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Idaho does not require helmets for motorcycle riders

Just a week ago a Boise man lost his life due to a fatal motorcycle accident that occurred off of Overland Road.

He suffered from severe blunt force trauma to the head and broke nearly every bone in his face.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet; his helmet was strapped to the back of his motorcycle.

According to the Idaho State Police website, Idaho’s helmet law states wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is optional for the driver unless the driver is under the age of 18, in which case they must be wearing a helmet at all times. Boise State follows this law as well.

Garth Lyon, technical records specialist at the Transportation and Parking Services, explained that between the years of 2011 to 2012 Boise State sold 412 motorcycle permits and in 2013-14 they sold 335 motorcycle permits.

“Looking at our data I would say that motorcycle permit sales have remained relatively constant for the last three years,” Lyon said.

Transportation and Parking Services have tried to accommodate motorcyclists with plenty of on-campus parking. More motorcycles on campus has reduced the amount of traffic.

“There aren’t as many cars on campus and we haven’t had any incidences that we are aware of about motorcycle accidents,” Lyon said.

Boise State can’t implement any specific laws stating that, when on campus, motorcyclists must wear a helmet.

Adam Harrison, senior criminal justice major, is an active motorcyclist in Boise. He wears a helmet and is an advocate for trying to get other riders in Boise to

“I feel like Idaho should have a helmet law for motorcyclists. The biggest problem that I see is that during the winter there aren’t as many motorcycles on the road, and now people are forgetting to look twice, which is leading to more accidents,” Harrison said.

Harrison grew up around motorcycles and has learned how to ride safely on the roads. To  him, wearing a helmet is what saves a life.

“I had a friend who got in an accident once; if he wasn’t wearing his helmet he probably would have died. The sad thing is that Idaho has brought up a helmet law multiple times, but it never has gone through,”
Harrison said.

Harrison has pushed many people who want to learn to ride to go through schooling at Idaho Star Motorcycle School.

“I think this school should be a mandatory school for motorcyclists. They teach you everything about helmets, clothing and traffic rules. It’s definitely beneficial and would help people know the safety out on the roads,” Harrison said.

Idaho is one of the few states in the country with no mandatory helmet law.

1 Comment on Idaho does not require helmets for motorcycle riders

  1. Good article, until the final, contradictory sentence. Idaho *does* have a mandatory helmet law, but only for those under 18.

    In my experience, my head-bonking happened before 18 and so the relatively scant state coercion here would have been sufficient. But I recognize a significant measure of luck in that outcome and haven't ridden much as an adult. Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is so demonstrably stupid that a broader law would be an improvement, IMHO.

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