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Do You Have to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in New York City?

Posted in New York Law on August 11, 2021


It’s extremely important to take all steps to protect yourself and others when operating a motor vehicle in a busy environment such as New York City. This is particularly true if you ride a motorcycle. If you’re involved in a New York City motorcycle accident, you may sustain major injuries.

Wearing your helmet is one way to protect yourself from serious injury during a motorcycle crash. However, you might wonder whether you are legally required to wear a helmet in New York. The following overview will cover what you need to know about this topic.

Is it Legal to Ride a Motorcycle Without a Helmet in New York City?

Motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear proper helmets and eye protection in New York State. You must also wear a helmet and eye protection while riding a Class A or Class B moped. A helmet that complies with federal and state law will have a US DOT sticker.

If a police officer in New York sees you riding a motorcycle without a helmet, you may face fines up to $100, 30 days in jail, or both.

The Risks of Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet in New York City

You have a much greater likelihood of serious injuries in a motorcycle accident if you are not wearing a helmet. Failure to wear a helmet could even result in fatal injuries.

Not wearing a motorcycle helmet could also limit the amount of compensation you receive after an accident. Ordinarily, you are entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills and others losses after a motorcycle accident. A New York personal injury lawyer can help you by filing an injury claim against the insurance company for the party who caused your accident.

However, New York has a pure comparative fault law. This rule will reduce your damages if you share fault for your accident or injuries. For example, if you have $90,000 in damages but are 20% at fault for your injuries, you could only recover $72,000 (80%).

Failure to wear an approved helmet could increase the severity of your injuries in a motorcycle accident. An insurer could argue that you’re not eligible to receive full compensation because wearing a helmet could have mitigated your damages.

Likewise, not wearing a motorcycle helmet can also have major implications for your loved ones’ legal rights after an accident. If you were killed in a motorcycle accident, your loved onesmighty be able to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit to recover damages. Comparative fault could limit the amount of compensation they recover if you were not wearing a helmet. Depending on the circumstances, the insurer might even deny the claim.

Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle in New York City is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself and your family. Remember to grab yours next time you go out riding.