Are Helmets Required by Law While Riding a Motorcycle in Maryland?

February 18, 2021 by Yale Spector

Regardless of the state you live or ride in, helmet laws can be confusing and frustrating to many motorcyclists. While they can be annoying and uncomfortable, it’s no secret that one of the best things you can do to reduce personal injury and even death while riding a motorcycle is to wear a helmet. Each year, there are over 1,500 motorcycle accidents in Maryland, with about 75% of crashes resulting in serious injury or death.

This number can be significantly reduced when a DOT-compliant helmet is worn. In fact, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of serious injury by over 68%, and the risk of death is reduced by 40%. The motorcycle accident lawyers of Spector Injury & Accident Lawyers are explaining the Maryland motorcycle laws and if a helmet is required while riding a motorcycle. 

Maryland Motorcycle Helmet Law

Since 1992, Maryland has had a universal helmet law in effect, meaning helmets aren’t a suggestion, they’re the law. A universal helmet law requires all riders to wear a helmet while they are riding on public roads. Currently, 18 states and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws. Maryland helmet laws while on a motorcycle require all riders to wear an approved helmet as stated in Section 21-1306 of the Transportation Article of the MD Code. Furthermore, motorcyclists are also required to wear eye protection unless their motorcycle has an approved windshield. 


In Maryland, helmets must meet the state Motor Vehicle Administration’s requirements. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration uses the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 as its minimum standard for compliant helmets. To ensure your helmet meets the necessary standards and it’s compliant with Maryland legislation, look for a factory-applied label reading “Department of Transportation (DOT)” or “Snell Memorial Foundation”. If your helmet doesn’t include these labels, ensure a label that shows the month and year the helmet was made is sewn inside.  


As stated above, motorcyclists are also responsible for wearing approved eye protection if their bikes aren’t equipped with a windshield that is compliant with the law. Goggles and face shields must comply with impact-resistance regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration and must be clear and non-tinted. Windshields or windscreens must be securely fastened to the bike. If not wearing eye protection, your windshield must be at a height that’s appropriate to protect your eyes and face while sitting on your bike in a riding position. 


Updated Motorcycle Legislation 

As recently as February 2020, there have been talks of changing the current Maryland motorcycle laws. A bill has been in the works to make it legal for riders over the age of 21 to ride without a helmet. This legislation would make it optional for motorcyclists who have been licensed for over two years, have completed a safety course, and who are of age to be exempt from wearing a helmet. 


Serious injuries can occur between cars and motorcycles. If you find yourself seriously injured in the event of a motorcycle crash in Maryland, you must work with an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. At Spector Injury & Accident Lawyers, we can fight for you to receive justice and fair compensation. If you have any other questions regarding Maryland helmet laws while on a motorcycle or need our motorcycle accident lawyers to fight for you, contact our team today.