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Understanding motorcycle helmet laws in Georgia

In Georgia, the motorcycle helmet law has not changed since about 1969, but that is not true in all states. At one time, the federal government required states to enact helmet use laws to receive funding for highway construction. In the 1970s, this changed when Congress stopped the Department of Transportation from assessing penalties on the state.

Today, only three states have no laws relating to helmet use. Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire do not require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Another 28 states have partial helmet laws, typically requiring riders under a certain age to wear a helmet. Georgia is one of 19 states that makes it clear riders should always wear a helmet.

Section 40-6-315 of the Georgia statutes reads:

"(a) No 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..."

"(c) This Code section shall not apply to persons riding within an enclosed cab or motorized cart. This Code section shall not apply to a person operating a three-wheeled motorcycle used only for agricultural purposes."

In Georgia, you are required to wear a helmet when you are riding on or operating a motorcycle, unless the vehicle falls under the excluded section.

What does this mean for you?

Many motorcyclists believe that wearing a helmet is a personal choice, but according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmets are around 37 percent effective at preventing motorcycle deaths. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a brain injury in an accident. Still, riders go without a helmet all the time, putting their own safety at risk.

If you are in an accident, this law may come into question if you are trying to get compensation for an injury. There are many different scenarios which could come into play. For example, choosing to not wear a helmet and suffering a head or neck injury. Although a helmet might not have prevented injury, it could be argued that because you were in violation of the law, you should not be covered for your injuries.

Wear a helmet for safety

Motorcycle accidents are very complicated. This type of case is significantly different than a car accident case, even though the two might seem similar. Sometimes, there is a bias against motorcycle riders because of the dangerous nature of motorcycles . You do have a right to use the road. If you were injured in an accident, it is not necessarily due to your negligence. Make sure you have an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for your rights.

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