Originally published July 4, 2022.
We know that motorcycle helmets save lives. The federal government convinced state governments to enact universal motorcycle helmet laws in 1967, and studies continue to show that helmets are always a good idea for riders.
Unfortunately, many states, including Utah, have since modified or repealed these laws, even though severe injuries and deaths dropped when they were in effect. Motorcycle injuries and fatalities have increased as a result.
As of 2022, Utah requires some riders to wear helmets but does not require eye protection. Helmet use reduces the risk of death and severe head injury. In reducing the severity of injuries, it reduces riders’ hospital bills!
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you get a fair settlement.
Utah’s Helmet Law
The state of Utah requires all motorcycle operators and motorcycle passengers under the age of 21 to wear helmets that comply with federal regulations. This law applies to any motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, class three assisted bicycle, or autocycle not fully enclosed.
Regulations state that helmets:
- must be designed for use with motorcycles (this means it’s not enough to use a bicycle helmet)
- must not interfere with peripheral vision
- must not have any rigid projections on the helmet’s exterior larger than 0.2 inches, and any projections the helmet has must be for equipment in the helmet, like Bluetooth
Failure to wear a helmet in Utah DOES NOT mean the rider contributed to their own injuries, and it cannot legally be brought up during a civil proceeding as evidence that the motorcycle rider is at fault. However, wearing protective headgear is still a good decision for your own health and safety.
Why You Should Use a Motorcycle Helmet
Motorcycle operators and passengers need adequate protective gear to prevent head injuries, one of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. Even though they represent only about 3% of all registered vehicles, motorcycle riders make up about 14% of total traffic fatalities. Helmet use reduces the risk of death by 42% and head injury by 69%.
Seemingly mild head injuries with no loss of consciousness can still cause permanent behavioral and cognitive changes, including sleep disorders, memory problems, and an inability to concentrate. They can even cause permanent mental and physical disability or death. Head injuries can be caused by impact, sudden stops, or sudden direction changes.
Trauma surgeons often treat motorcycle accident victims due to the severity of the injuries. In one study of trauma surgeons, of those who also ride a motorcycle, 100% of them always wear a helmet and believe helmet use can reduce brain injury because they have seen firsthand the consequences of not wearing a helmet.
Another study found that helmet use reduces the rate of head, face, and brain injuries and lowers medical costs after an accident, potentially by thousands of dollars.
Helmet use offers other benefits, too. Some come equipped with Bluetooth and allow you to listen to music or talk to your passenger or other riders on the phone hands-free. Some also have a rearview feature so you can see approaching vehicles.
Types of Motorcycle Helmets
The three types of protective motorcycle headgear are named for how much of your head they cover.
- Half-head helmets: These cover the top half of your head and seldom offer eye protection. They also leave your face and jaw vulnerable in a crash.
- Open-faced helmets: These cover the top, back, and sides of your head. They offer more impact protection than half-head helmets but leave your face exposed.
- Full-faced helmets: These cover your entire head and also protect your face and eyes. They offer the best protection in the event of a crash.
Unfortunately, helmet use doesn’t prevent collisions with negligent drivers.
Get Help from a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer to overcome the bias riders face from police officers, insurance companies, and juries.
Our motorcycle crash lawyers have extensive experience investigating accidents, interviewing witnesses, calculating settlements, and negotiating with insurance companies. Calculating a fair settlement can include monetary and non-monetary factors, from current and future medical bills to pain and suffering, and can be complicated if you try to do it on your own.
If the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement, our skilled and experienced lawyers aren’t afraid to take your claim to trial. Our team knows the tricks insurance companies use to deny motorcyclists compensation, and we fight aggressively on your behalf for the full amount you are entitled to.
Contact the Utah motorcycle accident lawyers at Great West Injury Law to get fair compensation for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. Let us focus on your motorcycle accident claim while you focus on healing.