Chad Brislawn
Chad Brislawn
A lifelong Muscatine resident, Chad Brislawn has a passion for motorcycles and writing. He writes No Baffles No Brakes, for Discover Muscatine newspaper.

Muscatine Living

Did you know that Iowa is the only state that has no motorcycle helmet laws whatsoever? That’s right. No helmet, no age requirements, no eye protection. Who cares? Ride how you want to ride!

That’s not entirely accurate. Illinois is also on the bandwagon for helmet freedom, but they do require that you wear eye protection, which I would recommend anyway. If you’re flying down the highway with nothing blocking the wind from those peepers, you’re going to show up with tears streaming down your face looking like you’ve been crying all day. But hey, this is Iowa! If that’s how you want to roll, go for it. It’s your party. You can cry if you want to.

Iowa hasn’t always been the rebellious biker state it is now. We repealed our mandatory helmet laws back in 1976. There was some legislation attempts resurfacing in 2013, but it must not have gotten much traction because, well, here we are. Nice try suckers. Not up in here.

So, what’s everyone else’s deal? Why just us? The rest of the United States is torn about 50/50 on helmet laws. Around half of them require that all riders, including passengers, wear a helmet. The other half have some sort of age requirement. Some states say that if you’re under 18 you have to wear one and some say 21, along with all kinds of other different stipulations. For instance, some states say you have to wear eye protection in addition to your helmet, whether that is sunglasses, safety glasses, goggles, bifocals, spectacles, I don’t know. Cover your eyes! That is, unless you have a windshield–then you don’t need any of those things. Some states only require that you have a helmet in your possession on the bike, similar to a life jacket on a boat.

As if all of those different instructions weren’t hard enough to follow, you also have to make sure that the helmet that you’re wearing is DOT approved. Some of the standards for a helmet to be DOT approved are that it must be specifically designed to reduce head injury. You don’t say? Also, it is required to have a lining, padding, and a chin strap. If the bike is in motion the chin strap must be secured.

It’s crazy and confusing. I guess I always took it for granted, riding in mostly Iowa and Illinois, that I have never really had to wear one. I usually ride with just the bandanna and shades myself. Although, I will say that whenever my kids ride, they are always wearing helmets.

So, do I agree with helmet laws? No, not really. I feel that every adult should have the freedom to decide for themselves. I do see the benefits of wearing them for sure, especially when it comes to kids. But as for me, myself, I think as long as we’re in rebellious Iowa, I’ll just stick with the bandana, give thanks to my lucky stars, and let the breeze flow.

Latest News

A lovely night: Symphony to perform Heart to Heart concert

MUSCATINE, Iowa--With love in the air and Valentine's Day just days away, the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra looks forward to...

More Articles Like This

Muscatine Today

MTS- Brandon is here to talk about Fat Cat

Today on the show Scott Schultz from Impact Fitness and Nutrition is here to talk about more healthy fitness tips. Then if you are looking to get your car cleaned up from the winter listen to today's show to learn about a business in town that can help you with that and more..... Thank you to our show sponsors: Harpers Cycling and Fitness, Beckey Insurance, Muscatine Power and Water, RIVO Plumbing and Heating, ImpactLife Blood Center, Lutheran Living, Toyota of Muscatine, Impact Fitness and Nutrition, Sun Tan City Muscatine, Real Estate Resource Associates, UnityPoint Health Trinity Muscatine and Hy-Vee Muscatine #muscatinetodayshow #goodmorningmuscatine #KindnessIsFree

DMSN Broadcasts

Manta Rays Swim

Join us as the Muskie Boys Basketball team hosts the North Scott Lancers! Watch Your Way: Discover Muscatine Facebook Discover Muscatine YouTube DiscoverMuskie Twitter Muscatine Power and Water Cable Channel 3 Brought to you by Muscatine Power and Water, Muscatine Lawn and Power, Hy-Vee, Bayer of Muscatine, First National Bank of Muscatine, Affordable Metal Manufacturing, Eastern Iowa Power Washers, Arty’s Ice Cream and Grill, Rivo Plumbing and Heating, Riots and Rebelle’s Salon, Bickford Senior Living, Let’s Eat, Muscatine Community Y and the Youth Sports Foundation. #DMSN #MuskieSports #Muscatine #MuskieSchools #basketball #prephoops #prepbasketball

Talk of the Town

Chasing the American Dream!

I've always been an idea guy. I love sitting around a table, brainstorming with a group, and talking things through. This includes people considering...

Muscatine Area News

A lovely night: Symphony to perform Heart to Heart concert

MUSCATINE, Iowa--With love in the air and Valentine's Day just days away, the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra looks forward to celebrating with their MasterWorks III:...