California Motorcycle Helmet Law

In 1992, the California legislature enacted a law that required all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. As of 2006, only three states (Colorado, Iowa and Illinois) do not require motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. Check to see California’s bicycle helmet laws as they differ in requirements.

Wearing a helmet may make a difference when filing a claim for recovery for injuries as a result of your motorcycle accident in California. For example, if you were wearing a helmet, but your injury was not in the head or neck area, the helmet may be insignificant. Since you still would have been injured regardless of the helmet, generally this will make no difference in your claim. On the other hand, if you were wearing a helmet and you suffered an injured to the head or neck area, the fact that you were wearing a helmet may make a difference in your claim (see comparative negligence). Since California requires all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, if you suffered a head, neck or brain injury as a result of a motorcycle accident and you were not wearing a helmet, it will be very difficult to recover since this may establish comparative negligence.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2004, 4,008 motorcyclist were killed in traffic accidents with 46% of the fatalities being the age of 40 or older. The NHTSA also reports that motorcycle deaths have increased by 89% from 1997 – 2004.

Each year, the month of May has been designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Each state uses this month to promote safe motorcycle riding. Wearing the proper protective gear including helmets, padding, footwear, eye protection and gloves can help prevent injury and possible fatalities.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek immediate medical attention and speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney about your legal rights.


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