Helmet Laws in MA

Whether you feel strongly for or against using helmets, Massachusetts motorcyclists are required to wear helmets. Being involved in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet may not only increase the potential for injuries but can also produce significant barriers to financial recovery. Understanding helmet laws and how not wearing one can impact a Massachusetts motorcycle accident claim is vital.

Massachusetts Helmet Laws

All motorcycle operators and passengers in Massachusetts must wear approved helmets and headgear, according to Massachusetts law (M.G.L. 90 §7). This law extends to individuals riding in sidecars. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts maintains some of the strictest helmet laws in the country.

Massachusetts motorcycle helmets must comply with the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 49 §571.218). Additionally, When a motorcycle does not have a windshield or screen, motorcyclists and their passengers are required by law to use eye protection. The only instance when helmets are not required while riding is when a motorcyclist participates in a properly permitted public parade and is at least 18.

Motorcyclists should become aware of how to spot unsafe helmets. Federal standards apply to all motorcycle helmets sold in the US. However, retailers still sell novelty helmets containing fraudulent Department of Transportation (DOT) labels, putting motorcyclists in danger.

Injured While Riding a Motorcycle Without a Helmet in MA

Bikers and their passengers not wearing helmets while riding will likely face a tremendous battle in recovering compensation if they are injured in a Massachusetts motorcycle accident. The Commonwealth follows the rule of modified comparative negligence. An injured cyclist in Massachusetts may recover damages if they are found 50% or less at fault in an accident.

The injured party’s damages are then reduced by their portion of negligence in the incident. The insurance company for the at-fault party and a Massachusetts motorcycle accident attorney defending them will work strategically to use the lack of wearing a helmet to reduce the compensation for your injuries. The part of the body sustaining injury will also likely impact compensation.

Legal representation for the at-fault party may argue that any Injuries to the face, head, and neck could have been reduced or prevented had a helmet been worn, contributing to the biker’s percentage of fault in the accident and their damages. Injuries to other parts of the body are not likely to have been prevented by a helmet. However, not wearing a helmet can be a significant factor in the determination of compensation.

Factors Influencing Massachusetts Stringent Helmet Laws

Recent data from the National Highway Safety Administration (NTSA) reports that over 6,000 motorcyclists are killed annually, accounting for 15% of all traffic fatalities in the US. According to information from the Injury Surveillance Program, Department of Public Health in Massachusetts:

  • Half of motorcycle operators who died in Massachusetts sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Traumatic brain injuries were detected in 30% of motorcycle operators hospitalized in Massachusetts
  • Being in a lane departure crash while not wearing a helmet increased the chance of the motorcycle driver sustaining a TBI by approximately 50%.

A traumatic brain injury can change your life’s trajectory. Following Massachusetts helmet laws protect motorcycle operators and their passengers physically and financially. Failing to wear a helmet may impact your ability to secure financial compensation in a Massachusetts motorcycle accident.