Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Norman
The laws in Norman and throughout the state of Oklahoma strike a careful balance between protecting the public and maintaining individual freedom. One prominent example of this balance is the laws concerning the obligations of motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.
Currently, no law requires an adult to wear a helmet or any other type of personal protection while on their bikes. While it is certainly advisable to do so, this lack of regulation means that any incident involving a motorcycle accident where a biker is not wearing a helmet cannot punish that rider for contributing to their own losses.
The controversies concerning motorcycle helmet laws in Norman are extensive. It may be beneficial to understand the effect that the current legal environment can have on any pending motorcycle accident claim for damages following an accident.
State Laws Concerning Helmet Use
Oklahoma law in Norman places a great emphasis on personal responsibility. As a result, the state has no law in place that requires any adult to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle or any other powered vehicle.
The rules are different for riders under the age of 18, however. According to OS 47 §12-609(B), no person under eighteen years of age shall operate or ride upon any motorcycle unless such person is properly wearing a crash helmet of a type which complies with federal standards.
The decision to wear a helmet when riding as an adult is a personal one. While it is certainly safer to wear one, a person’s choice to not wear a helmet does not affect their ability to collect compensation from negligent defendants following a motorcycle accident.
Evolutions in State Law Concerning Required Helmet Use
Helmet laws in Oklahoma have changed gradually over the years. As recently as 1969, the state-mandated helmets for all motorcycle riders, regardless of age. In Opinion No. 68-267 (Ops.Okla.Atty.Gen. Dec. 31, 1968), however, the Attorney General argued that a mandatory helmet law was unconstitutional.
In short, the Attorney General argued that state legislation must be motivated by a desire to protect the public as a whole, and a mandatory helmet law does not achieve this goal as the question of whether other people are likely to suffer injuries in collisions with motorcyclists has little to do with whether that biker was wearing a helmet. As a result, the decision concerning whether to wear a helmet remains a personal choice.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Norman Are No Impediment to Pursuing a Claim
Collisions between motorcyclists and other vehicles can result in severe injuries for bikers, not the least of which are head injuries that may be prevented by a person wearing a helmet. As a result, many defendants may argue that a plaintiff’s choice to not wear a helmet contributed to their injuries and lessens a defendant’s financial burden.
Because of the state’s motorcycle helmet laws, this argument does not hold water. Except for children under the age of 18, no person has the requirement to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle.
It follows that Norman’s motorcycle helmet laws are very pro-plaintiff, and people who suffer injuries in accidents can demand full compensation regardless of whether they were wearing head protection. An attorney could help to provide more information about motorcycle helmet laws in Norman and how they may affect your motorcycle accident claim.