Mandatory Helmet Law



California Vehicle Code, Division 12, Chapter 5, Article 7, Section 27803.


In California . . . it depends on who you ask.

Therefore, a violation of California's helmet law is -- as a matter or Law according to the language of the statutes -- an equipment violation, and carries with it only a need to show "proof of correction" and the payment of a $10 fine. However, . . .

The CHP (California Highway Patrol) says:



California Vehicle Code, Division 12, Chapter 5, Article 7, Section 27802.


" . . . it is clear the law requires only that the consumer wear a helmet bearing a certification of compliance." Buhl v. Hannigan 16 Cal.App. 4th 1612 (1993).

" . . . the statement in Buhl that consumer compliance with the state law only requires the consumer to wear a helmet bearing the DOT self-certification sticker does not apply when a helmet has been shown not to conform with federal standards and the consumer has actual knowledge of this fact." Bianco v. California Highway Patrol, 24 Cal.App. 4th 1113 (1994).

"The courts held that citations should only be issued in two situations: (1) when a helmet was not certified by the manufacturer at the time of sale or (2) when a rider wearing a helmet certified by the manufacturer at the time of sale has actual knowledge of a showing of a determination of non-conformity with federal standards. . . . or (3) Other competent objective evidence from independent laboratory testing that the helmet does not meet FMVSS 218." Easyriders v. Hannigan (887 F.SUPP. 240).


AB 1200 - Helmet Mod bill 18 and over with medical insurance. Author: Assemblyman John Longville (D) of Riverside.
Jan. 12, 2004 - Failed Trans Comm 9 to 10. Needed 11 to pass out of committee. Controversial Organ donar amendment was struck prior to vote per Longville.
Mar. 06 - Referred to Com. on TRANS.
Feb. 24 - Read first time.
Feb. 23 - From printer. May be heard in committee March 25.
Feb. 21 - Introduced. To print.


May 30, 2002 - AB 2700 Helmet Mod bill defeated in House.

April 18, 2002 - HR 2700 - Amended - with 1,000,000 insurance rider. Outrageous!

April 1, 2002 - HR 43 - Resolved that May 2002 deemed Motorcycle Safety Awareness month.

Feb 22, 2002 - HR 2700 - Introduced - Helmet Mod Bill. 21 and over.

April 17, 2001 - SB 1057 - Helmet Mod Bill that would limit the current mandatory helmet provisions to riders and passengers 17 years of age or less. | Bill Text

May 18, 1999 - SB 1197, failed in the Senate Trans Committee 3-yes to 2-no. Seven votes needed to proceed. ABATE plans to bring it back in January.

AB 975, the CMSP bill, is being held in the Assembly Appropriations Suspense File, pending the completion of the budget, and is going to be included in the State Budget.

AB 1515, Vet's motorcycle license plates, passed out of the Assembly on consent, and is headed for Senate Transportation, where it will face a tough fight.

May 11, 1999 - SB 1197 - Repeal Bill withdrawn by ABATEPC.

Feb 26, 1999 - SB 1197 - A bill to repeal the California Helmet Law entirely. This is not a modification bill. Author: Senator Bill Morrow. Principal coauthors: Assembly members Brett Granlund (R) and Rico Oller (R), Dennis Cardoza (D) and Denise Ducheny (D).

SB 1197, as introduced, Morrow. Motorcycles: helmets. Under existing law, it is unlawful for any person to operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet. Existing law also makes it unlawful to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet. This bill would repeal these provisions. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.


CHP Internal Bulletins on policy and procedures regarding Calif Helmet Law enforcement



The foregoing is provided as educational information only and is not legal advice.