Do I Have to Wear a Helmet in South Carolina? What Kind?

motorcycle rider with helmet

I can ride almost any time, but Spring and Fall are definitely my favorite times of the year; not too hot, not too cold. People are often surprised when they learn I am an avid motorcyclist since a majority of my practice involves representing people injured as a result of car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and truck accidents. I have always loved it, and honestly, riding makes me a better motorcycle wreck lawyer and vice versa. Chances are, you won’t recognize me on the road because I always wear a helmet. South Carolina law, because of my age, does not require me to wear a helmet, but I have seen helmets save lives.

Many people think they don’t have to wear a helmet in South Carolina. That is not, however, a blanket rule. South Carolina code section 56-5-3660 makes it unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one to operate or ride a motorcycle without a helmet of a type approved by the Department of Public Safety. The statute actually requires that the helmet be reflectorized on both sides. Of course, if you cross into North Carolina from South Carolina on a ride, as many of us do, you don’t have a choice regardless of age, as all passengers and operators must wear a helmet in North Carolina. The helmet needs to be DOT approved, which will be signified by an emblem on the back of the helmet.

There are more stringent helmet standards established by SNELL. The SNELL Foundation is named for William “Pete” Snell who was a race car driver that died in a crash when the helmet he was wearing failed. You can learn about the foundation on its website, but its essential mission is promoting helmet safety through education, research, development and testing. You may find useful information for choosing the right helmet at and I always encourage people new to motorcycling, including passengers, to do some research and be sure to buy a helmet that fits right. If it doesn’t, it won’t be as effective at preventing injury.

Unfortunately, even the most careful rider can end up injured as the result of a motorcycle accident. Protect yourself as much as you can with the right equipment and the right insurance. If you or a family member are injured in a motorcycle wreck, call me, I know what to do. Ride safe. To learn more about Wes Kissinger click here.

A person standing next to a motorcycle

Managing Partner Wes Kissinger with his KTM motorcycle