Oklahoma Motorcycle Helmet Laws Guide

Office Information
Hasbrook & Hasbrook
400 N Walker Ave #130, Oklahoma City, OK
Phone: (405) 605-2426

If you are riding a bicycle or a motorcycle in Oklahoma, you must know the Oklahoma helmet laws. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the laws and why they exist in the first place. The laws vary from state to state, and wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle or a bicycle is not always compulsory. The laws in Oklahoma are fairly relaxed for adults, but they are stricter for minors.

What Does The Law Say?

The Oklahoma helmet law does not make it compulsory for an adult to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. However, if anybody under 18 is riding on a motorcycle, they are legally required to wear a helmet at all times.

While helmets are not compulsory for adults, some other rules are not optional. All riders must wear eye protection, like goggles, glasses, or a windscreen. Riders must also use a headlight at all times, even during the day, and the bike must be fitted with two rearview mirrors. The law also sets out guidelines about the kind of helmet that under 18 must wear on a motorcycle. They must have padding, lining, and chin straps, not obstructing the rider’s view. The Commissioner of the Department of Public Health publishes lists of approved helmets, which are constantly changing. However, the Department of Public Health is forbidden from promoting one brand over another if the helmets are the same regarding safety.

There are some exceptions to the Oklahoma helmet law, and the rules around protective equipment do not apply if you are riding on an off-road trail. When you are not on the roads, you are not required to wear a helmet, regardless of age.

The laws around motorcycle helmets have changed a lot over the years. In 1965, Oklahoma was one of many states that made it compulsory for every motorcycle rider to wear a helmet. However, this law was changed in 1969, so it only applied to riders under 21. But they reversed this decision in 1975 and, once again, required everybody to wear a helmet. The law was amended again the following year and changed to its current form, only requiring anybody under 18 to wear a helmet.

The laws surrounding helmets while riding a bicycle in Oklahoma are a little more complex because no blanket law covers the entire state. In Oklahoma City, all cyclists are legally required to wear a helmet, regardless of their age. In Norman, the law only applies to people that are under the age of 16, and anybody older than that can choose whether they want to wear a helmet or not. Any laws about bicycle helmets do not cover the rest of the state, so it is down to the rider to decide.

Although you may not always be required by law to wear a helmet, it is advisable because it significantly reduces your chances of injury or death if you are involved in an accident. Oklahoma considers itself anti-helmet law, but not anti-helmet, so even though they do not enforce it, it still encourages all riders to wear helmets.

If you have a personal injury claim, you will be more successful in claiming if you were wearing a helmet because, if you decided not to, you may be considered partly responsible for any injuries you sustained.

How Do Oklahoma Helmet Laws Compare With Other States?

Helmet laws vary by state, as there is currently no federal law that requires the use of helmets when riding a motorcycle or bicycle. The Oklahoma helmet laws are similar to the laws in most states around the country. However, certain states have a different approach.

Iowa and Illinois are the only two states that do not have a helmet law at all. That means it is completely up to the rider and the passengers to decide whether they want to wear a helmet, even if they are a minor.

Throughout the rest of the country, the states are split. Many states have rules similar to the Oklahoma helmet laws, requiring riders under a certain age to wear helmets. The age restrictions vary depending on the state, and some places have extra requirements to meet before you can ride without a helmet. Texas, for example, only allows people over 21 to ride a motorcycle without a helmet if they have a health insurance plan that provides at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries sustained during an accident. Riders must also complete an approved motorcycle operator safety training course before they are allowed to ride without a helmet.

There are still 22 states that require all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, regardless of age, health insurance, and training. In most of these states, the government will set guidelines about the type of helmet you must wear. You will breach the law if you wear a helmet that does not meet the standards. The standards for helmets are continually changing, so it is important to keep up to date with the latest guidelines.

The laws about bicycle helmets also vary from state to state. There are no federal laws about bicycle helmets, and most states do not have a blanket law. Instead, it is often left to localities to decide on the law. The Oklahoma helmet laws only cover bicycle helmets in a few areas, which is fairly common nationwide.

