When you ride, do you wear a helmet?
Helmet use is a controversial subject among motorcyclists: some agree that helmet use should be mandatory by law, while others assert that motorcyclists should be free to decide whether or not to wear a helmet.
The American Motorcyclists Association supports the use of helmets, agreeing that they help to reduce injuries and fatalities from motorcycle crashes. However, the organization does not support universal helmet laws, believing that “adults should have the right to decide to voluntarily decide when to wear a helmet.” Because helmets cannot prevent crashes, the AMA argues that it is more important to avoid a motorcycle crash in the first place—through rider education, improved licensing and testing, and increased public awareness.
The Centers for Disease Control, on the other hand, argues that universal helmet laws are key to increasing the number of riders that wear helmets. The CDC is in favor of universal helmet laws because they reduce injuries and deaths caused by motorcycle crashes and because they result in a cost savings for individuals and the public.
Whether you feel that helmet use is a personal decision or a vital safety measure, you should know the helmet laws in Alabama and around the U.S.
In the U.S., all but three states (Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire) have laws on the books regarding helmet use by motorcyclists. Partial helmet laws, or laws that require only require some motorcyclists (such as minors and passengers) to wear a helmet, are in place in 28 states. The remaining 19 states—including Alabama—require all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.
In Alabama, helmet use is required for all motorcyclists and all types of motorcycles, including low-power cycles.
Helmets must meet approved specifications under state law, including the following:
- Design: The helmet must be designed for motorcycle or passenger use.
- Exterior: The helmet must have a hard exterior shell made of “nonshatterable” material that is resistant to impact and penetration.
- Cradle: The helmet must have a shock-absorbent cradle separating the head and outer shell. The materials used to make the cradle must be durable.
- Padding: The helmet must have padding that is thick, impact-resistant, and absorbent in the areas where the head is close to or touches the outer shell.
- Chin strap: There must be a permanently attached chin strap to hold the helmet in place. Motorcycle riders are required to have the chin strap in place when the motorcycle is in motion.
- Visor: A visor is not required. However, if the helmet has a visor, it must be flexible or snap-on.
Failing to wear a helmet is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $100 fine and 180 days in jail.
At Martinson & Beason, P.C., we strongly recommend that you wear a helmet every time you ride: it will keep you road-legal and help protect you in a crash.
If you are involved in a motorcycle crash and are seriously injured, we’re here to help. The Huntsville, AL motorcycle accident lawyers at our firm have the experience needed to fight for the compensation you deserve.
We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge you a fee until and unless we make a recovery for you. Call us today to learn how we can help you get back on your feet after a crash.