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What are the Motorcycle Helmet Laws in NYC?

Does NY have a motorcycle helmet law? If I’m injured in a motorcycle accident and I’m not wearing a helmet, can this be held against me?

Yes and yes. See below for more information.

New York Law states that all operators (drivers) and passengers on motorcycles must wear helmets. The law applies whether or not it’s your first time riding, or you’ve been a motorcyclist for 50 years.

Is it legal for the State of New York to force me to wear a helmet? Isn’t it unconstitutional for the government to tell me what I can or can’t do?

While it may feel like an infringement, courts across the country, including the Supreme Court, have weighed in on this and similar laws. They’ve consistently been upheld. The rationale is that the State has a compelling interest in keeping people safe. More people getting catastrophically injured and killed in accidents puts a burden on society that the State doesn’t want to bear. The regulation is in fact governed by the health department.

The following is from your New York State department of health:

“According to NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 381, requires helmets to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards, section 571.218. Look for the US DOT sticker on the helmet to identify ones that meet the standard.”

What happens if I’m caught riding without a helmet?

Violation of New York’s helmet law is punishable by a fine not to exceed $100, 30 days in jail, or both.

With such a small penalty, many riders are willing to take the risk.

If I’m injured in a motorcycle accident and I’m not wearing a helmet, can this be held against me?

Absolutely. If you sustain any injury in a New York motorcycle accident, the lawyers hired by the insurance company will do everything to point the finger at you. They will try to make it seem like the crash itself was your fault, and that you were at least partially at fault for your injuries as you did not take proper precautions.

The best course of action is to always wear a helmet!

If you get hurt in a motorcycle accident, regardless of whether or not you had your helmet on, please call the LAW TEAM today. We have gotten millions of dollars for motorcyclists injured in New York.

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