Motorcycle Safety & Driveability/Helmet in HI


Mr. Wright,

I'll be brief I am certain you are busy.  I am moving to HI and want to know if you could clarify this?

Division 1. Government. Title 17. Motor and Other Vehicles. Chapter 286. Highway Safety. Part IV. Safety Equipment. Section 286-81. motorcycle, motor scooter, etc.; protective devices. :
"No person shall:
"(1) Operate a motorcycle or motor scooter, on any highway in the State unless the person and any passenger the person carries on the motorcycle or motor scooter wears (A) safety glasses, goggles, or a face shield, in the case of a motorcycle or motor scooter that is not equipped with windscreens or windshields; and (B) any other protective devices, other than a safety helmet, required by rules and regulations adopted by the state director of transportation. . . .

"(3) . . . No person less than eighteen years of age shall operate or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle or motor scooter on any highway in the State unless the person wears a safety helmet securely fastened with a chin strap."

If I understood it helmets are optional but eye wear is not?  So as long as I wear sunglasses or any eye wear I am upholding the law for lack of a better term?

Thank you for your time,
I appreciate it,



I've looked around the internet at various government and motorcycle related websites to try to find the definitive answer to this.
As I read it, helmets are optional for riders over 18 years of age. And unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windshield protective eye wear is required. The terms for eye protection includes the phrase safety glasses and in other places I've seen the words "approved type goggles or safety glasses".

I want to caution you that sunglasses may not be legally acceptable to meet that criteria. I many states who have eye protection regulations the law will allow the DMV Director or similar authority to establish standards. Several states use the ANSI American National Standards Institute or VESC standard. Some motorcycle specific goggles will have the V-8 (VESC-8) or ANSI designation on the packaging or somewhere on the goggles.

I hope that answers your questions. Perhaps the Hawaii DMV can provide more definitive answers. I do want to highly recommend that you wear the best possible riding protection you can.

Ride Safe,
Tom Wright  

Motorcycle Safety & Driveability

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Tom Wright


Motorcycle Safety, Motorcycle Rider Training, Motorcycle Driver Licensing and Inspections, Motorcycle Touring


Retired in 2008 from the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission where I held various positions, most notably as Director of Inspections and Licensing and the State Administrator for the Motorcycle Safety Education Program. During that time I served with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA)as Region 1 Chair and Vice-Chair of the Engineering and Vehicle Inspection committee and member of the Task Force on Altered Height Vehicles and various other committees for 20 plus years. Currently, President of Central Jersey Rider Training, Inc. an MSF and NJMVC approved training provider. I starting riding at an early age and have been riding motorcycles for over 40 years.

State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA) Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) Citizens Academy Alumni Association

Motorcycle Consumer News - March and April, 2009 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Technical Paper on The Effect of Tire Rolling Radius on Pedal Force Gain and Rollover Propensity of a Light-Duty Truck

Currently hold a MSF RiderCoach certification. Certified Public Manager certification from Rutgers University.

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