While we recognize the joys of riding a motorcycle, the limited protection these vehicles provide means cyclists must wear protective equipment. Specifically, motorcycle riders should wear a helmet locked in place around their chin. Not wearing a helmet at the time of an accident may affect a motorcycle rider’s chances of receiving fair compensation. Fortunately, our motorcycle accident attorneys are prepared to advocate on your behalf. Call Smith Hulsey Law to learn more about Clarkesville motorcycle helmet laws.
When a motorcyclist is involved in a traffic collision with an automobile, they are not barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit simply because they did not have a helmet on. However, the rider could be assigned a percentage of negligence when their decision not to wear appropriate headgear contributes to their injuries.
Courts may reduce the amount of compensation available to an injured motorcycle rider by this percentage of contributory negligence. A tenacious Clarkesville attorney could help with proving that even if a motorcycle rider was not wearing a helmet, another person’s negligence was the primary cause of their injuries.
Before powering up your motorcycle, make sure your helmet complies with Georgia Code § 40-6-315. This law is written by the Georgia state legislature regulating the use of motor vehicles throughout the state.
These laws establish that all individuals not traveling in an enclosed cart or an agricultural trike must wear protective headgear when riding a motorcycle. Protective headgear means a helmet meeting specifications the Georgia Department of Public Safety (GDPS) sets forth.
GDPS defers to the minimum helmet performance requirements in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Number 218 (49 CFR § 571.218), as enforced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A cyclist can wear a small, medium, or large helmet. Weight can range from 3.4-6.2 lbs. There is no explicit prohibition of plastic headgear, but the adjoining chin strap must have tight metal bolts that remain in place.
The helmet’s lining must be made with sturdy foam. The lighter the lining, the more likely an accident will result in intense injuries.
While novelty helmets are appealing because of their captivating designs, they often do not meet legal qualifications for motorcycle helmets in Clarkesville. Headgear cannot have spikes, horns, other attachments, or non-impact absorbing inner lining. The easiest way to know if a helmet complies when purchasing one from a reputable manufacturer is to look for a tag with an FMVSS 218 certification.
Helmet laws are strictly enforced in Clarkesville because of the thousands of motorcyclists who pass away from fatal injuries. Studies show that many riders killed in accidents may have lived had they worn a helmet or one in conformity with the above guidelines. Further, when headgear is not worn, a person is more at risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion, cerebral contusion, hemorrhages, fractures, stroke, and hematoma.
If a person is stopped by law enforcement for not wearing a helmet, they will likely receive a citation. This ticket could amount to $1,000 and potentially time in jail up to a year. The punishment varies depending on the circumstances. Altering a motorcycle helmet tag to make it appear as if it complies with FMVSS 218 is also a crime and may come with stiff penalties.
Wearing effective headgear can make the difference between life and death for motorcycle riders involved in accidents. It also ensures the courts will not be able to claim a motorcycle rider seeking compensation contributed to their own injuries. That being said, our attorneys are prepared to advocate on an injured motorcycle rider’s behalf, even if they were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
To learn more about Clarkesville motorcycle helmet laws or to discuss a potential claim with our legal team, call Smith Hulsey Law.
Smith Hulsey Law