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Do I need a helmet with a DOT-certification?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by our US based customers, and rightfully so! As we are based in the Netherlands, all helmets we sell are ECE22.05 certified and do not have a DOT safety rating (with a few exceptions). The ECE22.05 rating is the European safety standard for motorcycle helmets. This is the most commonly accepted standard throughout the world, as it is considered the best standard. However, riders in the United States may need a helmet with a DOT rating instead. There are a few variables to take into account though as motorcycle helmet laws differ per state. On this page, we try to educate our US based customers on this subject as the decision to buy a helmet from us may be subject to these laws.
We won't bore you with any lenghty documentation on the exact differences, but here are the main differences between helmets with an ECE22.05 rating, and helmets with a DOT rating:

  • To receive an ECE22.05 certification, helmets get tested for impact resistance on key areas. They get tested in different temperatures as well.

  • DOT certified helmets are usually heavier than their ECE22.05 siblings, as the outer shell needs to be thicker to withstand the DOT penetration test (to simulate hitting a sharp object like the spike of a fence). You might want to think about how big those chances are though.

  • Helmet manufacturers can release their helmets for sale before they are DOT approved. They may self-certify their own products. ECE22.05 helmets are always tested by an independent organization credited by the UNECE prior to hitting the shelves, guaranteeing the helmet you purchase is safe for road use.

  • The ECE22.05 standard specifies the type of protection a helmet provides. A "P" rating indicates the lower face cover is protective, a "J" indicates there is no lower face cover. The more recently added "NP" rating indicates there is a non-protective lower face cover. The lower face cover is not tested in the DOT system at all. Modular helmets can earn the "P/J" rating as well, indicating they are also safe to use with the chin bar flipped up without causing extra harm during a crash compared to a "J" rated helmet like an open face helmet.

Please note that motorcycle helmet laws may be updated. We try to stay up to date as much as possible, but we cannot guarantee the information shown on this page is completely up to date all the time. Therefore, you can not derive any rights from the content on this page.

Map of US motorcycle helmet laws

Please refer to the map to see what kind of law applies per US state. For a more detailed explanation, refer to the list further below.

Motorcycle helmet use laws by state

This list provides a more detailed overview which riders in fact need a DOT certified helmet. We can roughly devide the states in 3 groups: Either all riders need to wear a DOT certified helmet, or only younger riders (usually 17 or 20 and younger), or no riders at all need to wear a helmet.

Source: https://www.iihs.org/topics/motorcycles#helmet-laws
Last updated: December 4, 2020

Alabama: all riders
Alaska: 17 and younger
Arizona: 17 and younger
Arkansas: 20 and younger
California: all riders
Colorado: 17 and younger and passengers 17 and younger
Connecticut: 17 and younger
Delaware: 18 and younger
District of Columbia: all riders
Florida: 20 and younger
Georgia: all riders
Hawaii: 17 and younger
Idaho: 17 and younger
Illinois: no helmet required
Indiana: 17 and younger
Iowa: no helmet required
Kansas: 17 and younger
Kentucky: 20 and younger
Louisiana: all riders
Maine: 17 and younger
Maryland: all riders
Massachusetts: all riders
Michigan: 20 and younger
Minnesota: 17 and younger
Mississippi: all riders
Missouri: 25 and younger
Montana: 17 and younger
Nebraska: all riders
Nevada: all riders
New Hampshire: no helmet required
New Jersey: all riders
New Mexico: 17 and younger
New York: all riders
North Carolina: all riders
Ohio: 17 and younger
Oklahoma: 17 and younger
Oregon: all riders
Pennsylvania: 20 and younger
Rhode Island: 20 and younger
South Carolina: 20 and younger
South Dakota: 17 and younger
Tennessee: all riders
Texas: 20 and younger
Utah: 20 and younger
Vermont: all riders
Virginia: all riders
Washington: all riders
West Virginia: all riders
Wisconsin: 17 and younger
Wyoming: 17 and younger

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