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Everything You Need To Know About the California Motorcycle Helmet Visor Law

Helmet visors have become quite an essential item for motorcyclists to use. They are essential for keeping the rider protected from the sun's rays, and some even improve the visibility of other riders during nighttime rides. 

Many states have passed laws requiring motorists to wear a helmet visor law to ensure that all motorcyclists know they need one. The first state was California, hence California's motorcycle helmet visor law.


California’s Specific Visor Laws

California motorcycle helmet visor law usually requires helmets to include both a face shield and goggles or glasses to protect eyes from debris and wind and other dangers from riding a bike. Helmets without goggles and glasses usually weigh less and are easier to wear because they don't include the extra protection offered by goggles.


It is also essential to know that California motorcycle helmet visor law is designed to keep any back or neck injuries as minimal as possible. Helmets with visors have a lower profile and are designed to fit tightly around the head with no pressure on the neck. It is always a rider's fault if they are injured because of driver negligence or other factors, not helmets. Making it essential to make sure your helmet has a visor.


It can cost you if you are unaware of the California motorcycle helmet visor law. It can be challenging for motorcyclists to know the helmet laws in their area, but it is always good to know what type of helmet you should have when riding. Visors are not necessary for all areas, so always check before purchasing or riding.


The Department of Motor Vehicles implemented the California motorcycle helmet visor law in 2011 


Under this law, all riders and passengers of motorcycles must wear goggles, glasses, or a face shield that provides 100 percent coverage if their motorcycle has an open face or is riding without a windshield.


It is an extension of California's Helmet Law that was implemented in 1992, requiring all those riding a motorcycle or motorbike to wear a helmet.


It's important to note that you will not be able to legally ride your motorcycle on public streets with any visor that does not offer 100 percent eye protection. It's also not permitted to wear sunglasses on a motorcycle.


It's also important to note that anyone under 21 who is caught driving a motorcycle will receive a citation. This law is designed to protect the youth who cannot fully understand the importance of safety and have not yet developed the experience necessary to operate a motorcycle safely.


The California Department of Motor Vehicles reminds everyone that safety should be everyone's number one priority when riding, operating, or driving a motorcycle. 


The California motorcycle helmet visor law is another in a string of laws that has caused many people to be confused. This law is one of the most confusing motorcycle helmet laws around California, and you must understand what's going on.



Why Do People Think the California Motorcycle Helmet Visor Law Is Necessary?

The most common reason for the implementation of this law was safety. The helmet visor law was enacted to decrease the number of facial injuries across California.



Why Do People Think It Is Not Necessary?

Many motorcycle riders believe that there's no need for this with all the laws already in place, from helmets to insurance companies.

The motorcycle helmet visor law is just one of the many laws that motorcyclists have to deal with, which has caused many people to be skeptical about the law.


In some cases, this law has been a problem, mainly because so many people commute on motorcycles. Many commuters need to use visors for protection despite not being the primary users of motorbikes.



Riders Who Required by Law To Wear a Face Shield


  • A person operating a moped whose forward-facing seat is at least 30 inches from the ground, excluding the handlebars and footrests.
  • A person operating a wheelchair whose forward-facing seat is at least 32 inches from the ground.
  • A person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device whose forward-facing seat attachment point and footrest are at least 30 inches from the ground.
  • A person riding in an enclosed cab such as a golf cart or horse trailer.

white protection helmets with visors viewed from several angles


Who Is Exempted From the California Motorcycle Helmet Visor Law?

The following are exempted from this motorcycle helmet law:

  • A person that is blind or has a disease that prevents them from wearing a face shield.
  • A person who has a visual impairment, including a condition such as diabetes, can be corrected by prescription glasses.
  • A person operating a three-wheeled motorcycle.
  • SWAT officers, police, and C.H.P. officers are exempt from wearing eye protection at all times when flown in helicopters. However, it's important to note that this does not apply to regular citizens, and you'll need to wear eye protection at all times.



What's the Fine for Not Wearing the California Motorcycle Helmet Visor Law?

