There is no general Ohio motorcycle helmet law, as the state does not require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet when they ride. Most operators have a significant amount of freedom over their safety decisions. However, state law does require certain groups – including novice and underage riders, as well as some passengers – to wear a helmet and eye protection. This rule is outlined in Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.53(C)(1).
Wearing a helmet and other safety gear provides motorcyclists with protection against the elements and severe injuries when collisions occur. An attorney can explain more about motorcycle safety laws in Ohio and the penalties for breaking these laws.
Are Riders Required to Wear Protection on a Motorcycle in Ohio?
Ohio allows most motorcyclists to ride a bike without a helmet. However, according to the statute cited above, motorcyclists must wear goggles or eyeglasses if they do not have a helmet with a face shield or a cab-enclosed motorcycle.
Motorcyclists can get around this requirement by installing a permanent windshield or windscreen on their motorcycle. In most cases, the state accepts this kind of protection in place of a helmet, goggles, or eyeglasses.
Exceptions to Ohio’s Standard Helmet Regulations
Ohio requires some motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Specifically, you must wear a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet while on a motorcycle if:
- You are taking a riding course or endorsement test with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
- It’s your first year as a motorcycle operator.
- You have a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC).
- You’re under the age of 18.
- You’re a motorcycle passenger with a rider who is required to wear a helmet.
In these situations, you have a legal obligation to wear a helmet in Ohio.
Consequences of Breaking Ohio’s Motorcycle Helmet Law
Ohio takes disregard of its motorcycle helmet laws seriously – you can face a fine if you get caught operating a motorcycle without a helmet. Generally, the penalties grow more serious each time you get caught without one. Wearing a helmet also offers you critical protection at any age.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), motorcycle crashes make up a significant percentage of the accidents that occur around the state every year. Per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, motorcyclists end up in around 26 times more crashes than drivers operating cars, trucks, vans, and other vehicles. Unfortunately, they also have significantly less protection, especially if they choose not to wear a helmet.
These crashes can lead to severe concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Motorcyclists are also more likely to die in accidents than other motorists. Keeping these facts in mind makes many bikers decide to wear a helmet, regardless of Ohio’s laws.
Ohio’s Liability Laws and Motorcycle Helmets
Some states around the country penalize motorcyclists who choose not to wear a helmet in the event of an accident. Ohio does not follow this practice. You should not receive less compensation after a collision because you did not have a helmet on.
However, you can only receive compensation if someone else was responsible for the collision.
Establishing Fault for a Motorcycle Accident in Ohio
Ohio uses comparative negligence laws to handle motor vehicle accidents. These laws mean that more than one person can be at-fault for a collision. Generally, you may receive compensation if you are not more than 50% responsible for the accident.
You can hire a motorcycle accident lawyer in Ohio to show that someone else caused your accident. Sometimes, drivers hit motorcycles because they:
- Do not look when making a left turn
- Change lanes without checking for a motorcycle
- Tailgate a motorcycle driver
- Get impatient or drive recklessly due to tiredness or distraction
- Are operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Other times, drivers simply look past motorcycles because they are smaller than other vehicles.
Types of Compensation for Motorcycle Accidents
You could sustain severe injuries in a motorcycle accident in Ohio, regardless of whether you wear a helmet when you ride. These accidents often leave motorcyclists with head injuries, broken bones, cuts, and abrasions.
Fortunately, you have the option to seek compensation for your losses if someone else caused your accident. You may file a claim with the insurance company representing the other driver or sue in an Ohio county court. Depending upon the facts of your case, you could secure compensation to cover your:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning potential
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Vehicle repair costs
In some cases, settling a motorcycle claim is your best option. However, the insurance company may deny or limit your losses in other situations. You can discuss your options with a motorcycle accident attorney in Ohio.
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According to Ohio law, you only have to wear a motorcycle helmet in a few situations. Whether you wear a helmet should not impact your compensation in an accident.
Find out how a motorcycle accident lawyer at the Fitch Law Firm LLC can support your collision case. Call us at (614) 545-3930 for a free consultation.
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