New Hampshire Motorcycle Helmet Law

18 Years Old
New Hampshire Motorcycle Helmet Law


Title XXI. Motor Vehicles. Chapter 265. Rules of the Road, Special Rules for Motorcycles. Section 265.122 Protective Headgear. :

I. No person less than 18 years of age may drive or ride upon a motorcycle unless he wears protective headgear of a type approved by the director. Such headgear shall be equipped with either a neck or chin strap.

II. The director is hereby authorized and empowered to adopt rules pursuant to RSA 260:5 covering the types of protective headgear and the specifications therefor and to establish and maintain a list of approved headgear which meet his established specifications.

III. If federal law is altered so that the mandatory wearing of protective headgear on motorcycles by persons less than 18 years of age is not required as a condition to the receipt by the state of any federal funds, paragraphs I and II shall be void.

IV. Any motorcycle operator who transports a person under the age of 18 years, when such person is in violation of paragraph I, shall be guilty of a violation.

NOTE: With the passage of ISTEA in 1996, States could no longer be blackmailed with the threat of losing Federal highway funding by the Federal Govt. Based on the language in Section III above, New Hampshire has been a 100% FREE state since ISTEA passed in 1996.


Fine for helmet / eye protection and other motor vehicle violations is – $43.20


We are currently researching the New Hampshire regulations to determine exactly what standard they had adopted to define “protective headgear”. Apparently the “director” approved New Hampshire’s so-called safety equipment.


“This section was within police power of state and did not violate motorcyclist’s right of equal protection and due process.” State v. Merski (1973) 113 NH 323, 307 A2d 825. (Decided under prior law.)


June 2002 – HB-1132 – replaces the 15″ higher than the seat maximum height limit with a no more than shoulder height when seated limit.


Feb 17, 2000 – HB 1458 – Helmet bill defeated in the NH House of Reps. 

Jan 29, 1998 – HB 1216 – Discriminatory Insurance Bill Defeated.

NH Says No to PIP Insurance bill HB 1216


If you know of any current activity regarding efforts to remove or amend New Hampsire’s helmet law, in the Legislature or the Courts, please e-mail that information to us so we can update this page.