Vermont Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Vermont requires anyone who is operating or riding on a motorcycle on a highway to wear a helmet at all times, regardless of age or skill level.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Vermont has what’s referred to as a “universal helmet law.” This means that anyone who is operating or riding on a motorcycle on a highway is required to wear a helmet at all times, regardless of age, skill level, or insurance coverage. 
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcycle accidents were responsible for about
14% of all traffic deaths in 2019
. Helmets have been repeatedly proven to drastically
reduce both death and head trauma
, and the U.S. government began incentivizing states to adopt helmet laws in the 1960s. 
But heads up! The laws around motorcycle helmets vary by state, so you want to make sure you know the rules where you are and where you’re headed.
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Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Vermont?

Yes. All operators and riders of motorcycles are required to wear a helmet on Vermont highways. 
Vermont law stipulates that the helmet must conform to the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and that the helmet must have a neck or a chin strap.

Exceptions to Vermont’s motorcycle helmet law

Vermont makes an exception to the helmet rule for occupants of “fully enclosed autocycles”. 
Those vehicles are defined as being “equipped with a windshield and that has full top and side enclosures capable of supporting the vehicle's weight and protecting the occupants when the vehicle is resting on the enclosures.”

Penalties for breaking Vermont’s motorcycle helmet law

Vermont doesn’t spell out the penalty for not wearing a motorcycle helmet, but it has been reported that fines can be at the officer’s discretion and range from $12.50 to $1,250! 
Vermont law also follows a
comparative negligence
” statute. This means that if you are injured and it can be proven that you were more than 51% responsible for it, then your claim for any compensation can be denied. Not wearing a helmet would definitely fall in this category.

Why it’s important to wear a motorcycle helmet

Even if you might not get a ticket for it, it’s still important to always wear a helmet when on a motorcycle.
Motorcycles can be a lot of fun, but driving one is associated with an increased risk for an accident on the road. A motorcycle’s smaller profile means it’s less likely to be seen by other drivers, and the lack of protection a motorcycle offers means that crashes are more likely to have bad outcomes. In 2019, 5,014 people were killed in motorcycle accidents, and roughly 37% of those fatalities involved head injuries. 
The NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmet laws save hundreds of lives annually. A recent study showed that there are
fewer motorcycle-related fatalities
in states with mandatory helmet laws. Even in states where you are not required to do so, wearing a motorcycle helmet is still a smart choice to make.

How to find affordable car and motorcycle insurance

Wearing a helmet when you’re on a motorcycle is a great choice that can save your life. While not lifesaving per se, shopping for
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