If you are a cyclist who also rides a motorcycle, you may wonder, “Can you wear a bike helmet on a motorcycle?”
So, can a bike helmet be worn on a motorcycle? Legally, no. 48 of the 50 states either require you to wear a “motorcycle” helmet all the time or when you are under a certain age.
After all, both helmets are designed to protect your head from impact injuries, and it is convenient to have one helmet for both purposes. However, before you decide to wear a bicycle helmet on a motorcycle, there are some essential things that you need to know.
A motorcycle helmet protects riders going 25 to 65 MPH or faster, while a bicycle helmet is only made to protect riders going 15 MPH or less. So, can a bike helmet be worn on a motorcycle? No.
Here is a table outlining the key differences between a bicycle helmet and a motorcycle helmet:
It is important to note that while both types of helmets serve the same primary function of protecting the rider’s head, they are designed for different purposes and environments.
Bicycle helmets are intended for low-speed impacts and are unsuitable for motorcycle riding.
Conversely, motorcycle helmets are built to withstand the high-speed effects and provide excellent water protection for riders.
Riders must choose the appropriate helmet to ensure maximum safety and security.
Read More: Can I use a Bike Helmet for Roller Skating?
Some risks of wearing a bicycle helmet on a motorcycle are:
- A bicycle helmet may not provide adequate protection for your head in a motorcycle crash. Bicycle helmets are designed for lower-speed impacts and may not withstand the forces and abrasions of a motorcycle collision.
According to some sources, wearing a motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of death by 1/3 and the risk of head injury by 69% in a motorcycle crash. A bicycle helmet may not offer such benefits and may even shatter or disintegrate on impact.
- A bicycle helmet may not meet the legal requirements for motorcycle helmets in your country or state.
Many countries and states have laws that require motorcycle riders to wear helmets that meet certain standards, such as DOT, ECE, FIM, or Snell.
These standards specify the minimum performance criteria for impact attenuation, penetration resistance, retention strength and stability, peripheral vision, and labeling.
A bicycle helmet may not comply with these standards and may result in fines or penalties if you get caught by law enforcement.
- A bicycle helmet may not fit properly or comfortably on your head when riding a motorcycle. Bicycle helmets are usually lighter and smaller than motorcycle helmets and may not adequately cover your ears or chin.
They may also have less padding and ventilation than motorcycle helmets, which can cause discomfort, heat buildup, or sweating when riding at high speeds or for long periods.
A poorly fitting or uncomfortable helmet can distract you from focusing on the road and increase your risk of an accident.
What are the Legal Consequences of Wearing a Bicycle Helmet on a Motorcycle in Different Countries or States?
That’s an interesting question. The answer may vary depending on your country or state, but generally speaking, wearing a bicycle helmet on a motorcycle is not a good idea for safety and legal reasons.
Bicycle helmets are not designed to protect riders at speeds of 25-65 MPH and higher, typical for motorcycles.
They also do not undergo the same rigorous testing and certification as motorcycle helmets, which must meet DOT, ECE, FIM, or Snell standards.
Moreover, wearing a bicycle helmet on a motorcycle can be illegal in many places. As of 2021, 19 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have enacted statutes requiring motorcyclists to wear DOT-approved safety helmets.
In other states that do not have mandatory helmet laws or only apply them to certain age groups, getting into an accident on a motorbike while wearing a bike helmet could still affect your ability to get money from the government.
You could be found partially or fully negligent for contributing to your injuries by failing to wear proper protective equipment.
Therefore, I would advise you always to wear a motorcycle helmet when riding a motorcycle. It could save your life and avoid legal troubles.
- Measure your head circumference with a soft tape measure, string, and ruler. Wrap it around the widest part of your head, about one inch above your eyebrows.
- Compare your measurement with the size chart of the helmet brand you are interested in. Choose one that matches or is closest to your measurement. If you are between sizes, you can either go for the smaller one and adjust it with pads or go for the larger one and wear a cycling cap underneath.
- Pick the type of helmet that suits your riding style and preference. There are three main types of bicycle helmets: road, mountain, and commuter.
Road helmets are lightweight, well-ventilated, and aerodynamic. Mountain helmets are more durable, have extended rear coverage, and often have visors or mounts for lights or cameras.
Commuter helmets are economical and versatile and often have reflective elements or integrated lights for visibility.
