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New York Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Properly Worn Helmets Can Decrease the Rider’s Chance of Death

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, head injury is the leading cause of death and serious injury in motorcycle collisions, which is why it’s vital to protect yourself when you ride a motorcycle. The right type of motorcycle helmet is 29% effective against an otherwise fatal head injury and 67% effective in preventing serious brain injury.

Under New York State law, all motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear helmets regardless of age or experience level. The laws also mandate that helmets meet the standards outlined in section 571.218 of federal motor vehicle safety rules.

For New York, motorcycle helmet minimum requirements include:

  • The DOT symbol located between 1 to 3 inches from the bottom of the helmet, signifying that the helmet has been approved by the Department of Transportation
  • No rigid projections inside the helmet shell and no projections that protrude more than 0.2 inch from the outer helmet
  • A continuous protective curved surface
  • Peripheral vision clearance for the rider

For more information, read the entire list of NY helmet requirements here.

New York helmet laws were established to promote the safety of motorcyclists and their passengers. When worn properly, helmets can decrease the rider’s chance of death, reduce the severity of a head injury and limit the amount of medical care needed after a motorcycle accident. The U.S. General Accounting Office found that motorcyclists who ride with helmets have up to a 73% lower fatality rate than riders who don’t wear helmets.

New York State implemented the universal helmet law to protect all riders, and the good news is that the majority of motorcyclists are following state law. In New York motorcycle accident cases where the rider’s decision to wear a helmet was recorded at the time of the crash, helmet adoption is up over the years. In 2002, 80.4% of riders involved in motorcycle crashes wore a helmet. In 2014, that percentage is 89.2%. Unfortunately, this also means that a number of riders are still operating a motorcycle without a helmet. If you are a motorcyclist who does not own a DOT-approved helmet, please check out online retailers or visit your nearest motorcycle equipment shop before you ride again.

Percent of Motorcyclists Who Wore Helmets at the Time of the Accident - New York State Source: New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

What Motorcycle Riders Need to Know If They’ve Been Injured

Because helmets will not prevent all injuries, riders who have been injured in a crash may want to speak with a NYC motorcycle accident lawyer to determine if they have legal recourse for their injuries. In some instances, injured motorcycle riders may be able to file a claim to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages resulting from their accident.

To find out if you may be entitled to such compensation, fill out our FREE case evaluation form or call 212-736-5300 to contact our accident attorneys today. Serving all of New York City and New York State.


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