News360 Perspective


360° Perspective: Helmet Laws

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 11:53:07-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – It’s the busy summer riding season and with motorcycle deaths increasing on Colorado roads we wanted to take a look at helmet laws in this 360° Perspective.

CDOT says in 2018 103 motorcyclists were killed on Colorado Roads. More than half of them were not wearing helmets. Safety experts consider a DOT approved helmet to be the most important piece of motorcycle safety equipment.


In Colorado, if you’re 18 and older you don’t have to wear one. The NTSB says wearing a helmet reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 37 percent. Unhelmeted riders are three times more likely to sustain traumatic brain injuries in a crash.

More than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in 2017. That’s double the number from 1997.

Some riders say helmets actually increase the risk of a neck injury. They say they reduce peripheral vision and hearing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says more than a dozen studies refute that claim. They say universal helmet laws are incredibly effective, but if they only apply to young riders, they’re nearly impossible to enforce. Those against helmet laws say it should be their choice.

The first time helmet laws were established was in 1967. That’s when the fed began requiring states to enact them to qualify for certain safety and highway construction funds. By 1975, all but three states mandated helmets for all motorcyclists.

As of today, 19 states and D.C. have universal helmet laws. 28 states have laws covering some riders, usually for people younger than 18. Three states don’t have any requirements, they are Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire.

Since 1977, Colorado riders have not been required to wear one. Then in 2007, the state started making riders and passengers 17 and younger wear them. On top of that, in Colorado, you’re required to wear eye protection no matter your age.

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