Alabama Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Before you ride a motorcycle in Alabama as an operator or passenger, make sure you understand the state’s helmet laws. Alabama has a universal helmet law, meaning that all motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear helmets at all times. Riding a motorcycle without a helmet could lead to a citation. More importantly, our experienced Birmingham motorcycle accident lawyers emphasize that riding without a helmet can significantly increase your risk of suffering a serious or fatal brain injury in a motorcycle accident.
Are Helmets Required for Motorcyclists in Alabama?
Yes, helmets – or “approved headgear” – are required for all motorcyclists in the State of Alabama. According to the Code of Alabama, Section 32-5A-245, headgear is required for all motorcycle riders, regardless of age. State law says that no person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle or a motor-driven cycle without wearing protective headgear that complies with the required standards.
An approved helmet is one that meets the requirements established by Section 32-12-41 of the law:
- A design that has been specifically suited for motorcycle rider and passenger use.
- A hard exterior helmet shell made of nonshatterable material that is resistant to impact and penetration.
- A shock-absorbent cradle that is secured firmly around the head.
- A permanently attached adjustable chin strap.
The helmet chosen should have the seal of approval from the Department of Transportation or another approved safety organization. It should fit snugly and correctly on the rider’s head. In addition, motorcycle riders in Alabama need to wear eye protection if their motorcycles are not equipped with windscreens or windshields. This can mean protective goggles, glasses or a motorcycle helmet with a visor.
Motorcycle Helmet Statistics
Helmets are a critical piece of safety equipment for motorcyclists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are about 24 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle accident. Our team of brain injury attorneys in Birmingham have seen one of the most common causes of death in a motorcycle crash is a traumatic brain injury.
Helmets are the most effective way for motorcyclists to prevent serious and fatal head and brain injuries in accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by approximately 69 percent. They are also about 37 percent effective in preventing a motorcycle operator’s death.
Can Not Wearing a Helmet Affect Your Motorcycle Accident Claim in Alabama?
Even if Alabama did not have a universal law in place requiring all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, doing so is the best way to protect yourself from a fatal head injury. Even the most seasoned motorcycle rider could get into a motorcycle accident in Alabama due to a distracted or negligent motor vehicle driver. Wearing a helmet could save your life.
In addition, the use of a motorcycle helmet could protect your ability to recover maximum financial compensation for your accident-related injuries. While Alabama law does not bar a motorcycle accident victim from filing a claim if he or she was not wearing a helmet, this could affect the amount of financial damages available.
If the defendant shows evidence proving that you most likely would not have suffered your head or brain injury, or that your injuries would not have been as severe, had you complied with Alabama’s motorcycle helmet requirements, the courts may reduce your compensatory award by a percentage of blame allocated to you for this mistake. Contact a Birmingham personal injury attorney for legal advice if you find yourself in this situation.