Are You Required to Wear a Bicycle Helmet in Norman, Oklahoma?

Summer is the perfect time of year to hop on your bicycle and enjoy the local scenery.  But before you do, remember to put on a helmet.  While Oklahoma doesn’t require adults to wear helmets while bicycling, using a helmet could save your life if you are ever involved in a bike accident.  Hopefully, you will never be injured; but if the worst occurs and you break a bone or sustain a head injury after being hit by a car on your bike, turn to our Norman bicycle accident lawyers for help.  We may be able to recover compensation for your losses and expenses.

Bike Helmet Ordinances in Norman and Oklahoma City

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As of 2016, there are no federal laws mandating the use of bicycle helmets across the U.S.  Instead, every state follows their own laws, which may be compounded by local ordinances depending on the town or city.

Even though Oklahoma lacks helmet laws at the state level, your child may still be required to wear a helmet, depending on where you live.  It’s common for towns and cities with large populations to enact additional ordinances at the local level, even if there are no state or federal laws requiring helmet use.  For example, in 2003 the city of Norman enacted a local ordinance requiring all bicyclists under age 18 to wear a helmet at all times.  (Helmet use is “encouraged” but not mandatory for adults.)  To give another example, Oklahoma City has required minors to wear bicycle helmets since 1999.

If you have a son or daughter who rides a bike, it’s a good idea to brush up on the local helmet requirements where you live.  Even if your town doesn’t explicitly require helmets, it’s always smart to make sure that you and your child are protected.  As statistics reveal, helmet use can make the difference between life and death in the event of an accident.

Oklahoma Bicycle Accident Statistics: Injuries and Fatalities

A bike helmet isn’t the coolest fashion accessory, but it may prevent you from sustaining serious head injuries.  Wearing a helmet could even save your life.

Just look at the bicycle accident statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which reports that about 26,000 people per year sustain head injuries and brain injuries due to bicycle accidents.  Studies have shown that wearing a helmet could reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 50%, while helmet use can reduce the risk of neck injuries and facial injuries by as much as 33%.

Based on statistics published by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO), there appears to be no discernable pattern to the frequency of cyclist deaths in Oklahoma, which rise and fall unpredictably from year to year.  According to OHSO, six bicyclists were killed in Oklahoma in 2015.  That’s two more than the previous year, but considerably fewer than the 13 bicyclists who were killed in 2013 (which was Oklahoma’s worst year for cyclist fatalities dating back to at least 1998).  Five bicyclists were killed in 2012, one person was killed in 2011, and eight people were killed in 2009.  Nationwide, cyclist fatalities represent about 2% of overall traffic fatalities.

Can I Get Compensated for a Bicycle Injury if I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?

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The short answer to this questions is yes, potentially.  Even if you were not wearing a helmet when you were struck, the driver who hit you – or, to be more specific, his or her insurance company – could be responsible for compensating you.  Compensation may be available for your medical bills, lost earnings, and the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the accident.

However, there is a potential drawback: due to a doctrine known as modified comparative fault, any compensation you recover may be reduced if you contributed to your injuries by failing to wear a helmet.  The extent to which compensation gets reduced depends on your degree of fault.  For example, if you were 10% at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 10%.  (You can read more about this topic in our article on getting accident compensation when you are partly at fault.)  Rest assured that our attorneys will take every measure in our effort to recover the greatest amount of compensation possible on your behalf.

Contact an Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation

If you or your daughter or son was injured while riding a bike in Norman, Oklahoma City, or elsewhere in the area, call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 to set up a free and confidential legal consultation.  You may have a personal injury claim and could be entitled to compensation.  Backed by more than 75 years of combined experience, our knowledgeable Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers are here to help you assess your legal situation so that you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.

We handle claims and lawsuits involving a wide array of serious bicycle injuries, including but not limited to concussions, traumatic brain injuries, whiplash injuries, scarring, lacerations, bone fractures, crush injuries, and soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains.