Oregon Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Under Oregon law, all motorcyclists and motorcyclist passengers must wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, regardless of age.
Written by Lindsey Hoover
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
law, any motorcyclist must wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle. All motorcycle passengers must wear a helmet as well.
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Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Oregon?

All motorcyclists and motorcyclist passengers, regardless of age, must wear a motorcycle helmet while riding a motorcycle in Oregon.
Failure to comply with Oregon’s motorcycle law comes with a hefty fine. More on that, in detail, below.

Exceptions to Oregon’s motorcycle helmet law

In Oregon, there are a few exemptions when it comes to motorcycle helmet laws. A person is not in violation of the law if they are: 
  • Within an enclosed cab 
  • Operating or traveling in a vehicle designed to travel with three wheels in contact with the ground at a speed of less than 15 miles per hour
While mopeds are not motorcycles, in Oregon you must wear a helmet while operating one. Ignoring this important safety law could come with a steep penalty.

Penalties for breaking Oregon’s motorcycle helmet law

In Oregon, failure to comply with the motorcycle helmet law is considered a Class D traffic violation. If you decide to forgo a helmet, you’re looking at a minimum fine of $115 and risking a maximum fine of $250.
Another thing to keep in mind before cruising the roads on your two-wheeler is a driver’s permit. Under Oregon law, all motorcyclists must have a
motorcycle endorsement
. Without one, you’re looking at more ways to bruise your wallet.

Why it’s important to wear a motorcycle helmet

While Oregon’s $115 fine may not intimidate you, you should consider other possible consequences of forgoing head protection. We’ll take a deeper look into the history of motorcycle helmets and review some recent motorcycle accident statistics so that you’re well informed on the real cost of hitting the streets without a helmet.
In 1935, a British army officer and diplomat by the name of T.E. Lawrence, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” died at just 46 years old
as the result of a motorcycle accident
. This high-profile motorcycle fatality caused neurologist Hugh Cairns to launch a research campaign on motorcycle helmets. His aim was to prevent deaths like Lawrence’s from happening to others.
According to estimates from the NHTSA, U.S. motorcycle helmet laws save hundreds of lives a year. In those states without helmet laws, as many as 57% of motorcyclists killed on the road were not wearing a helmet. Compare that to the 9% of unhelmeted riders in states with helmet laws.
Oregon is no exception to the statistics. In 2019 alone, unhelmeted riders made up 15% of Oregon’s
591 motorcyclist fatalities
. Wearing a motorcycle helmet is the best way to protect yourself from becoming a negative statistic. 
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