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Monday, January 26, 2015

Motorcycle Helmet Laws in California

Barry Goldberg
  Do California motorcyclists have to wear helmets? The answer is a resounding yes.

California Motorcycle Helmet Law

In fact, California law (California Vehicle Code, Division 12, Chapter 5, Article 7, Section 27803) clearly states that:
“A driver and any passenger shall wear a safety helmet meeting requirements established pursuant to Section 27802 when riding on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle … It is unlawful to operate a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet … [and] It is unlawful to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, motor-driven cycles, or motorized bicycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety helmet as required.”
A rider’s helmet must meets U.S. Department of Transportation and state safety standards and must be fastened with the helmet straps and fit securely without excessive lateral or vertical movement.

Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives

While they may seem to be “uncool” or cumbersome, motorcycle helmets save lives. After passing a law requiring California motorcyclists to wear helmets over 20 years ago, the number of motorcyclist deaths in California decreased 37%. California ranks #15 in the nation for lives saved and economic costs saved due to helmet use.
While we often hear arguments against the use of helmets while riding motorcycles, the benefits are clear. According to the CDC:
  • Helmets reduce the risk of death by 37%.
  • Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.
  • Helmets do not reduce visibility or impair hearing.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, you know firsthand how easy it is for a motorcyclist to be injured. Without the steel frame of an automobile to protect you, it is easier to suffer serious injuries in an accident. Brain injuries and head trauma can be life-threatening and life changing injuries, it is important to protect yourself and practice safe riding.

Consequences of Riding Without a Helmet

You might think that riding without a helmet is your choice and any resulting injuries only affect you. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The CDC shares that unhelmeted riders injured in a crash have substantially higher healthcare costs than helmeted riders. This means that the financial costs associated with life-care can become overwhelming, and may not be covered by insurance.

Motorcyclists are at risk for being injured in accidents throughout the San Fernando Valley. As a rider, protect yourself and your finances by wearing a helmet.