Do Motorcyclists Have to Wear Helmets in Georgia?
Motorcycling is an immensely popular hobby. According to the most recent estimates from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were over 225,000 motorcycles registered in Georgia in 2021. But despite their popularity, the risk of suffering a severe injury or dying in a motorcycle accident is much higher than in a motor vehicle accident. Part of the reason why is that motorcycles offer none of the advanced safety features of vehicles. The most important piece of safety equipment for motorcyclists by far is the humble helmet. Motorcyclists and anyone else injured in a motorcycle accident should consider speaking to a Tifton motorcycle accident lawyer, who may be able to help you recover.
Yes, Helmets Are Required for Motorcyclists in Georgia
The short answer is yes, motorcyclists must wear helmets in Georgia. Section 40-6-315 of the Georgia Code states “[n]o person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear which complies with standards established by the commissioner of public safety.” There are only two exceptions to this rule:
- Persons riding within an enclosed cab or motorized cart
- Persons operating three-wheeled motorcycles used only for agricultural purposes
The Georgia helmet law’s few exceptions and application to all riders regardless of age puts it on the stricter end of state helmet laws nationally.
Why You Should Wear a Helmet (Other Than It Being Legally Required)
Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is a no-brainer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets reduce the risk of head injury by a whopping 69%. The latest CDC estimates found that helmets saved the lives of 1,872 people in 2017. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets that year, an additional 749 lives could have been saved.
The Legal Consequences of Not Wearing a Helmet
Failure to wear a helmet in compliance with § 40-6-315 can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail. But the legal consequences extend well beyond that. Failure to wear a helmet is considered a form of negligence. Under Georgia’s comparative negligence scheme, a plaintiff who is partially at fault for their injuries will have their damages award reduced by the percentage of their negligence, so long as the plaintiff’s negligence was less than 50% of the total negligence. In other words, failure to wear a helmet will not necessarily bar recovery in a personal injury action (although it certainly can) but may reduce the amount of damages to which the plaintiff is entitled.
Speak to a Tifton Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Begin the Legal Recovery Process
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident — whether as a motorcyclist or a motor vehicle driver and regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident — your best bet for seeking legal recovery is with the assistance of an experienced attorney. For more information, please contact a Tifton motorcycle accident lawyer at the Hudson Injury Firm by calling 229-396-5848 or using our online form.