Georgia’s Helmet Law for Motorcycle Riders and Passengers
Our lawyers protect the rights of Savannah and Atlanta motorcycle riders
According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, 134 people died in Georgia motorcycle accidents in 2012, and 150 people died in motorcycle crashes in 2011. 90% of those who were killed were wearing a helmet. The Office estimates that helmets did save the lives of 74 people in 2012 and 80 people in 2011. While most riders understand that helmets can save lives and prevent catastrophic injuries, there are riders who choose not to wear a safety helmet.
Our Atlanta motorcycle helmet lawyers understand that in Georgia, all riders are required to wear safety helmets. At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we represent motorcycle operators, passengers, and families when accidents happen due to the negligence of other drivers, roadway hazards, distracted drivers, drunk drivers, or for other reasons. If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash, our team is here to fight for you.
Georgia’s helmet and equipment laws
Georgia law requires that motorcycle operators and passengers wear a helmet that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Riders are also required to wear eye protection gear that has been approved by USDOT. Acceptable eye protection includes safety goggles or wearing a helmet that has a visor. Violators can be subject to fines and jail time — though community service is more the norm.
Other motorcycle laws that our Savannah motorcycle equipment lawyers explain to clients are:
- Helmets with speakers. If the headgear has a speaker it must be for the purpose of communicating with other riders and not for listening to music. At high speeds, the wind and traffic noise can make it hard to hear even though the rider is sitting right on the back of the driver.
- The motorcycle must have a windshield unless all riders are wearing proper eyewear protection.
- Motorcycle handlebars cannot be “more than 25 inches in height above that portion of the seat occupied by the operator or with a backrest more commonly known as a sissy bar that is designed in such a way as to create a sharp point at its apex.” (§ 40-6-314)
- If the operator is transporting a passenger, the motorcycle must have a footrest. There are exceptions if the motorcycle has a sidecar or a cab that is enclosed.
- Mirrors. The motorcycle must have at least one mirror, left or right, so the operator can see traffic behind him/her.
Motorcycles must also have a driver’s seat that should be used by just one person, unless it is specifically designed for two people. Except for those built before 1972, motorcycles must also have working turn signals. Brake lights are also required.
Contributory negligence if a victim was not wearing a helmet
In some states, the claim of a victim will be completely barred if the rider was not wearing a state-mandated helmet. In Georgia, the failure to wear a helmet is evidence of contributory negligence. A jury can decide that this failure constitutes (for example) 25% negligence, and reduce any award you obtain by 25%. If a jury renders a finding of contributory negligence that is more than 50% or equal to 50%, then the rider, or the rider’s family in death cases, will not be entitled to any award.
Talk with an experienced Georgia motorcycle accident lawyer now
If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, you need the help of Atlanta motorcycle helmet lawyers who are respected by the legal community and the public. The attorneys at HLM have earned the trust of the public because we understand the laws, have obtained some of the largest verdicts in the state, and care for each client as if he/she were family. To speak with a strong advocate, please phone us at 404-998-8847 in Atlanta or 912-417-3774 in Savannah. You can also schedule a free initial consultation through our contact form.