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State laws vary when it comes to motorcycle helmets

Motorcyclists in New Jersey are required by law to wear helmets, but the country actually has a patchwork of laws regarding helmets.

As the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports, there are laws in 19 states that require helmets to be worn by all motorcyclists. These are called universal helmet laws, and Washington, D.C., also has one. An additional 28 states have laws on the books that regulate helmet use for some motorcyclists, such as minors. Only three states have no laws on the books, and those are Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire. Universal helmet laws used to be federally mandated in order to receive certain funding, but in 1976 the laws changed, and states began to dictate who was required to wear a helmet while on the road.

A recent tragedy on the set of an upcoming movie has highlighted the importance of helmets for motorcyclists. According to the Los Angeles Times, a stunt driver on the set of Deadpool 2 was killed after she lost control of her motorcycle and went through the windows of an office building. The character she was portraying never wore a helmet, so the stunt driver, a road racer with significant experience, was not wearing a helmet when she crashed. Although she was able to complete the stunt four times previously, the fifth practice run came to a tragic end when there was an issue with the throttle that led to her death. The woman was not able to brake, and she was declared dead at the scene. This was her first movie.