West Virginia Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Under West Virginia law, all motorcyclists must wear helmets, regardless of age.
Written by Sara Brody
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
Under West Virginia law, all motorcyclists must wear helmets, regardless of age. Helmets must be certified by the Department of Transportation, and shatter-resistant eyeglasses are a requirement too.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2019 were motorcycle accidents. States have attempted to lower these statistics since the 1960s by passing various motorcycle helmet laws.
Car insurance
broker and comparison app
Jerry
can fill you in on the nitty-gritty of West Virginia’s motorcycle helmet laws and help you lower your
West Virginia car insurance costs
. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of the law, the exceptions you need to know, and the statistics on unhelmeted fatalities in the Mountain State.
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Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in West Virginia?

Put simply, yes–without exception. West Virginia requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets, regardless of age.
Additionally, helmets must be certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and worn properly, securely fastened to the rider’s head by a neck or chin strap. For a helmet to meet the “DOT helmet standard,” it must fulfill the requirements of both the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 (FMVSS 218) and the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
. Acceptable helmets will be labeled on the back with the letters “DOT” or “DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified.”
Lastly, motorcyclists must wear shatter-resistant eyeglasses or goggles while operating their vehicle. 

Penalties for breaking West Virginia’s motorcycle helmet law

In West Virginia, violation of the helmet law can result in a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $100 for a first conviction. If a second conviction occurs within the same year, the fine can rise to $200, and subsequent convictions can result in fines as high as $500.

Why it’s important to wear a motorcycle helmet

A lofty fine is far from the worst possible consequence of not wearing a motorcycle helmet—in West Virginia or anywhere. To understand the real cost of riding without a helmet, read on to learn about the history of the motorcycle helmet and some recent motorcycle accident statistics.
One of the earliest high-profile motorcycle fatalities occurred in 1935, when British army officer and diplomat T.E. Lawrence, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia,”
died in a crash
at just 46 years of age. In response to the tragedy, neurologist Hugh Cairns pioneered research on motorcycle helmets to help prevent future deaths. 
Today, the NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmet laws save hundreds of lives a year in the United States. In states without universal helmet laws, as many as 57% of motorcyclists killed on the road are unhelmeted—vs. just 9% in states with universal helmet laws.
According to the NHTSA, motorcycle helmet laws now save hundreds of lives a year in the United States. In states with universal helmet laws, only 9% of motorcyclists killed on the road are unhelmeted, compared to 57% in states without universal helmet laws.
Due to West Virginia’s strict helmet laws, the majority of motorcyclists wear helmets. Still, 32% of West Virginia’s
28 motorcyclist fatalities
in 2019 were unhelmeted. Wearing a motorcycle helmet is the best way to reduce your risk of danger on the road.
MORE: Essential tips for motorcycle winter storage

How to find affordable car and motorcycle insurance

It’s easy to wear a motorcycle helmet, and it’s also the best way to protect yourself in case of an accident. Once you’ve found the perfect DOT-certified fit, use
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With a helmet snug on your head and the perfect coverage plan for your needs, you can drive with confidence, knowing you’re protected. Jerry will perform regular price monitoring too and alert you of new deals.
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