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Understanding Helmet Laws Wisconsin

This article will help people under Wisconsin’s motorcycle helmet laws.  In this blog post, we’ll dive into the ins and outs of these crucial regulations, helping you stay safe and informed while riding in the Badger State.

What about helmet laws in Wisconsin? Gruber Law Offices discusses these laws here.


Short Summary

  • Wisconsin follows a partial helmet law, which means that certain riders are required to wear a helmet. In Wisconsin, motorcycle riders under 18 and those with instructional permits are required by law to wear helmets.


  • Additional protective gear such as leather or heavy denim clothing, gloves, boots, and rain gear are recommended for improved safety on the road.


  • Penalties for violating helmet laws include incurring a fine of up to $200 in order to emphasize the importance of adhering to safety regulations.


Wisconsin Motorcycle Helmet Requirements

man and woman on motorcycle wearing healmets - Gruber Law

Wisconsin’s motorcycle helmet law distinguishes between riders based on their age and riding experience. Riders under 18 and those with instructional permits are required to wear helmets.

For riders over 18, the choice of whether to wear a helmet is left up to the individual rider.


Helmets for Riders Under 18

In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin motorcycle helmet laws are as follows:


  • Motorcycle operators are required to wear helmets if they are under 18.
  • Passengers under 18 are also required to wear helmets.
  • Helmets for riders under 18 must bear the “DOT” (Department of Transportation) symbol, indicating that they meet federal helmet requirements, including those for helmet goggles.


Instructional Permit Holders

Wisconsin law explicitly requires individuals holding an instructional permit to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle. Taking a motorcycle safety course is also recommended for all riders.

If an individual is caught operating a motorcycle without a helmet or protective face shield while in possession of an instructional permit, they may incur a fine of up to $200.


Protective Eyewear in Wisconsin

Woman putting on a motorcycle helmet - Gruber Law

In addition to helmets for certain riders, Wisconsin law mandates that all motorcycle riders, regardless of age or experience, wear protective eyewear, such as a protective face shield attached to their helmet. This requirement is part of the state’s universal helmet law, aiming to provide an extra layer of safety for all riders.

Not only does protective eyewear shield your eyes from debris and insects, but it also helps prevent eye injuries in case of an accident. Following the motorcycle safety foundation’s recommendations, it’s essential to comply with these regulations for a safe riding experience.


Additional Protective Gear Recommendations

man holding helmet and gloves for motorcycle - Gruber Law

While not legally required, Wisconsin also recommends that riders wear additional protective gear such as:


  • leather or heavy denim clothing
  • gloves
  • boots
  • rain gear

This extra protection can potentially help minimize injuries in case of an accident, making it a sensible precaution for all riders.


Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Injuries

motorcycle and helmet on the road after a crash - Gruber Law

If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident in Wisconsin, you may be eligible for compensation as motorcycle accident victims can, depending on the specific facts of the case, receive compensation for:


  • Past medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Past pain and suffering
  • Future pain and suffering
  • Other damages

We often receive questions similar to the following, “I wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of the crash - does that mean I cant get compensation for my motorcycle crash?”  This is a common misconception and also is a complicated issue but the short answer is that in Wisconsin “yes” you can still receive compensation if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.  To be clear, yes you can still recover compensation without having worn a helmet.

In certain circumstances, it’s important to keep in mind that insurance companies may attempt to reduce the amount of recovery if you weren’t wearing a helmet..


Bicycle and Other Vehicle Helmet Laws

bicycle helmet - Gruber Law

Wisconsin does not mandate bicycle helmets, but riders must obey traffic laws and are encouraged to wear helmets for safety. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation strongly advises that bicycle riders use helmets to minimize the risk of head and neck injuries in an accident.  This is likely based on the fact that  studies have shown that helmets in bicycle crashes reduce the risk of head and brain injuries by 85-88%, facial injuries by 65%, and serious head injuries among children by 69%

As for mopeds and scooters, Wisconsin law does not mandate helmet use. In all cases, prioritizing safety and using appropriate protective gear can save lives and prevent severe injuries.


Motorcycle Helmet Statistics

Motorcycle back wheel close up - Gruber Law

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Opinion

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) strongly supports the use of motorcycle helmets, citing their effectiveness in preventing fatalities and injuries. According to the NHTSA, helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders. In line with this, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation also emphasizes the importance of wearing helmets for rider safety.

All helmets must comply with the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218, ensuring they meet safety specifications designed to protect riders in case of an accident. Wearing a helmet endorsed by the NHTSA is a responsible choice that can save your life on the road.


Penalties for Violating Wisconsin's Helmet Law

bookshelf with law books

Violating Wisconsin’s helmet law can result in penalties ranging from $10 to $200, depending on the circumstances.

Our powerful team handles serious motorcycle crashes throughout Wisconsin.  We know what it takes to win!  Our results speak for themselves.

Be sure to discuss any questions you may have with your Wisconsin motorcycle accident lawyer.

And keep in mind that Wisconsin is not a no-fault state. You can also read more about Wisconsin's comparative negligence law here.


Frequently Asked Questions


Do you need a helmet to ride a bike in Wisconsin?
Technically there is generally not a legal requirement for bicyclists to wear a helmet in Wisconsin.

Which US states have no helmet law?
Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire are the only US states that do not have a helmet law.

Do you have to wear a helmet on a moped in Wisconsin?

Wearing a helmet while riding a moped in Wisconsin is not required under Wisconsin law.

Do you have to wear a helmet on a moped in Wisconsin?

Wearing a helmet while riding a moped in Wisconsin is not required under Wisconsin law.

What are the helmet requirements for riders under 18 in Wisconsin?

Riders under 18 in Wisconsin are required to wear helmets bearing the “DOT” symbol, ensuring compliance with federal safety standards.


Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Consult with a qualified attorney for advice specific to your situation.

Steven Gruber car accident attorney
( Personal Injury Attorney )

Attorney Steven Gruber was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His family has deep roots in the Wisconsin legal community, as his father, David, founded Gruber Law Offices almost 40 years ago and his mother, Nancy, is a managing attorney with the firm. Steven is an award-winning attorney who focuses on serious injury cases and firm strategy and operations. Some of Steven’s awards and memberships include National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, Top 10 Attorney in Wisconsin by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys, The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, just to name a few. He has successfully handled cases regarding serious matters that have been publicized by the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC, Fox and many other media outlets. At Gruber Law Offices, Steven also manages and leads a powerful team of 130 talented professionals. He is proud to continue the family legacy of positively impacting our community.