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What to Know About Motorcycle Helmet Laws in California 

Do you own or operate a motorcycle in the San Joaquin Valley? If so, then it is imperative that you understand California’s motorcycle laws—including the state’s motorcycle helmet requirements. All motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers in California must wear a DOT-approved safety helmet when they ride. Here, our Stockton motorcycle accident attorneys explain the most important things that motorcycle riders and passengers should know about California’s helmet laws.

California Requires Motorcycle Helmets for All Riders and Passengers

You are required to wear a helmet every time you ride a motorcycle in California. As explained by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the state’s vehicle code (CVC §27803) legally requires all individuals “to wear a U.S. DOT compliant motorcycle safety helmet when riding a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle.” The law applies to riders of all ages. You cannot “opt-out” of the state’s motorcycle helmet law. 

Note: A motorcyclist who violates CVC §27803 and rides without a helmet can be pulled over and cited for a traffic violation. The typical fine for this violation is $197.00. 

The Data is Clear: Motorcycle Helmets Prevent Brain Injuries, Save Lives 

Beyond the law, all motorcyclists should wear a DOT-compliant safety helmet to protect their own health and well-being. The reality is motorcycle helmets are a highly effective safety device. A well-fitting helmet can help to reduce the risk of brain injuries and save lives. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that motorcycle helmets save an estimated 1,250 lives nationwide each year. Studies estimate that a properly-fitted motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) by as much as 60 percent. Wear a helmet every time you ride a motorcycle. 

No Helmet Accidents: How Comparative Negligence Could Impact Your Claim

You may be wondering what happens if you get into a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet in California. The short answer is that you still have the right to file a personal injury claim against the party at fault for the crash. However, California operates under a comparative negligence standard of liability. Failure to wear a motorcycle helmet is a violation of state law and can be deemed negligence. 

What implications does this have for a motorcycle accident injury claim? It means that a rider who fails to wear a helmet could be found partially at fault for their own damages—especially if they suffered a traumatic brain injury. Being held partially liable for your own motorcycle accident injuries in California will reduce your settlement or verdict. 

Get Help From a Stockton Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, we have helped injured victims secure more than $25 million in financial compensation. If you or someone you know was hurt in a motorcycle crash, we are more than ready to help. Reach out to us by phone or send us a direct message to arrange a free, no-obligation case review. Our law firm represents motorcycle accident victims in Stockton and throughout the wider region of Central California.