Following North Carolina motorcycle laws and safety recommendations is a smart choice for bikers in the state. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists make up a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities. While motorcycle fatalities did drop by 5% in 2018, there were still over 4,900 motorcycle related deaths.

Many states, including North Carolina, have adopted helmet laws to help reduce fatalities.

Helmet requirements

North Carolina requires all licensed motorcycle riders to wear helmets that meet federal motor vehicle safety standards. Both drivers and passengers must wear a helmet if riding a motorcycle or a moped. There are three requirements for a motorcycle helmet:

  1. It must have a thick foam liner on the inside, generally around one inch.
  2. The helmet must have a permanent “DOT” symbol on it from the manufacturer. A sticker does not make the helmet compliant.
  3. There must be a manufacturer tag on the inside that outlines the manufacturer, model, size, materials used and date of manufacture.

Choosing the right helmet

There are many different styles of DOT approved helmets and it is important to choose the right one. The NHTSA suggests considering the size, fit and style of helmet. Riders should measure the circumference of their head to get an accurate size. Many helmets come in different shapes as well, including round oval, intermediate oval and long oval. Finding the right shape will ensure a comfortable fit. The style of helmet will depend a lot on the type of intended riding. Styles range from full face helmets to open face or half helmets. A helmet is an important part of riding safely and responsibly.