What States Require a Helmet When Riding a Motorcycle?
By Space Coast Daily // June 4, 2020
If you’re a biker, don’t get on the road without considering motorcycle safety. Deaths of motorcycle riders and passengers in crashes doubled between 1997 and 2017.
In order to prevent or reduce the number of fatalities, many states have passed helmet laws that require motorcycle riders to wear helmets at all times.
Motorcycles pose an extra set of dangers to their riders that other vehicles don’t. While in your car you’re protected by the vehicle’s frame, the windshield, and the airbags, none of those are the case with a motorcycle. If you get hit, there’s next to nothing between you and the car that hits you except perhaps a leather motorcycle jacket, and that’s simply not enough.
This is why state governments have an interest in imposing laws to try to improve safety on the road for motorcycles. If you’re not interested in wearing a helmet for your own safety, you may still need to do it to comply with the law, depending on your state.
States With Strict Motorcycle Laws
Helmet laws in Georgia make it absolutely mandatory to wear a helmet while riding on a motorcycle, whether or not you’re the one driving. And not just any helmet will do.
Your helmet has to comply with certain federal standards. If you ride in this state, make sure any helmet you buy has a sticker that shows it’s been approved by the Department of Transportation.
Georgia is one of the stricter states as far as motorcycle safety is concerned, as the requirements don’t end with just a helmet. You also have to have either a windshield, some other kind of approved device to protect your eyes, or an enclosed cab. This protects your vision while you’re on the road.
Laws From State to State
Each state has specific laws for motorcyclists that need to be followed whether you’re a resident or just riding through. Not every state requires motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire do not have helmet laws.
These are the 19 states, including Georgia, that require a motorcycle helmet no matter what:
• New Jersey
• New York
• North Carolina
• West Virginia
In other states in the United States, motorcycle helmet laws vary wildly. They might require only that individuals under a certain age wear helmets, or there might not be any legal requirement at all.
Whether or not the law requires you to wear a helmet, it’s still the best way to reduce your chance of suffering a serious injury in an accident. Riding motorcycle is more dangerous than you think, and even the best drivers can still be taking a big risk when they go out on the road.
Many serious accidents are not caused by a mistake on the part of the motorcycle driver but by other drivers on the road. Other drivers might fail to see you when turning, changing lanes, or making other maneuvers, and all it takes is one little oversight for them to unexpectedly run into you. Their vehicle might not be damaged, but you’ll be in trouble.
Defensive driving is key to your safety. You have to be prepared for other drivers to make mistakes so that you can proactively secure your own safety.
After all, you’re the only one that can make your safety a priority. Wear a helmet so that, if and when an accident happens, you’ll be able to get back up on the bike again afterward.
If you’re angry about the helmet laws, remember, there was once a time when people were outraged about seat belt laws, something we hardly give a second thought to today.
Your helmet may help you to be able to ride for as long as you want to instead of having to give up riding because you sustained a traumatic brain injury. That alone is worth the inconvenience.
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