If you own a motorcycle, then you probably already know a lot about laws related to motorcycles in New York. After all, our state requires motorcyclists to obtain a special license in order to legally operate their bikes. Even so, you may not be familiar with all of the requirements related to safety when driving a motorcycle.
One of the most important safety laws governing motorcycles is that both drivers and passengers are required to wear both helmets and protective eyewear. If you fail to do so, you could be ticketed. In addition, if you are in a motorcycle crash, your failure to wear a helmet could result in a lower total recovery in a personal injury lawsuit.
At The Odierno Law Firm, we are fierce advocates for motorcyclists who have been hurt in accidents. We work hard to get our clients maximum compensation for their injuries – and never charge a fee unless we recover money for them. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a NY motorcycle accident lawyer, reach out to our law offices today.
Are Helmets Required for NY Motorcyclists?
New York law is clear: all motorcyclists and passengers are required to wear a helmet that meets federal Department of Transportation safety standards. The only exception to this rule is when a group of motorcyclists has permission from a local government to not wear helmets while riding in a parade or similar demonstration.
In addition to helmets, anyone who drives or rides on a motorcycle must either wear protective eyewear (goggles) or a face shield. As with helmets, this gear must meet federal safety standards.
These rules have been in place for decades, along with requirements to have lights and front and rear brakes in good working order. They may seem onerous, but they are in place for good reason: to reduce the likelihood of death or serious injury in the event of a motorcycle crash.
In 2020, more than 5,500 motorcyclists were killed and more than 180,000 were treated in emergency departments across the U.S. for injuries related to motorcycle accidents. Studies show that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69% percent. They are 37% (for riders) and 41% (for passengers) effective in preventing death from motorcycle accidents.
Wearing a helmet and other safety gear isn’t just required under New York law. It is also a good idea from a common sense standpoint. When you wear a helmet, you are protecting yourself against the risk of a catastrophic or fatal injury in the event you are in an accident. It is one of many road safety choices that you can make to protect yourself and your loved ones.
What Are the Consequences of Violating New York’s Motorcycle Safety Laws?
If you are caught driving or riding on a motorcycle without a helmet, you could be ticketed. A violation of New York’s motorcycle safety laws can lead to a $100 fine, up to 30 days in jail, or both.
More importantly, if you are in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, it could lead to much more serious injuries. In addition, it could reduce your total amount of compensation in a personal injury lawsuit against the driver or other entity that caused your crash.
New York follows a contributory negligence model. Under this rule, you can still file an insurance claim and recover financial compensation if you were somewhat at fault for the accident. However, your total recovery will be reduced by the percentage that you were to blame for the wreck.
If you choose to not wear a helmet when riding or driving a motorcycle – in violation of New York law – then the insurance company will likely argue that your damages (losses) would not have been so bad if you had worn a helmet. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can argue against the application of the contributory negligence rule, but you might still end up with less money than you need to fully cover your damages. For example, if a judge or jury finds that you suffered $100,000 in damages and you were 20% at fault, then your recovery would be reduced by 20% to $80,000.
Ultimately, wearing a helmet is a smart choice for both practical and legal reasons. However, if you are in a motorcycle accident and weren’t wearing a helmet, you can still seek compensation from the at-fault party. Our team of personal injury lawyers can help you get the money that you deserve for your losses.
Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident? We Can Help.
After a motorcycle accident, you will probably be dealing with quite a lot: pain, emotional trauma, and endless calls from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In this situation, you may not know what to do next. Our law firm is here for you.
At The Odierno Law Firm, we work hard to help our clients get top dollar for their personal injury claims. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Long Island motorcycle accident attorney, give us a call at 631-933-1304 or fill out our online contact form.
The Odierno Law Firm, P.C., a personal injury firm serving the residents of Long Island, has been dedicated to helping the wrongfully injured recover the compensation that they deserve for the past 30 years. The legal team at our firm handles a wide variety of injury cases such as: auto accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death and many more! Our firm understands how devastating it can be to suffer a serious injury at the hands of a negligent party or individual, and for this reason, we do whatever we can to help our clients obtain the justice that they are looking for. If you have been involved in an accident and you believe that someone else is responsible for causing your injuries, do not hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer from our firm today. We offer a free consultation to anyone that is looking for answers.