May 13, 2022 | Motorcycle Accidents
Oklahoma does not currently have a universal motorcycle helmet law. In 1966, Congress made highway funding contingent on states passing a universal motorcycle helmet law. Oklahoma was among the first to pass a law requiring all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear a helmet.
Since 1967, Oklahoma’s helmet law has changed several times. At various points in Oklahoma’s history, the state has required helmets for all riders, only riders under 21 years old, and only riders under 18 years old.
Here is an overview of Oklahoma’s motorcycle helmet law and how a motorcycle helmet may affect your motorcycle accident case.
Oklahoma Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Oklahoma’s motorcycle helmet law is very brief. It states that no person under 18 shall operate or ride on a motorcycle without a helmet that meets federal regulations.
This law has a few characteristics relevant to whether you need to wear a motorcycle helmet, including:
Oklahoma’s helmet law applies to riders under 18 years old. This means that you no longer need to wear a helmet on or after your 18th birthday.
Oklahoma’s helmet law covers both operators and passengers. If you give a ride to someone younger than 18, that passenger needs to wear a helmet, even if you are 18 or older.
Type of Helmet
The helmet must meet U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines for motorcycle helmets. You can find the statement certifying that a helmet meets U.S. regulations inside the helmet.
Novelty helmets do not meet U.S. helmet regulations. As a result, you will violate Oklahoma’s helmet law if you are under 18 years of age and wear a novelty helmet rather than a certified motorcycle helmet.
Oklahoma’s motorcycle helmet law does not specify whether police officers enforce the helmet law as a primary or secondary violation. A primary violation means that the police officer can pull you over for violating the law.
A secondary violation means a police officer cannot stop you for violating the law but must stop you for another reason, such as speeding. Once the officer stops you for a primary violation, the officer can issue a citation for secondary violations.
Since Oklahoma imposes no restrictions on enforcement, a police officer can stop you on suspicion of violating the helmet law. Once stopped, the officer can check your age and issue a ticket if you are under 18 and riding without a helmet.
What Are the Risks of Riding Without a Motorcycle Helmet in Oklahoma?
You should consider wearing a helmet even if Oklahoma’s law does not apply to you. A few ways riding without a helmet could adversely affect you include:
Since Oklahoma allows primary enforcement, riding without a helmet could expose you to traffic stops. Even if you prove you are 18 years old or older, you still need to stop to show your ID.
Increased Odds of Injury or Death
Wearing helmets saves lives. Wearing a helmet cuts your odds of suffering a head injury in half. Just as importantly, if you hit your head in a motorcycle accident while wearing a helmet, you are three times more likely to survive the crash than if you do not wear a helmet.
Loss of Compensation
Oklahoma uses a modified comparative negligence rule. When you seek damages for an accident, the claims adjuster or jury can decrease your injury compensation if you bear some fault for your injuries. For example, if a jury finds that you were 20% at fault for your accident, you can only recover 80% of your damages.
However, if you’re more at fault than the other party (i.e., 51% or more at fault), you’re barred from recovering any compensation for your injuries.
Riding without a helmet could shift some liability to you for your injuries. As a result, you could lose valuable compensation that might help you cope with a serious brain injury after a motorcycle accident.
Contact the Oklahoma City Motorcycle Accidents Lawyers at McGuire Law Firm Today for Free Consultation
We serve throughout Oklahoma and its surrounding areas: