You could say that helmet laws in the US are on the laxer side, especially when compared to those of our neighbors over in Europe. Indeed, as of 2024, helmet laws in the US still don’t encompass all states, with some states mandating helmets only for younger riders, and some states, particularly Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire not having any motorcycle helmet laws at all.

That being said, if we shift our gaze over to Europe – Spain, in particular – it seems that the government is tightening regulations when it comes to not just helmets, but gear in general. Spain's Ministry of the Interior (MIR), a government department responsible for public security, disclosed statistics that show a notable spike in motorcycle-related deaths in 2023. In total, 286 individuals unfortunately lost their lives in motorcycle-related accidents along Spain’s national roads. Out of the 286, eight of them involved riders who weren’t wearing helmets.

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As such, the Spanish government is currently advocating the mandatory use of either full-face or modular helmets in a bid to improve rider safety. This means that the use of open-face helmets such as three-quarter helmets or jet helmets in Spain are now on borrowed time. On top of that, it was also reported that the use of motorcycle-approved gloves will also be mandated in Spain. It’s worth noting, however, that as of this writing, there’s no specified timeline regarding the implementation of the new mandate.

Apart from the enforcement of regulations that require riders to wear full-face helmets and gloves, the Spanish government also has plans to introduce a mandatory motorcycle course for B license holders with at least three years of driving experience who wish to ride two-wheelers with engines no bigger than 125cc. For reference, in Spain, a B license is the standard car driver’s license with which drivers with more than three years of experience can operate a small displacement motorcycle or moped (no larger than 125cc) without applying for a full motorcycle license (A1, A2, and A).

Of course, in order to target the issue of motorcyclist safety, the Spanish government is also looking at a broader strategy of reassessing its existing traffic rules, and making changes to better favor the safety of vulnerable road users. Do you think Spain’s proposal of mandating full-face helmets and gloves is a good move, or do you think it’s excessively restrictive?

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