An Overview of Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Tennessee

In Tennessee, almost everyone who rides on a motorcycle is legally required to wear a helmet. That helmet must meet the federal standards found in 49 CFR 571.218. If the driver or passenger of the motorcycle is at least 21 years old, the helmet must meet the following requirements:
  • Ventilation airways may penetrate the helmet’s shell, so long as those airways do not exceed one-and-a-half inches in diameter.
  • The protective surface of the helmet is not required to be a single continuous contour.
  • Drivers and passengers must have a label affixed to their helmets signifying that the helmet complies with all requirements of the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), the Southern Impact Research Center (SIRC), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and/or the Snell Foundation.

Exceptions to the state helmet laws

There are a few exceptions to the helmet regulations described above. Those helmet laws do not apply to any persons riding:
  • Inside an enclosed vehicle cab.
  • On a motorcycle that is fully enclosed that has three wheels in contact with the ground, weighs less than 1,500 pounds and can maintain all posted speed limits.
  • On a golf cart.
  • In a parade at a speed of 30 miles per hour or less, so long as the person riding the motorcycle is at least 18 years old.
  • In a funeral procession or a memorial ride under a police escort or body escort detail, so long as the driver travels at or below 30 miles per hour and is at least 21 years of age. The funeral possession or memorial ride cannot stretch beyond 50 miles.
To learn more about helmet and related laws in Tennessee, consult a skilled Sullivan County motorcycle accident attorney. Call Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. today at 423-797-6022 to schedule your free initial consultation, or contact us online.