Here in California, motorcyclists are required by law to adorn a helmet that has received the approval of the Department of Transportation, but this is not the case everywhere. There are many areas of the country where only persons below a certain age have to wear a helmet and a few where a helmet is not required by law at all.
This can prove problematic for those persons who plan to travel across the country on a motorcycle. Knowing when and where to wear a helmet is a challenge when you don’t know the law, but there’s one way you can always be sure to stay on the right side of it: always have the helmet on.
If you’re intent on not wearing a helmet, though, then you should at the very least take a look at a map from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety related by Consumer Reports. That map lays out which states have partial laws, which have universal, and which have none, and it is positioned directly above a handy guide to the age restrictions in place.
Consumer Reports also does a great job laying out why a helmet should be an essential tool even in states where they’re not required. They point out that 1,800 people probably survived a crash thanks to a helmet in 2008. Unfortunately, usage appears to drop dramatically when there’s no legislative backing for helmet wearing.