Do You Need a Helmet to Ride an ATV?

You may be contemplating buying a new ATV for you or a loved one. This will bring up questions about the legality and safety equipment needed to ride an all-terrain vehicle. We have scoured the internet to provide you with detailed helmet laws and all you need to know about purchasing the right helmet for you.

ATV helmets are a crucial safety element needed for your riding experience. Even as a careful and focused driver, you need a helmet to offer protection against outside obstacles and other riders. This could be the one thing standing between you and a serious head injury. Helmets have proven to be so important that most states legally require you to wear one. ATV laws will differ by location and restrictions will depend on the following:

  • The land (private vs public)
  • Age of driver
  • State
  • Safety equipment required

Now that you know you need a helmet, what helmet will be the perfect fit for you? If you want to make an informed purchase for your safety, read on as we break down the ins and outs of ATV helmets and the legal regulations of individual states.

Friends driving off-road with quad bike or ATV and UTV vehicles, Do You Need a Helmet to Ride an ATV?

ATV Helmet Regulations

It's common to not need a driver's license to operate an ATV but there are age restrictions depending on where you are riding. Before your excursion, you should be well-informed on the ATV laws of your location and always refer to the State DMV site for detailed regulations. We will break down some specifics for riding in California, New York, Texas, and Florida to get you familiar with what information you should be looking for.

ATV Helmet Regulations in California

In California, you can be as young as 14 to legally ride an ATV, with some restrictions of course. If you are under 18 years old, you need the proper safety training to use an ATV or be under the direct supervision of an adult. You and any passengers on your ATV will be required to wear a helmet regardless of age. You can explore the details of California's ATV laws and safety regulations here. Keep in mind that requirements will be different between public roads and private trails.

ATV Helmet Regulations in New York

You are not required to have a driver's license to be behind the wheel of an ATV in New York. You can be under the age of 10 and drive with direct adult supervision. After 16, you can drive without a parent or guardian but you may be interested in taking a safety course before riding. By taking one of these courses, you can make certain your ride is as safe as possible. You are required to wear a DOT-approved helmet while riding in New York. Refer to these guidelines before your adventure.

ATV Helmet Regulations in Texas

In Texas, you are legally required to wear a helmet when driving on public land. You will also need to complete an ATV safety course or be riding with someone who has. If you are under the age of 14, a parent or guardian must be present. Laws between public and private land will be different.

Please read through this page for an in-depth explanation of the ATV laws of Texas. You can also refer to this site for further information.

ATV Helmet Regulations in Florida

If you are under 16 and have plans to ride your ATV in Florida, be prepared for the required safety training and additional gear needed. Drivers at this age are required to wear a helmet, eye protection, and over the ankle boots. Helmets are necessary for all drivers and passengers of an ATV on public land. You can refer to these guidelines to be fully prepared for your Florida trail.

No matter where you are driving, keep within your driving abilities. You will want to look over laws and regulations before any ATV adventure to keep up to date on crucial information.

Purchasing Your ATV Helmet

Professional quad bike racer driving on sand dunes in protective gear

You don't want to miss out on the full-face protection of an ATV helmet. For safety or legal reasons, you should acquire the appropriate gear. You will come across different designs and styles of helmets. Keep in mind: if you buy a helmet without a face shield, you should consider purchasing added safety gear such as goggles.

You will want your helmet to fit your needs for comfortability, visibility, and ventilation. Selecting the proper size and design will make sure you have a safe and cozy experience. Here are a variety of helmets that we recommend:

ILM 3/4 Open Face Helmet

This sleek matte black helmet is available in four different sizes. It meets and exceeds DOT standards.

Click here to see more on Amazon.

Westt Helmet

This helmet comes in small, medium, or large sizes. It's DOT-approved, too.

Click here to see more on Amazon.

ILM Full Face Helmet

This helmet is available in four unique color patterns and five sizes. It meets and exceeds all DOT standards. 

Click here to see more on Amazon.

Can Motorcycle Helmets Be Used For An ATV?

Are you wondering what the difference is between a motorcycle and an ATV helmet? Motorcycle helmets are designed with great aerodynamics and are typically quieter. ATV helmets are heavily suited for off-roading or trail riding.

An ATV helmet provides substantial ventilation and has a chin guard feature. Your face will be protected by a visor or the helmet will have a space to be used for riding goggles. A motorcycle helmet can offer protection to a degree, but you will enjoy the unique features offered from an ATV helmet. Purchasing an ATV helmet will allow you to be sure you have adequate protection for every ride, no matter the conditions.

Why Do ATV Helmets Have Visors?

ATV in dust cloud, sand quarry on background

ATV helmets come in different makes and models. Some having visors. Like every part of the helmet, the visor is there to protect you. The visor of the helmet protects you and your eyes from many elements including:

  • The sun
  • Dirt & dust
  • Hanging branches
  • Stones
  • Water

When riding an ATV, you are typically off the road and enjoying the twists and turns of a trail. Riding scenarios will differ with terrain and weather. The aid with vision, comfort, and safety allows for an enjoyable ride every time.

Are ATV Helmets DOT Approved?

A DOT certified helmet is one that meets the safety standards of The US Department of Transportation. You can find ATV helmets with the DOT certified stickers. It's up to the company to create a helmet that is up to code. For extra measure, there are aspects of a helmet you can check yourself to make certain your gear is up to DOT standards. These elements include:

  • Weight of the helmet
  • Design
  • Length of the inner liner
  • Integrity of chin straps

You can read more on what makes a helmet DOT approved here

Do You Need A Helmet For A Side By Side?

A side-by-side ripping up dirt as it turns a corner

A side by side is a utility terrain vehicle or UTV. While side-by-sides are constructed differently than an ATV, you should still wear a helmet while riding in or operating one. No matter the build of the vehicle, you are at risk of all the factors a helmet will protect you from.

You don't want to be slapped by a branch or endure a complicated head injury if it can be avoided. No matter the exploit, safety should be your number one priority.

In Closing

We want you to be fully prepared and protected while making memories on your ATV. You want to make the commitment to wearing a helmet on every ride. Equip yourself and your passengers with the right knowledge and safety elements. We hope this article was helpful for your helmet hunt. Most importantly, enjoy your ride! 

To learn more about ATVs, be sure to check out these insightful articles:

How Long Is An ATV?

How To Keep ATV Tires From Going Flat?

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