Motorcycle Helmet Law in New York State
New York was the first state in the nation to require all motorcyclists to wear helmets, a law which went into effect on January 1, 1967, and remains in effect today.
Let’s talk about what the law requires for New York motorcyclists.
The Motorcycle Helmet Law, found in New York’s Vehicle & Traffic Law, section 381, requires all persons riding a motorcycle in the state to wear a helmet that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation under their specific guidelines. 
Helmets that have received this approval have a prominent sticker on the outside rear of the helmet.
Furthermore, the law also states that anyone who operates/drives a motorcycle must wear either goggles or a face shield of a type that has been approved by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
The law makes it illegal to sell, offer for sale, or distribute helmets, face shields and goggles which do not meet the federal and state standards set forth in the law.
Any violation of New York’s helmet law is punishable by a $100 dollar fine, up to thirty (30) days in jail, or both.
While any helmet sold in the United States must be DOT approved, there are still online and brick-and-mortar stores that sell “novelty helmets” that are not approved, and fake DOT stickers can also be purchased to put on these helmets. Motorcyclists therefore must be careful in selecting and purchasing helmets.
Click here for an NHTSA guide to buying the right helmet.
 The only exception to the requirement to wear a helmet is when the police authorities of a city, town or village allow members of an organization which sponsors or organizes an event such as a parade or exhibition to ride without a helmet during that event. This is an extremely narrow exception that does not come up very often for most New York riders.