Helmets save lives, especially for motorcyclists. As a Georgia motorcycle accident attorney will tell you, Georgia’s helmet laws are some of the strictest in the country. In fact, Georgia is one of only 19 states that require helmets at all times when you’re on your motorcycle. It’s easy to forget these laws the longer you ride. Violating them can potentially affect the outcome of an accident case.
Your helmet must meet certain specifications to comply with Georgia law. Helmets approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will carry a sticker on them along with other labels. A helmet that complies with state law will feature the following characteristics:
Helmet weight. Helmets that meet DOT standards weight approximately three pounds. A helmet weighing less than this does not provide adequate protection.
Inner liner. The right helmet will have an inner liner of polystyrene foam, about one inch thick. Helmets with thinner liners, softer foam, or no foam at all are not as safe.
Chin strap. A chin strap will help keep the helmet on a rider’s head in case of an accident. Therefore, the rules require a sturdy chin strap that will not easily break.
Other design features. DOT-compliant helmets often carry a full-face design. Some visors are permitted, but in general, items should not stick out from a helmet.
The Georgia Department of Driver Services also recommends wearing reflective gear and bright colors while riding. Other items that should be worn are boots over the ankles, long sleeves, long pants, and padded gloves. It is recommended that sleeves be leather, and that over-pants are also worn.
Georgia also requires that eye or face protection be used while riding. In order to be effective, this protection must:
- Be free of scratches
- Be resistant to penetration
- Give a clear view to either side
- Fasten securely, so it does not blow off
- Permit air to pass through, to reduce fogging
- Permit enough room for eyeglasses or sunglasses, if needed
Common head injuries that a Georgia motorcycle accident attorney sees affect the brain, spinal cord, eyes, teeth, and face. They include concussions, traumatic brain injuries, broken noses, and broken facial bones. Serious accidents can also result in long-term problems such as loss of coordination, decreased motor skills, and decreased cognitive abilities. After an accident, some riders no longer wish to ride motorcycles, if they are fortunate enough to retain good physical health.
It’s undeniable that helmets improve safety, and the proper helmet will ensure the safest riding experience. Still, many motorcycle riders do not feel obligated to follow Georgia’s guidelines. Not wearing a helmet in Georgia can result in stiff penalties. Riding without a helmet is a misdemeanor, with a maximum punishment of a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. In practice, however, the actual penalties are far less severe.
But if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of an accident, your case could be complicated. If you were violating state helmet laws when injured, it may be more difficult to receive compensation for your injuries. There’s no need to jeopardize your safety. And you should not make it less likely to be compensated in the unfortunate event of an accident. All riders should learn the rules of the road and follow motorcycle safety requirements.
IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED, A GEORGIA MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP
Wearing a helmet with proper safety gear helps minimize the consequences of accidents. But nothing can keep riders completely safe. Motorcycles are still smaller than automobiles, so their riders are more prone to serious injuries. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, you need an experienced Georgia motorcycle accident attorney. Schneider Hammers can help. Give us a call today.