Motorcycle helmet laws are intended to protect motorcycle riders and operators from serious injury or death. Motorcycle accidents caused 5,579 deaths in the United States in 2020. In Idaho, there were 32 motorcycle accident deaths in 2021 and 600 suspected serious injuries. Only 57.5% of riders wear helmets in the Gem State.
Familiarize yourself with Idaho’s motorcycle helmet laws and learn why wearing a helmet is the best choice, whether required by law or not.
Idaho Motorcycle Helmet Law
Idaho is one of 47 states to have a motorcycle helmet law. However, Idaho’s helmet law only applies to riders under 18.
Idaho’s Title 49, Chapter 6, Section 49-666 states any motorcycle rider or operator under 18 years old must wear an approved helmet while riding a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, or motorized bicycle. Riders are exempt from the helmet requirement if they ride on private property or use a motorcycle for animal husbandry.
Idaho does not require motorcycle riders above 18 to wear any type of protective headwear when on the road.
Why Wearing a Helmet Is Vital to Your Safety
Data indicates that helmets are the most effective tool to reduce injury and death in motorcycle accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports (IIHS) found that approved motorcycle helmets reduce riders’ risk of death by 37%.
According to the CDC, helmets saved 1,872 motorcycle riders’ lives in 2017. However, helmet usage could have prevented an additional 749 deaths for motorcycle drivers and passengers. For passengers on motorcycles, helmets can prevent death in 41% of cases. For passengers and drivers, helmets can reduce head injury by 69%.
While Idaho does not require helmets for adult motorcycle riders, wearing a helmet can save your life. A helmet can also prevent serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, disfigurement, or scarring in a crash.
Due to the open nature of motorcycles, even crashes at slower speeds can cause debilitating, life-long injuries that require years of medical treatment and physical therapy. By wearing a helmet when riding, you can minimize your risk of serious injury and that of passengers on your motorcycle.
What Are Idaho’s Motorcycle Helmet Regulations?
If you wear a motorcycle helmet in Idaho, choose a quality helmet that can protect your head effectively. Federal law requires motorcycle helmets to be made of material similar to or better than those described in the Director of Motor Vehicles’ official helmet regulations, such as polystyrene (EPS) or urethane.
While these regulations are primarily intended for manufacturers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (which was involved in the creation of the regulations) lists a few guidelines for selecting an appropriate motorcycle helmet:
Helmet Safety Rating
Any motorcycle helmet used for riding should be stamped with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) symbol. If that symbol is present, the helmet meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #218, meaning it satisfies the requirements outlined in Idaho’s helmet law for minors.
All helmets available in the United States are required to be DOT certified; however, some retailers sell novelty helmets that are not DOT certified and should never be used for riding.
Motorcycle helmets have three main configurations: round oval, intermediate oval, and long oval. The NHTSA recommends testing each shape by wearing the helmet for several minutes to feel for any pressure points.
The helmet is too round for your head shape if you feel pressure on your forehead. If you feel pressure on the sides of your head, the helmet is too oval for your head shape.
You should also ensure that your motorcycle helmet is an appropriate size for your head. The helmet should fit tightly and uniformly and should not move when you shake your head.
Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Great West Law
Motorcycle helmets are the most powerful tool available to keep riders safe. Even though Idaho’s motorcycle helmet law only applies to riders under 18, riders of all ages should wear helmets to prevent injury or death when on the road.
Call the experienced Idaho motorcycle crash lawyers at Great West Injury Law if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident. Our motorcycle accident attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation and learn your legal options following a motorcycle accident.