The fine for violating this law is 25.00 dollars for the first offense and 50.00 dollars for the second offense within the same year. Although these fines may seem small to some, it's important to note that you can only commit one traffic violation in any given year by law.


Non-compliance with the law can also result in points on your driving record for subsequent offenses.



California Motorcycle Helmet Visor Law F.A.Q.S With Related Information

Here are a few answers to common questions on this motorcycle helmet visor law:


What Is the California Motorcycle Helmet Visor Law?

The California motorcycle helmet visor law states that ALL drivers, passengers, and anyone else riding on a motorcycle, either on or off a motorcycle, must wear eye protection. It may be in the form of goggles, glasses, or face shields attached to eyewear. Eye protection for riders and passengers must provide 100 percent face coverage.


What Is the Purpose of the California Motorcycle Helmet Visor Law?

The purpose behind this motorcycle helmet visor law is to create a safer environment for riders and passengers on motorcycles. By requiring all drivers and passengers to wear eye protection, it's hoped to reduce road rage, increase awareness of other drivers and provide better visibility for everyone.


Who Does the California Motorcycle Helmet Visor Law Affect?

The California motorcycle helmet visor law applies to ALL drivers, passengers, and anyone else riding either on or off a motorcycle. It includes children who are passengers and adults who operate a motorcycle, scooter, moped, or any other type of vehicle that requires the wearer to have a driver's license.


What Is the History of the California Motorcycle Helmet Visor Law?

The history of this law goes back to the late 1990s when California officials realized that there was a need for universal eye protection for riders on motorcycles. Later on, they decided to create an all-purpose law that would require all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear goggles, glasses, or face shields that provide 100 percent eye protection.


What Are the Benefits of Wearing Eye Protection?

Wearing eye protection, especially goggles, glasses, or face shields, helps keep dust and dirt out of your eyes. It drastically improves vision and helps you see more clearly when riding in dusty or windy conditions, especially on a motorcycle. Even for everyday driving on public streets, eye protection may help prevent injury caused by rocks, dirt, or other flying debris.


What Is a Face Shield?

A face shield is any clear face covering that provides 100 percent face coverage. Face shields include goggles, glasses, or any face shield attached to eyewear.


What Is a Motorcycle Helmet?

A motorcycle helmet is any protective cover specifically designed for use by a rider or passenger on a motorcycle.


What Is an Open Face?

An open face is used to describe helmets that do not feature a chin bar or face shield attached to eyewear. Open faces are usually transparent because they don't provide adequate eye protection.


What Is a Visor?

A visor is any clear covering designed to attach to eyewear. Goggles or glasses with attached visors are eye protection that meets the California face shield law.


How Can I Prove My Identity if I'm Stopped?

You can prove your identity, but the law does not require you to do so. But, you may find that people will be more understanding of your situation if you give them a valid form of I.D. such as a driver's license or non-driver I.D. card with your photo and signature on it.



California Motorcycle Helmet Visor Requirements

Under the California Motorcycle helmet law are as follows:

  1. Motorcycle helmets must be approved by the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Automotive Repairs.

  1. The Department of Transportation has designed a label that it has placed on all approved helmets. This label refers to the following: Manufacturer's name Model number Testing and approval agency S/M or L/XL DOT serial number and date of manufacture D.O.T. approval number.

  1. Helmets must be labeled in the following locations: Label that reads "D.O.T." and "FMVSS 218" must be placed outside on each side of the helmet. Labels that read "S/M" or "L/XL" must be placed near each cheek pad's edge. These labels must have raised characters and be reflective.

It's also important to note that any type of face shield made by Dana or Shoei helmets will comply with this law.


The Bottom Line

Due to its strict nature, there are limited ways to avoid a fine from the California motorcycle helmet visor law. If you have an eye disease or allergy that requires you to wear a corrective lens insert, you can wear a full-face helmet as long as it has been certified by the Department of Transportation and allows for full and unrestricted vision.


This certification is tough to obtain and is only reserved for very few helmet models primarily used by law enforcement, military, and special interest groups. Make sure to check with your local police department's policy before purchasing a full-face helmet and make a note of any restrictions that may apply before purchasing.