Motorcycle Helmet Fact Sheet

Motorcycle Accidents

Attorneys Serving Motorcycle Accident Victims in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Are you looking for information on motorcycle helmets and motorcycle helmet safety? If so, check out our fact sheet below.

Facts and Statistics on Motorcycle Helmet Safety

Laws on Riders’ Use of Motorcycle Helmets – Currently, 19 states have laws requiring all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, and 28 states have mandatory helmet laws that apply to a subset of riders. The laws in New England vary greatly. For example, while Massachusetts requires all riders to wear a helmet, in Rhode Island, the law only applies to riders age 20 and under. Nearby New Hampshire is one of the three states that do not require any riders to wear a helmet. View an interactive map of state motorcycle helmet laws.

Helmet Use in the Northeast is Low – Nationwide, about 64 percent of motorcycle riders report wearing a helmet when they ride. However, in the Northeast helmet use hovers around 56 percent. This is the second lowest percentage nationwide, ahead of only the Midwest (47 percent).

Motorcycle Helmet Ratings – Of course, just because the law doesn’t require a helmet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear one. When purchasing a helmet, one of the most important things to consider is its safety rating. There are two primary ratings: DOT and Snell. The DOT rating is a federal requirement for all motorcycle helmets in the United States.  Motorcycle helmet manufacturers are permitted to self-certify to DOT compliance. Snell is a higher standard that requires independent testing.

Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives – According to the Insurance Information Institute and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013 (the most recent data available), motorcycle helmets saved 1,630 lives, and another 715 lives could have been saved if riders had been wearing helmets in what turned out to be fatal accidents.

Helmets are Not Designed to Withstand Multiple Impacts – Once you have an impact with your helmet, it is time to buy a new one. The way that motorcycle helmets generally absorb impacts, once one impact occurs, the helmet’s effectiveness for future impacts is compromised. Even a drop on the ground can mean it is time to buy a new helmet. As a general rule, many industry insiders recommend replacing your motorcycle helmet every five years.

A Helmet Only Protects Your Head – While a motorcycle helmet is a crucial piece of safety equipment, it is just one piece of overall protection. Many riders follow the rule of ATGATT, which stands for, “all the gear, all the time.” Along with a DOT or Snell-rated helmet, riders should also consider wearing boots, gloves, pants and a jacket that are all specially designed for motorcycle safety.

Speak with a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Bottaro Law Firm

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, the law may entitle you to significant compensation. At Bottaro Law Firm, we help individuals throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island obtain financial compensation for their motorcycle injuries. To speak with one of our attorneys about your legal rights, schedule a free consultation today.