Do I Have to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in New Mexico?

Motorcyclists are more likely to get injured on the road than other motorists, with head injuries being the most common injury type. Head injuries could have several life-altering effects. An individual who has injured his head in a motorcycle accident could become disabled permanently, requiring medical care for life. This is the reason why various states in America, including New Mexico, require their motorcyclists to wear a helmet.

The answer to the question “Do I have to wear a motorcycle helmet in New Mexico?” is a resounding “Yes.” However, there are certain rules and exceptions to the law.

In New Mexico, any individual who is less than 18 years of age and riding a motorcycle must wear a helmet. Reflectorization is also necessary. Not wearing a helmet would lead to a fine. This law applies to almost all kinds of motorcycles. If the motorbike you ride comes with a 50cc engine or higher displacement and can reach speeds higher than 30 mph, you cannot legally ride the bike without a helmet.

Even though the law doesn’t mandate older motorcyclists to wear the helmet, wearing a helmet is recommended for all. A helmet can significantly decrease head injury risks for motorcycle riders. For maximum protection, make sure you’re wearing a helmet that meets U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) standards.

Besides safety and the need to adhere to the law, there are a few other reasons to wear a helmet when you’re riding a motorcycle. For instance, if you are riding a motorcycle and get into an accident with a reckless or negligent car driver, you could file a personal injury case against the driver. But if you were not wearing your helmet when the crash happened, you may not get the complete compensation you deserve. An accident involving a motorcycle could contain several legal nuances. Not wearing a helmet could constitute contributory negligence, complicating matters further.

Other Motorcycle Laws in New Mexico

Eye Protection

Any individual riding a motorcycle should have a type of fixed windshield. The eye protection could be a face guard that attaches to your safety helmet, safety glasses, or goggles.


New Mexico law requires all motorbikes to be fitted with one headlamp at least; the maximum number allowed is two. And the headlamps should be 20 to 54 inches tall.

Passenger Seat

A dedicated seat for the pillion is required if there is a passenger on board. In other words, the motorcycle shouldn’t carry a pillion rider if it isn’t designed to haul one. The bike must also have a dedicated passenger footrest.

Radar Detector

Some states do not allow radar detector usage in all vehicles. A few other states restrict these detectors in only commercial vehicles. New Mexico lets you use a radar detector in your motorcycle and other vehicles.

Turn Signals

Unlike some other states, New Mexico isn’t content with your hand signals. The state wants your bike to be fixed with blinkers.

Your bike’s sound level, muffler, insurance, handlebar height, etc., are other motorcycle-specific New Mexico laws that you should be wary about. To learn more, contact an Albuquerque motorcycle accident lawyer.


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