The Importance Of Wearing A Helmet
If you own and ride a motorcycle in California, you must know the state laws that apply to motorcycle riders and obey them. One such law is the California helmet law, which seems to be confusing to many motorcyclists and car drivers alike.
Regardless of whether the motorcycle helmet was used at the time of your motorcycle crash, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney from The Hayes Law Firm to protect your rights.
According to the Insurance Institute Information, nationwide motorcycle helmet use has dropped from 71% in 2000 to 65% in 2017, though the CDC estimates that helmets reduce the risk of death by 37%.
Wearing a motorcycle helmet also reduces the risk of brain injury by almost 70%, according to the CDC. Still, a large percentage of motorcyclists in California choose to operate their bike without a helmet for various reasons – many do not wear a helmet because it is a “cool” thing to do, while others believe that helmets reduce visibility and impair hearing.
Does California Require Motorcycle Helmet Use?
While many states have repealed the mandatory helmet use law, California is not one of those states. Our state requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets for their own safety.
Under California law, a person operating a motorcycle and any passenger must wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards. The helmet use law applies to motorcycles, motorized bicycles and motor-driver cycles.
Not wearing a helmet while a motorcycle is in motion is prohibited by California law. The same rule applies to bikers riding on both rural and urban roads throughout the state.
California law has a plethora of requirements for the type of helmet that must be used by a motorcyclist. One such requirement is that the helmet must comply with federal laws and fit the biker’s head securely.
As a rule of thumb, a helmet that is compliant with federal safety standards must have the Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker on it. While the current helmet law in California makes it mandatory for motorcyclists of all ages to wear a helmet, opponents of the law are pushing for change.
In recent years, lawmakers in California began discussing an amendment to the existing motorcycle helmet use law in the state. One such change could be to allow motorcyclists over the age of 21 who completed a safety training program to operate a bike without a helmet.
Penalties For Not Wearing A Helmet In California
Failure to wear a helmet in California does not only put your health at risk but also exposes you to potential penalties and fines.
Under the existing helmet use law, a police officer in California has the right to stop a motorcyclist operating a bike without a helmet and can either charge him or her with an equipment violation or opt for a greater penalty.
An equipment violation will result in a fine that requires proof of correction. However, if a police officer chooses to follow the California Highway Patrol’s guidelines, which identify a violation of the mandatory helmet law as an “immediate safety hazard,” the motorcyclist could face up to $250 in fines and one year of probation.