Most localities with bicycle helmet laws have age-specific laws requiring children to wear helmets when riding a bicycle. In certain areas, like California, the helmet laws also extend to scooters and skateboards.

Currently, 49 all-ages laws around the country require everybody to wear a bicycle helmet. There are also 22 states, including the District of Columbia, with statewide laws around using bicycle helmets.

Choosing The Right Helmet

When buying a helmet, do your research to ensure that you are buying one that meets safety standards. This is relatively easy because all helmets sold in the US are required to meet standards set out by the Department of Transportation. Every year, they stress test a wide range of helmets and update safety standards to ensure that all sold helmets provide adequate protection. There are several things to check for when comparing different helmets.

The Inner Lining

The inner lining is incredibly important because it provides protection and comfort. The federal guidelines specify that all helmets must have at least one-inch thick polystyrene foam. This lining is not always visible, but you should be able to feel it. Although one inch is the minimum, you should look for helmets with a thicker lining if possible. A helmet is unsafe if it does not have any lining at all, and it should not be sold in the US.

The Chin Strap

All helmets that meet the federal guidelines will have a sturdy chin strap that helps to keep the helmet secure. You must check the rivets that hold the strap onto the helmet to ensure they are secure.

The Weight

The weight of a helmet makes a big difference to the safety, and any helmets that weigh a pound or less tend to be unsafe. The guidelines specify that a good helmet should weigh 3 pounds at least. Comfort is essential, so you do not want a helmet that is too heavy, but you need something with a bit of weight because it will offer more protection.

Design and Style

The guidelines do not allow anything to extend more than two-tenths of an inch from the helmet because this can be unsafe. When you are looking for helmets, avoid anything that has spikes or other similar things protruding from it. Beyond that, you need to make sure that the helmet is comfortable, so make sure that you try on plenty of different types and find a helmet that fits perfectly.

All helmets that meet the safety guidelines will have a ‘DOT’ sticker. If you cannot find this sticker, do not buy the helmet because it has not been certified as safe by the Department of Transportation.

The Oklahoma helmet laws are relatively relaxed. Although anybody under 18 is required to wear a certified helmet when riding a motorcycle, adults do not have to. However, you do need to wear the right eye protection if you are riding without a helmet.

Where bicycles are concerned, there is no statewide law around helmets. In Oklahoma City, you are required to wear a helmet; in Norman, minors legally have to wear a helmet. Outside these areas, you are generally not required to wear a helmet while cycling.

However, it is advisable to wear a helmet because it reduces the chance of fatal injuries, and it will help you to make a larger compensation claim after an accident.

The Dangers Of Riding Without A Helmet

You must be aware of the dangers when riding a bicycle or a motorcycle. In an accident, the bike almost always comes off worse. Riders are also more prone to dangers from the weather and road conditions, which is why helmets exist.

In 2017, 5,172 motorcyclists died in accidents, and riders were 27 times more likely than car drivers and passengers to be involved in a fatal accident. It is estimated that motorcycle helmets saved 1,872 lives in 2017, but a further 749 lives could have been saved if all riders had been wearing helmets.

The latest figures from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office show that 98 people were killed on motorcycles. A staggering 81% of those who died were not wearing a motorcycle helmet, and there is a strong chance that many of those lives could have been saved if they wore a helmet.

Cycling is also incredibly dangerous. It is estimated that two cyclists were killed daily in the United States in 2018. This is an increase of 6.8% since the previous year, making it the most dangerous year for cyclists since 1990. It is estimated that wearing a helmet can decrease the risk of serious injury and death by up to 70%.

The laws vary from state to state, and wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle or a bicycle is not always compulsory. The laws in Oklahoma are fairly relaxed for adults, but they are stricter for minors.

Do I still have a claim if I was injured in a motorcycle accident and wasn’t wearing a helmet?

Yes. Since motorcycle helmets are not mandatory for riders in Oklahoma, you still have a claim.

How does not wearing a helmet affect my personal injury claim?

Standard “lawyer” answer: It depends. In most scenarios, the insurance company will try to use the lack of a helmet to reduce the claim’s dollar amount.  If that’s the case, the next step is to file a lawsuit and let a jury decide what is a fair and reasonable amount.