Is It Illegal To Ride A Motorcycle Without A Shirt?

Is it illegal to ride a motorcycle without a shirt? Of course, riding in the scorching summer heat will make you take your shirt off and feel more comfortable but can you legally do it? Well, in a short and brief answer, yes, you can do it.

Officially, you only need a helmet and a thong to ride your bike. In some areas, you might need to have some footwear on as well. But this is not mandatory, so you can ride barefoot as well.

There are certain situations where you end up shirtless due to some reason. For example, maybe the shirt is hindering your riding, and you need to take it off. Perhaps, you have just been in an accident, and your shirt got all torn up, and there is no point in wearing it. Or maybe you are a handsome hunk with six-pack abs and want to show it off around the neighborhood to impress others.

No matter what your reason is, you can ride shirtless, and it’s legal. We are going to shed some more light on this issue in the following text so keep reading.

Motorcycle Clothing Law – Is It Illegal to Ride a Motorcycle Without a Shirt?

Motorcycle Clothing Law

So, what is the motorcycle clothing law? Is it illegal to ride a motorcycle without a shirt? Currently, no state in the United States prohibits you from riding shirtless on the roads or streets. The only gear you need to have is a helmet and footwear and just underwear.

This is one of the most common ordinances that people seem to take an interest in regarding riding their motorcycles. So, why is it such a thing, and why do people keep thinking about it and bringing it up?

Most of the time, it is attributed to the state of Minnesota, but when you do some research on this matter, you will notice that the state has no such laws associated with motorbikes whatsoever.

In many cases, this law is also attributed to Thailand, where there seems to be a pretty hefty fine in place as well. But again, upon research, you will find that it’s more associated with rumors than reality.

So, if you are a muscular man or a woman with a beautiful physique and you want to show off your shape and curves, you can happily do so. But you need to keep in mind that you are entirely disregarding any protection of your torso by doing so.

So, if you think you want to do this, then start praying that you don’t get yourself involved in some crash. Because it’s going to be a pretty harsh case of road rash.

What About Students: Are They Allowed to Do So?

Students on motorcycle without shirt

You might be a student and thinking about riding it shirtless, so what are the laws in this scenario? Well, the laws are slightly different for the students. Some states like Minnesota, Florida, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, and others have a specific reason.

As a student, you need to have your pants on when you are riding your motorbike. And the same law also mandates that you need to have some protective gear on as well and things are not just limited to helmets.

Helmets are mandatory pieces of equipment no matter where you are riding in the states, so let’s keep that out of our discussion. The states mentioned above have laws that make it mandatory for you to wear your protective gear like shoes and gloves.

As a student, you shouldn’t wear shorts when you are on your motorcycle. However, the same law also states that you should have a jacket or a mere long-sleeve shirt while riding.

Perhaps this is the point that gives birth to the folklore that riding shirtless is illegal in Minnesota or some other states. However, all students who are part of a motorcycle endorsement program have to wear pants, and that’s it.

Obviously, as a young lad, you might be thrilled to show off some motorbike skills around, and doing it shirtless or even pantless will add spice to the whole situation.

If you don’t have enough control on your bike or the bike itself is heavier than you can handle, you might end up in a crash. Without any additional protective layer that road rash will hurt. So, it’s gross to try something out like this.

Reasons Not to Ride Motorcycle without a Shirt

So, looking for some reasons for sure not to ride shirtless? Well, these reasons might not be compelling for you if you have already made up your mind to ride shirtless. So, you might even skip this portion of the guide as well.

But take a deep breath and stay with us and give this little section a read as well. After all, it’s not going to take more than a couple of minutes to go through. Go through the headings if you want to, but the point is just giving it a bit of thought.

●     Risk of windburn and sunburn

windburn and sunburn

There is a certain risk associated with windburn and sunburn as well. No matter how tough you think your skin is, you are prone to these sunburns and windburns. And when the sun is turning it on, your back and neck are exposed at all times, and when you are done riding, you will feel that painful ache that we all know is pretty disturbing.

●     Risk of dehydration

In summers, there is always a chance that those heat waves will take the moisture out of your skin and make it all dried up. So, unless you take buckets of drinking water with you and, of course, a sunblock, you are risking yourself to deal with sun stroke or dehydration, and you know that is not a good condition to be in.

●     Developing any skin conditions and allergies

Some people are just plain allergic to dust and have susceptible skins. You might have other skin conditions as well. In such a scenario riding shirtless won’t be a good idea because now and then, you will have to deal with skin irritations and might have to go for different skin treatments.

Plus, your skin is obvious to various other elements. Have you ever noticed getting oil or grime on your shirt or jacket? Bird poop and other similar organic matters are there as well. 

●     Road rash

Road Rash

Have you ever thought about what might happen if you get involved in an accident? Even if you are going at a slow pace, the chances of road rash are pretty high. What will happen when you have gotten involved in one and have sustained a road rash on your upper body section. You won’t be able to wear any shirt for the next couple of weeks.

And what if you’re not wearing any pants and your legs have sustained a road rash. In which case you will have to run around your house without your pants for the next couple of weeks. Even if you have some muscles or curves, that is not the condition you want to be in, that’s for sure.

●     Have you ever been stung by a bee?

Imagine what will happen if you have been stung by a bee or any other insect for that matter. Imagine if you ran into a worker bee and the pace you are travelling with no shirt on. Worker bees tend to make their unhappiness known immediately, and it will plant a barb right into your bare skin. So, agony abounds!


What are the clothing requirements for a biker in the law?

No law says you have to wear a shirt or pants while riding a motorcycle. So, the answer to your question, “is it illegal to ride a motorcycle without a shirt” is no, it’s not illegal. But you can do the math and think about your road safety before doing that.

What type of apparel is mandatory in the law for motorcycle riders?

The law only mandates helmets, thongs, and some footwear for the riders. In some states, wearing protective gear or apparel like gloves and shoes is also mandatory. But no law states that you cannot ride shirtless. But that doesn’t mean you should do so.

Is there a specific type of bike for which protective gear is mandatory?

Generally, bikes that are faster and speedier and come with more significant engines are the ones for which you should wear protective gear. And this is for your safety. Going even at a snail’s pace can cause you road rash if you are involved in some accident. For example, imagine what will happen to you if you are going at 80 miles an hour. Road rash would be a pretty understatement in such a scenario.


So, don’t you think you need to fine-tune your question just a little bit? It’s not about “is it illegal to ride a motorcycle without a shirt”; it’s about “should you do it or not”. To which we would answer a definite no.

Because you are putting yourself at too much risk and an unnecessary one as well. You expose your bare skin to many elements and factors that won’t be there if you have your shirt on.

You won’t have to deal with any allergies or skin conditions, and the case of road rash gets slightly under control if you have your shirt on. But, of course, having more protective gear would put you in a safer condition. And somehow, it won’t be a case of public indecency as well.

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