Kentucky Motorcycle Helmet Law

Kentucky first enacted a motorcycle helmet law for all riders in 1968. This law was amended in July 1998 to require helmet use only by:

  • Motorcycle operators and passengers under the age of 21;
  • Motorcycle operators who possess a motorcycle instruction permit;
  • Motorcycle operators who have had an operator’s license for less than one year.


When the universal helmet law was repealed in Kentucky in 1998, motorcycle fatalities increased by over 50 percent. (Source: NHTSA)
In states without a universal helmet law, 65 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2011 were not wearing helmets. In states with a universal helmet law, 9 percent of motorcyclists killed were not wearing a helmet. (Source: NHTSA)
In 2014, there were 1,275 motorcycle injuries and 76 fatalities in Kentucky. Of those Injured, 668 were not wearing a helmet. Of those killed, 46 were not wearing a helmet.
NHTSA estimates that helmets reduce motorcycle rider fatalities by 22 to 37 percent and brain injuries by 44 to 65 percent.
For every 100 motorcycle riders killed in crashes while not wearing a helmet, 37 of them could have been saved had all 100 worn helmets. (Source: NHTSA)


Download the following PDF from the Kentucky Department of Transportation for more information. Click here for specific an explanation of the code.