California Helmet Laws Explained

California’s coastal roads offer scenic views for motorcyclists. However, California helmet laws require that all motorcyclists and their passengers wear this protective gear while on the road.

If you don’t follow the motorcycle helmet laws in California, you could face fines. You also leave yourself more vulnerable in a motorcycle accident. At Roberts | Jeandron Law, we specialize in providing expert legal advice for motorcyclists in California. With our extensive understanding of the state’s helmet laws and regulations, we can help ensure legal compliance and protect your rights. This informative post details what every motorcyclist should know about California helmet laws.

Judges Hammer With Scales And Yellow Helmet On A Table

Overview of Motorcycle Helmet Laws in California

California helmet laws require you to wear a helmet as a motorcyclist or a passenger on a motorcycle. The helmet you use must meet the Department of Transportation’s safety requirements. This will be indicated on the helmet with a manufacturer’s seal of certification for being DOT-compliant.

All DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets must have an outer shell constructed of fiberglass or another resin/fiber composite material. Inside, there must be polystyrene foam lining that is a minimum of one inch in thickness. The interior must also have a comfort liner with an additional layer of energy-absorbing polystyrene.

Additionally, DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets must have a face shield that opens and closes, allowing protection for a rider’s face without obscuring vision. There must be a face and chin protector that fully encloses your head, and the chin straps must have strong rivets that keep it firmly in place. DOT-compliant helmets must also weigh at least three pounds.

While many helmets for motorcyclists will fit these requirements, not all of them will have the seal from the Department of Transportation. Make sure you look for that on the helmet before you buy it.

Why It’s Important to Wear Helmets While Riding Motorcycles in California

Motorcycle helmet laws in California were put into action to keep motorcyclists and their passengers safer on the roads because motorcycles leave you more vulnerable to injuries in a crash.

Since motorcyclists are more exposed, there is little to protect them if a negligent driver causes a crash in some way. Traumatic brain injuries are common for those who ride motorcycles without wearing helmets. Helmet laws were enacted to save lives and minimize the impact of injuries to people who are involved in motorcycle accidents.

Legal Penalties for Violating California Helmet Laws

If you violate the motorcycle helmet laws in California as a rider or passenger, you may be subject to a citation from the police. The fine as of 2024 for the violation of California Vehicle Code § 27803 is $197, though you will not accumulate any points on your motorcycle license. If you get a fine, you should speak with a car accident lawyer who has experience representing motorcyclists to learn more about your legal rights.

What to Know About Fault in California Motorcycle Accidents

If you are in a motorcycle accident in California, you should also understand what pure comparative fault means. Essentially, if you are the injured party, you can still recover damages even if you were partially at fault but this reduces your compensation award by your percentage of fault.

If you were riding your motorcycle and the driver of a passenger car crashed into you while texting, they would be at fault. However, perhaps you were not wearing your helmet properly and it flew off when you fell onto the road.

In this scenario, the insurance company would likely argue that your injuries may have been prevented if you’d properly secured your helmet. You may then incur 50% of the liability for the crash while the other driver would get 50% for being distracted. If you are awarded $100,000 in damages, then you would only receive $50,000. That other $50,000 could have helped pay all the medical bills associated with a head injury as well as your other medical bills for treating your injuries.

How Roberts | Jeandron Law Can Help Motorcycle Riders with Helmet Law Matters

While it is important to follow motorcycle helmet laws in California, you should not be given blame when the accident wouldn’t have happened if the other driver was driving cautiously. Scenarios like these highlight the dire need for a car accident attorney who can help you navigate the legal landscape.At Roberts | Jeandron Law, we can help you learn more about your legal rights when it comes to California helmet laws. If you were in a motorcycle crash, contact our legal team to discuss your case.

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