Helmets are increasingly being required of motorcyclists in many states. There are many specifications about the particulars that are necessary for helmets when worn on America’s roads. It is best to check the laws of the state of your license for further guidance. There are several laws to consider for helmets:
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 218
This regulation sets the standards for helmets in the United States that are used for motorcyclists and any other motor vehicle. These standards dictate the design, manufacture, and crash safety specifications for any helmet meant to be used for motorcyclists. If a person is alleging that a helmet was defectively designed, an attorney may need to brush up on these regulations to see if these regulations were strictly followed.
The Snell Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that researches safety standards for helmets. They are the leading organization for helmet safety standards in the United States and independently test helmets for all types of activities. In addition to testing, the Snell Foundation also has their own safety standards for helmets that surpass the federal standards. Helmets that pass their standards are included on their website.
In Illinois, there is currently no law that requires a helmet to be worn on the roadways. Illinois is in an extreme minority, with only two other states lacking helmet laws. The law does require that riders have some sort of eye protection, whether that means goggles, glasses, or a shield on the motorcycle that is shatter resistant and does not interfere with the range of sight. However, if you only followed Illinois minimum standards you would be taking an unnecessary risk with your life. Fortunately, Illinois is re-thinking this approach and HB 0285 seeks to amend the law and require helmets for motorcycle riders ages 26 and under. It probably still doesn’t go far enough to curb injuries and deaths from motorcycle accidents, as it completely leaves out the midlife crisis crowd of 40+ age. Statistics show that novice motorcycle riders have higher accident rates and this population of users may be unprotected unless they have acquired enough common sense to wear a helmet. Even with the laws helmets can only protect in the event of an accident and motorcycle accidents are still fairly common, with 11% of all roadway accidents involving motorcycles in 2006.
In Illinois, those who have been injured in an accident involving motorcycles should seek the advice of an attorney. The party who is at fault for the accident will be liable to the other party for injuries, deaths, or other types of damages like lost wages. An attorney will assess your case and negotiate with the insurance company as you take the time to heal.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.