Dakota, doing so while operating or riding a motorcycle is by far the safest course of action.

How to find affordable car and motorcycle insurance

The best way to protect yourself while operating or riding a motorcycle is by wearing a helmet. Protecting yourself from financial losses due to a motorcycle accident is another important thing to do. You can do that quickly and easily by using
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