Motorcycle Helmet Laws in California

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Scenic routes and sunny weather make Riverside and surrounding areas in southern California ideal for motorcycle riders seeking adventure and camaraderie. As always, it’s important to be safe and follow the California helmet laws when riding your motorcycle.

In an accident, helmets provide essential physical protection for the head and brain, reducing the risk of serious injury or death. If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle crash, contact The JLF Firm to consult an experienced Riverside motorcycle accident lawyer to provide insight and support.

Does California Have a Helmet Law for Motorcycles?

In California, motorcyclists and their passengers must wear helmets that meet the safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation. California’s motorcycle helmet law applies uniformly across the state to adults and minors. This law aims to decrease the risk of severe injury or death for people who ride motorcycles.

Failure to comply with these requirements can result in fines and penalties for the rider. Not wearing a helmet can also impact the outcome of personal injury claims in the event of an accident.

What Is the History of California’s Helmet Law?

In the 1960s, the federal government initiated a push for greater road safety, which led to many states implementing motorcycle helmet laws. By 1975, helmet laws were widespread across most of the country, but California took longer to enact these regulations.

California did not fully implement a universal motorcycle helmet law until 1992. This law aimed to reduce the number of motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities by requiring all riders and passengers to wear helmets.

Over the years, state authorities have also strengthened enforcement of the helmet law with California law enforcement agencies actively monitoring for compliance and penalizing offenders with fines.

What Happens If I Don’t Wear a Helmet in California?

Under the motorcycle helmet law in California, every rider and passenger must wear a helmet that meets strict safety standards. The typical fine for riding a motorcycle without a helmet is $250. If law enforcement charges you with additional offenses, such as speeding, the penalties can become more severe.

More importantly, you can experience severe injuries if you are in a motorcycle accident without a helmet. Head injuries can cause long-term physical, cognitive, and psychological issues. Helmets help reduce the risk of fatalities and traumatic brain injuries.

The absence of a helmet might also be a form of contributory negligence. If you sustained injuries in a crash while not wearing a helmet, this can impact compensation in a personal injury claim. Our legal team is knowledgeable about motorcycle accidents and the California helmet law and can help you address the complexities of an injury case like this.

What Specifications Does the California Motorcycle Helmet Law Include?

California requires motorcycle riders and passengers to wear helmets that meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards. Helmets must include an inner liner that is at least one inch thick and made from polystyrene foam, which helps absorb impact during a crash. The helmets need to weigh at least three pounds and cannot have extensions longer than 0.2 inches from the shell.

An approved helmet also must include a chin strap that the rider can fasten while operating the motorcycle. The chin strap is necessary to prevent the helmet from coming off in an accident.

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident in California?

After a motorcycle accident in California, taking immediate steps to ensure your safety and secure your rights is important. First, assess whether you or anyone else at the scene has sustained injuries. If there are injuries, promptly call for medical help. While you should not leave the scene of the accident, moving away from oncoming traffic can help you remain safe.

Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, and insurance policy details. It’s also helpful to obtain contact information from any witnesses and take photos of the area.

Finally, if the accident caused significant property damage or injuries, report it to the police. You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible and consider discussing your case with an attorney.

Contact a Riverside Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

If you were in a crash on your motorcycle in southern California, our motorcycle accident lawyers from The JLF Firm in Riverside can address questions about helmets and other legal issues. A skilled attorney from our team can review your options and guide you through important legal matters after a collision. Contact us today!

FAQs About Motorcycle Helmet Law in California

Are there any exceptions to the helmet law in California?

No, there are no exceptions to the helmet law in California. It always applies to motorcycle riders and passengers, regardless of age or experience level.

If I modify my helmet, is it still legal in California?

You can place small decorations on your helmet. However, modifications that affect the helmet’s structural integrity may render it non-compliant with DOT standards and the California helmet law.

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