Georgia Motorcycle Helmet Law
Even though motorcycles only make up about 3% of registered vehicles in Georgia, the fatality rate is 27 times that of passenger car occupants. Indeed, motorcycles provide transportation and recreation to thousands of residents in Georgia. The catastrophic injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident can nonetheless be severe.
The reason for this is pretty apparent. Motorcycles do not provide as much protection as automobiles in auto accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle accidents lead to more than 5,000 fatalities and thousands of additional injuries every year. When an accident involving a motorcycle occurs, the most severe injury the motorcyclist may sustain usually involves the head.
This is why many states, including Georgia, have enacted some form of law that mandates the use of helmets. From our desk at The Ferguson Law Group, here’s all you need to know about Georgia’s motorcycle helmet law.
You can also get in touch with us if you or your loved one gets involved in a motorcycle crash in Georgia. Our versatile and skilled motorcycle accident attorneys know exactly what to do to make sure your rights are protected.
The so-called ‘Helmet Law’ in Georgia
Georgia passed the helmet law as far back as 1969. The law requires all motorcycle operators and passengers to use a motorcycle helmet on the road. According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated Section 40-6-315:
“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….”
Some states only require riders under a certain age to wear helmets. This is not so in Georgia. Every person, rider or passenger, must wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.
Exceptions to the helmet law
As they say, every general rule has an exception. The exceptions to the use of helmets in Georgia are not so much, though. The requirement of helmets does not apply to riders in an enclosed cab or a motorized cart. The mandatory law doesn’t also include the operators and riders of three-wheeled motorcycles (tricycles) used only for agricultural purposes. Aside from these, the law practice covers every other person riding a motorcycle in Georgia.
Helmet and headgear requirements
Of course, not all kinds of helmets are allowed. The helmets must conform to specific standards specified by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). These standards are as contained in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety (FMVS) Standard No. 218. Criteria for impact attenuation (basically energy absorption), penetration resistance, and system effectiveness were set by the standard.
Some of the Helmet Safety Standards include that the helmet:
- Have an inner liner of one-inch thick, firm polystyrene foam.
- Should have a sturdy chin strap secured with solid rivets.
- Weigh around three pounds.
- Should not have anything protruding more than two-tenths of an inch from the surface of the helmet.
- Additionally, there are rules on the placement of labeling indicating DOT compliance. Notably, the manufacturer’s label must indicate the model, size, manufacture date, and what the helmet is made of.
- You should also note that as a motorcycle operator, you’re required only to wear DOT-approved eyewear Helmet visors and goggles are some of the eyewear regulated by the DOT. Remarkably, even though helmets with internal speakers are permissible, you can only use them for communications purposes.
Punishment for violating the helmet law
The danger of riding a motorcycle and not wearing a helmet cannot be overstated. Not only can you cause yourself severe injuries, you can also seriously injure or kill your passenger, a passerby, or any other person involved in the accident.
The state of Georgia takes the life of its residents very seriously and frowns upon road infractions. In Georgia, violating the state’s helmet law is considered a misdemeanor. Even though each case will be determined on its merit, such a misdemeanor will generally earn a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up-to one year in jail, plus community service.
Who is liable for motorcycle accidents?
Every road user has a duty and responsibility to other road users. When a motorcycle accident happens, the fault is not usually always that of the motorcyclist. In many other instances, the accident may have occurred due to the actions of other careless or negligent automobile drivers.
This highlights the importance of ‘safety first’ and the use of helmets for a motorcyclist. When an accident occurs, it is the motorcyclist with minimal protection that often sustains the most injury.
If you’re a motorcyclist and you get involved in an accident, there are chances that it wasn’t your fault or that it wasn’t altogether your fault. There are other persons or road users too that may have been negligent or that may have contributed to the accident.
As such, you may be entitled to some compensation to cover accident-related medical costs, lost earnings, and other related losses.
How Can You Prove That a Motorist Was Negligent?
In order to get compensated for your injuries in a motorcycle accident, you first have to establish that another person was wholly or partly responsible for the accident. According to Georgia Code § 51-1-2, negligence is defined as the absence of ordinary diligence. Diligence here can be termed to mean the “degree of care which is exercised by ordinarily prudent persons under the same or similar circumstances.”
Some common examples of negligence include:
- Failing to yield the right of way,
- Driving while distracted or while under the influence,
- Running a red light, and so on.
- To prove negligence, you must establish four (4) things, that:
- The other party owed you a duty of care.
- The duty of care was breached.
- The breach of the duty of care led to your injuries.
- You suffered damages as a result of the accident.
How can a motorcycle accident attorney help?
If you or a loved one gets involved in a motorcycle accident, don’t easily conclude that you’re the cause of the accident. Assuming liability may cause you a whole lot of trouble. Let professionals examine the accident scene and make a conclusion.
One of the first things to do after making sure that you’re in good condition is to contact a lawyer as soon as you can. Of course, not just any lawyer. A Georgia motorcycle accident attorney who has the required experience and expertise is the one suitable for you.
Your skilled lawyer will make sure that your rights are protected and that you get all the compensation that you deserve. The attorney will first help you gather and review all relevant evidence. Importantly also, a skilled attorney will be able to negotiate the best settlement for you
Is there a statute of limitation for motorcycle accidents?
After getting involved in a motorcycle accident, the best time to consult a personal injury lawyer is as soon as you’re safe. Accidents like that can lead to not being able to work and accumulated injury bills and expenses.
In Georgia, the statute of limitation for filing a personal injury claim is two years. An exception and extension of the deadline may however be granted in cases where the injury sustained was latent or only discovered years later.
Nonetheless, as you well know, the longer you delay your claim, the harder it becomes to prove your claim.
The Ferguson Law Group is here to help
With several years of experience and skill in personal injury practice and especially motorcycle accident cases, our attorneys will take on your case and pour in all the resources they have into it.
Your case will get the critical attention it deserves, and you’ll get compensated to the full extent you deserve.
Schedule a FREE consultation here or call us right now at 800-611-6604.