Different states have different requirements of motorcyclists. Many states require you to wear a DOT-certified helmet while riding a motorcycle, including New York. Some states have rules that say only riders aged 17 and under must wear a helmet, while others require no helmet at all, such as Illinois. For the most current helmet information regarding any state in which you'll be riding, check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's page on the subject.

Helmets aren't the only thing you need to be concerned about. Even states that don't require helmets might have other requirements instead. For example, Illinois requires you to wear some type of eye protection if you choose to wear no helmet (this means that sunglasses are legally acceptable). States may also have different rules about whether mirrors are required on your bike. You can't go wrong if your low beam, high beam, and turn signals are all working, and if you have both a right and a left mirror on your bike. (Note: Some states only require you to have one mirror.)