Motorcycle Season is Here | Helmet Debate
Posted on April 2nd, 2015 by Zane Cagle
Motorcycle season is here. Large groups of motorcyclists are easy to see, however, the lone rider is often not seen by other drivers.
We would like to take the time to remind you to keep a sharp lookout for motorcyclists and bicyclists!
Motorcyclists have equal responsibilities on the roadway such as obeying all traffic signals, riding in their appropriate lanes, wearing reflective gear and following the law regarding wearing protective head gear or Department of Transportation approved helmets (see how to identify unsafe motorcycle helmets).
Helmet use is controversial among some riders. Quoting statistics regarding helmets won’t usually sway hardcore advocates against helmets, so let’s just look at the legal problems if you are in a motorcycle crash and not wearing a helmet–regardless of your state law.
Does it Matter if I was Wearing a Helmet during my Motorcycle Accident?
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in the state of Missouri and you were not wearing a helmet, then you have a huge problem. The law in Missouri requires that anyone on a motorcycle should be wearing a helmet. If you are over the age of 18 and you were not wearing a helmet in your motorcycle crash, you need to talk with an attorney as soon as possible if you hope to recover any compensation for your injuries in your case.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in the state of Illinois and you were not wearing a helmet, it is somewhat different. The state of Illinois does not require you to wear a helmet by law. So, under the letter of the law, that is not a problem. However, it still is a problem.
How Will a Potential Jury Member View You for Not Wearing a Helmet while Operating a Motorcycle?
While you may be within the letter of the law in Illinois by not wearing a helmet, seeking compensation and trying your case before a jury could be a challenge. Why?
The problem is, if you were not wearing a helmet and were involved in a motorcycle accident in the state of Missouri or Illinois, the potential jury member is going to look at you and ask, “Why weren’t you wearing a helmet?”
And by implication, they may infer that because you did not wear a helmet, you were careless. And because you were careless, perhaps the accident was your fault. Even though the state of Illinois does not require you to wear a helmet, that doesn’t mean that potential jury members will not require you to wear one when deciding your case.
Regardless of your personal feelings about wearing a helmet, it is important to know that if you are injured in a motorcycle accident and not wearing a helmet, it becomes more difficult to attain the much needed compensation you need after a crash. I say “much needed compensation” because most motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries or death to the motorcyclists, not the other vehicle driver or occupant.
Do We Agree that Motorcyclists are by Nature Careless?
Of course not. I have represented many motorcycle accident victims and frankly, most of them practiced safety religiously. In most situations, the drivers who hit my injured clients claimed they never saw them.
Motorcyclists have just as much right to share the roadway as any other vehicle. In each case, we look at the unique fact pattern and the behaviors and actions that occurred before and during the crash.
We have had much success in motorcycle accident cases and we do not think that an individual should be considered “careless” simply because they ride a motorcycle, but we often have to prove it. Whether we like it or not, it is a part of motorcycle accident cases.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Whether you were wearing a helmet or not, you will need to talk with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.