Wisconsin Motorcycle Laws and Information
Motorcyclists Rights Organization (SMRO)
Motorcycle helmet law:
347.485 Protective headgear for use on Type 1 motorcycles.
(1) (a) No person who holds an instructional permit under s. 343.07 (4) or who is under 18 years of age may operate
or ride upon a Type 1 motorcycle on any highway unless the person
is wearing protective headgear of a type which meets the standards
established for motorcycle operation in 49 CFR 571.218
and the chin strap is properly fastened.
(am) No person may operate a Type 1 motorcycle when carrying
a passenger under 18 years of age unless the passenger is wearing
(b) No person may sell or offer for sale any protective headgear
for use by a driver or passenger on a Type 1 motorcycle, not meeting
the standards established for motorcycle operation in 49 CFR
(2) (a) No person may operate a motorcycle on any highway
without wearing any of the following eye protection:
1. A protective face shield attached to the headgear.
(b) Except for photosensitive corrective glasses prescribed by
an ophthalmologist, physician, oculist or optometrist, eye protection
worn during hours of darkness may not be tinted or darkened.
(c) Notwithstanding par. (a), if the motorcycle is a Type 2
motorcycle equipped with a windshield or a Type 1 motorcycle
equipped with a windshield that rises a minimum of 15 inches
above the handlebar, the use of other eye protective devices is not
(d) This subsection shall not apply to persons operating a
motorcycle in a parade sanctioned by the local municipality.
(3) No person may rent, lease or loan a Type 1 motorcycle to
another unless he or she has ascertained that such party has the
required eye protection and, if the party holds an instructional permit
under s. 343.07 (4) or is under 18 years of age, that the party
has the required protective headgear for operating the Type 1
(4) Every person in the Type 1 motorcycle rental business
shall have clean, usable protective headgear for rent in sufficient
quantity to care for the needs of all customers.
History: 1977 c. 29 s. 1654 (7) (e); 1977 c. 204, 447; 1983 a. 133, 243, 538; 1985
a. 65, 85.
Three−wheeled trucks and automobiles, golf carts, and other special purpose
vehicles such as street sweepers, industrial fork−lifts, and motorized wheelbarrows
are not motorcycles, and operators are not subject to this section. 58 Atty. Gen. 17.
Other motorcycle laws:
347.486 General requirements.
(1) No person may operate
a Type 1 motorcycle if the handlegrips of the handlebars rise
more than 30 inches above the lowest point of the top of the driver’s
seat when the seat is occupied.
(2) No person may operate a Type 1 motorcycle with an
improvised, defective or repaired handlebar.
(3) No person may operate a motorcycle without a functioning
History: 1979 c. 163; 1983 a. 243; 1985 a. 65.
Cross Reference: See also subch. III of ch. Trans 305, Wis. adm. code.
347.487 Seating requirements. Except as provided in s.
346.595 (3m), no more than 2 persons may ride on a Type 1 motorcycle
during operation, and then only if the vehicle is equipped
and designed with adequate seats and foot rests or pegs. Foot rests
or pegs shall be mounted in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications.
In the absence of manufacturer’s specifications, foot
rests or pegs for the passenger shall be located on the same horizontal
plane as those of the operator.
History: 1983 a. 243; 1985 a. 65.