You’ve heard the slogans…
“Helmet hair or long-term care?”
“If you’re so smart, where’s the helmet on your head?”
“Life’s tough; get a helmet.”
They have a point. The helmet habit is a have-to for your health. Choosing to operate a motorcycle or bicycle without one is dangerous, irresponsible, and a recipe for disaster. But is it illegal?
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you might be wondering whether the law required you (or the other party) to wear a helmet at the time of the crash.
Let’s take a closer look at the RI & MA motorcycle helmet laws below.
Rhode Island Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Believe it or not, Rhode Island doesn’t have an across-the-board helmet mandate for motorcycles. Experienced adult bikers are generally allowed to operate on public roads without wearing a helmet, though there are a few exceptions.
Helmets are required in the following circumstances:
- You are a passenger on a motorcycle. Every motorcycle passenger (that is, everyone other than the driver) must wear a helmet at all times, regardless of age, experience, or personal preference.
- You are still in the first year of your motorcycle license. All motorcycle drivers are required to wear a helmet at all times during their first year of Rhode Island motorcycle licensure, regardless of age.
- You are under the age of 21. Motorcycle drivers younger than 21 must wear a helmet at all times, regardless of how long they’ve had their license.
Eye protection is required as well. Note that your helmet and eye protection must have been approved by the Rhode Island DMV. Check with your local DMV office to confirm that your equipment is both lawful and safe.
Please also note that Rhode Island’s helmet laws are different for bicycles and other vehicles. The foregoing applies only to motorcycles.
Massachusetts Motorcycle Helmet Laws
The MA motorcycle helmet laws are much tougher than Rhode Island’s. Massachusetts requires a safety helmet for every driver and every passenger. The helmet must be worn at all times and with no exceptions. This rule applies to sidecar passengers as well.
Note that there are no special provisions in Massachusetts for age, experience, or licensure. The helmet is mandatory for everyone.
As MA and RI motorcycle accident attorneys, we recognize that bikers sometimes cross the state line while traveling between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is important to be aware of the significant differences between the motorcycle safety laws in these two states.
If you plan to travel between The Ocean State and The Bay State on your motorcycle, you should follow the strictest laws from both states in order to remain in compliance throughout your entire journey.
“Should” Matters More than “Must”
Rhode Island may not require all of its motorcyclists to wear a helmet, but you should wear one anyway. Study after study has shown that helmets provide significant protection against the serious injuries, lifelong brain damage, and gruesome deaths that often result from motorcycle accidents.
Your head and your brain are just as vulnerable to injury in Rhode Island as in Massachusetts. It’s a good idea to protect them wherever you happen to be.
As MA and RI motorcycle accident attorneys, we’ve seen too many unhappy endings that began with someone’s decision to forego a motorcycle helmet. Remember: whether you must wear a helmet isn’t as important as whether you should.
You only get one life, one head, one brain. Protect them. Wear a helmet. Always.
Questions About Your Rights Under the RI and MA Motorcycle Helmet Laws?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident anywhere in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, The Bottaro Law Firm can help. We provide experienced and strategic legal representation for injury victims and their families, with offices conveniently located throughout both our states.
It is our belief that financial ability should never be a barrier to justice. When you choose to work with The Bottaro Law Firm, you can always count on our “No Fee Guarantee,” which we make available in virtually every case we accept. That means you will never have to pay a penny upfront.
Our fees only apply if we win your case. We will work hard to win — even if that means taking on giant insurance companies and insisting they treat you fairly. Our job is to maximize your financial compensation, and we will work tirelessly toward that goal.
To get started, please contact us by phone or online, and we’ll schedule a free consultation with our MA and RI motorcycle accident attorneys right away.