Motorcycle Helmets

Michigan Administrative Code

R 28.951, effective July 27, 2000, promulgated pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act of 1969, as required by MCL 257.658(4):

R 28.951 Approved Equipment

Rule 1. Motorcycle helmets shall meet the model specifications established by the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration. These specifications, located at and identified as "Motorcycle Helmets", 49 C.F.R. § 571.218, published April 15, 1988 in the Federal Register (53 FR 12529), effective October 3, 1988, are adopted in these rules by reference. Printed copies of 49 C.F.R. § 571.218 are available for inspection and for distribution to the public at cost at the offices of the Michigan Department of State Police, Field Operations Division, Traffic Services Section, 714 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing, Michigan 48823. Printed copies of Chapter 49, Transportation, Pts. 400-999, containing 49 C.F.R. § 571.218, are also available from the United States Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, Pa 15250-7954, at a cost of $57.00 at the time of the adoption of this rule.

A complete copy of Motorcycle Protective Headgear, Rule R28.951, can also be viewed at the Office of Regulatory Reform Administrative Rule website.

Recognizing Approved Helmets

Per the Michigan Administrative Code Rule R28.951, only motorcycle helmets meeting all of the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218 are legal for use in Michigan. The following guidelines are useful in recognizing approved helmets:


  • Manufacturer's name or identification.
  • Precise model designation.
  • Size.
  • Month and year of manufacture (i.e., June 1988 or 6/88).
  • The symbol DOT, constituting the manufacturer's certification that the helmet conforms to the applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. The symbol shall appear on the posterior outer surface, in a color that contrasts with the background, in letters at least 3/8 inch high, and between 1 1/8 inches and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom edge of the helmet.
    • It is important to note that an approved helmet may no longer bear the DOT sticker if it has been removed, or covered by a custom paintjob. Also, contraband DOT stickers can be obtained for the purpose of applying them to unapproved helmets. The application of a DOT sticker to an unapproved helmet does NOT make it a legal helmet in Michigan.
  • Instructions to the purchaser regarding construction and other safety-related information.

Other Guidelines:

  • As a general rule, the thickness of the polyfoam inner liner should be at least 1 inch thick. This is the easiest way to detect helmets not meeting federal standards, as most novelty helmets are nothing more than a shell with a very thin liner or pad for comfort.
  • Chin straps must be sturdy, thick, and well-riveted.
  • Protrusions outside of the helmet shall be limited to those required for operation of essential accessories and shall not protrude more than 2/10 inch.