- Try on the helmet before buying it if possible. Make sure it fits snugly but comfortably on your head without any gaps or pressure points.
Adjust the straps and dial until they form a V shape under your ears and secure the buckle under your chin. The helmet should not move more than an inch in any direction when you shake your head.
- Check for any extra features you may want in a helmet, such as certifications, ventilation, weight, design, etc. Some helmets also have extra safety features such as MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), SPIN (Shearing Pad INside), or
WaveCel can reduce rotational forces on your brain in case of an angled impact. These features may increase the helmet’s price but also improve its performance.
- Take care of your helmet by cleaning it regularly with mild soap and water, storing it away from direct sunlight or heat sources, and replacing it after any crash or damage. You should also replace your helmet every 3 to 5 years, even if it looks fine, because its materials may degrade over time.
This helps you find a bicycle helmet that fits you well and protects you on every ride.
What are Some Alternatives to Wearing a Bicycle Helmet on a Motorcycle, such as Renting or Buying a Motorcycle Helmet?
Some alternatives to wearing a bicycle helmet on a motorcycle are:
- Renting or buying a motorcycle helmet: This is the best option to ensure your safety and comply with the law.
You can find motorcycle helmets online or at local motorcycle shops. Make sure the helmet is DOT-approved and fits you correctly.
- Wearing a motorcycle helmet on top of a bicycle helmet: This is not recommended, but it might be better than wearing only a bicycle helmet.
However, this could be uncomfortable, bulky, and impair your vision. You also have to make sure both helmets are securely fastened and do not interfere with each other.
- Wearing a dirt bike helmet or a ski helmet: These helmets are not designed for motorcycles but might offer more protection than a bicycle helmet.
However, they might not meet the legal requirements for motorcycle helmets in your area and might not fit well or have adequate ventilation.
Ultimately, none of these alternatives can replace a proper motorcycle helmet. If you ride a motorcycle regularly, you should invest in a good quality helmet that meets the safety standards and suits your needs.
Read More: How to Wear a Bike Helmet?
Can you wear a bicycle helmet while riding an electric motorcycle?
You can wear a bicycle helmet while riding an electric motorcycle, but it’s not recommended.
While bicycles and electric motorcycles share some similarities, they are very different in speed and power.
Electric motorcycles reach higher speeds than bicycles and require more protection for the rider.
What are the consequences of wearing a bicycle helmet on a motorcycle?
A: Wearing a bicycle helmet on a motorcycle can put you at risk of serious head injury in the event of a crash. Bicycle helmets are not designed to withstand high-speed impacts and provide less protection than a certified motorcycle helmet.
Additionally, wearing a non-certified helmet on a motorcycle may result in fines or legal consequences.
Is it illegal to wear a bicycle helmet on a motorcycle?
It depends on the state or country you are in. In some states or countries, wearing a non-certified helmet on a motorcycle may be illegal.
It is important to check your local laws and regulations regarding helmet requirements for motorcyclists.
Can I wear a motorcycle helmet for cycling?
Yes, you can wear a motorcycle helmet for cycling. However, motorcycle helmets are heavier and less ventilated than bicycle helmets, so they may not be as comfortable for cycling. Choosing a helmet that fits properly and provides adequate protection for your chosen activity is important.
What are some affordable options for buying a motorcycle helmet?
There are several affordable options for buying a motorcycle helmet. Look for DOT or ECE-certified helmets, as these are the most commonly recognized safety standards.
You can also consider purchasing a used helmet, but be sure to inspect it carefully for any signs of damage or wear. Additionally, some manufacturers offer entry-level helmets at a lower price point.
In conclusion, it is always better to prioritize safety over fashion when it comes to riding any type of vehicle. While bicycle helmets may provide some level of protection, they are not designed to withstand the high impact of a motorcycle crash.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you wear a motorcycle helmet that is specifically designed and certified for that purpose. By doing so, you are not only protecting yourself but also complying with the law and contributing to safer roads for all. Stay safe and enjoy the ride!
Hey, I’m Hrithik Hossain. I am the head of helmethacks.com, which specializes in safety helmets. I am looking to connect with anyone interested in purchasing a helmet or who has any questions about different types of helmets. I have over 8 years of experience as a helmet expert, and I can’t wait to help you find the perfect helmet for you. I can help you with any questions regarding helmets, from the best brands to fitting, style, and more! I really enjoy keeping people safe by ensuring they have the best protection possible.