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A Look at Motorcycle Accidents and Helmet Laws

Whether you’re an avid motorcycle rider or a casual, occasional one, you should understand the importance of wearing a helmet. This piece of equipment might not prevent head injuries in every case, but it will increase the likelihood that you can walk away from a serious accident. Many U.S. states require the use of a helmet, while others are more lax on this regulation. It’s good to know where this is a law as you travel from place to place.

Required by All

In some states, both drivers and passengers, regardless of age, must have a helmet on while on a motorcycle. In all, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have universal helmet-wearing laws. These states are:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

Some Ages Required

In other places, the laws are more open to people not having to wear helmets. In Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Texas, state law mandates that any 20 years of age and younger must wear a helmet while operating or riding on a motorcycle. Other states lower the age, required fewer people to have helmets. In the following states, anyone 17 and younger must wear a helmet while on a motorcycle:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Utah 
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Delaware is unique in that it is the only state where the law decrees the age requirements are 18 and younger.

No Law

It may surprise you to know that there are some places where there are no motorcycle helmet laws. In Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire, you could drive or ride on a motorcycle without a helmet and not be in violation of any regulations.

Helmets and Motorcycle Accidents

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in a state where a helmet is required but failed to wear the equipment, you may have limitations when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit. If you suffered a head injury and didn’t wear a helmet, your settlement amount may be reduced (or be nothing) even if the accident wasn’t your fault. Your motorcycle accident lawyer, like from John K. Zaid & Associates, will evaluate your case to see whether you are entitled to any compensation.

Be aware of motorcycle helmet laws in your state. Regardless of the law, you should always take precautions when you’re on your bike.