Lack of protection is one of the most significant threats that cause fatality in vehicular accidents. The fatality rate of 30% is the highest compared to other road accidents involving enclosed vehicles. Many cities, including Atlanta, established their motorcycle helmet policy to protect and spread road safety and responsibility awareness.
If you are new to the city, relocating, or intend to visit someone on your motorcycle, here is a complete guide to help you out.
What You Should Know About The Mandatory Helmet Law In Georgia
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), vehicular accidents cause about 5000 fatalities and thousands of extra injuries every year. People involved in motorcycle accidents have higher fatality due to lack of head protection which is the most vulnerable part of your body. These accidents can lead to severe neck, brain, or skull injuries.
Compared to other states, Georgia’s motorcycle helmet policy is strict. There are only three states (New Hampshire, Illinois, and Iowa) with no law about wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Twenty-eight other states come with a partial helmet policy which varies per rider’s age.
Whenever you ride or operate a motorcycle in Georgia, you’re required to wear protective gear, especially a helmet, unless your vehicle falls under one of the exemptions—a motorized cart or enclosed cab.
A motorcycle is defined as:
- Off-road bikes
- Standard motorcycles
- Touring bikes
- Dual sportbikes
- Minibikes (with 55cc size engine or higher)
It is, however, exempt from this policy any motorcycle passengers who are riding in motorized cars or enclosed cabs along with riders who are driving mopeds not exceeding 50cc and any drivers who are driving tractors or any agricultural vehicles. This law also requires motorcycles to have windshields, and operators must wear eye protection or goggles that follow public safety recommendations.
Why Wearing Helmet Is Important
While riding a motorcycle gives you a sense of freedom on the open road, you are at risk of severe dangers and injuries if you’re not wearing a helmet. Motorcycles have limited structural protection compared to enclosed vehicles or cars in case of a road accident. You need to take extra precautions to protect yourself, especially your head.
Besides protection and security, a helmet is a vital part of any motorcycle rider in Atlanta and other states that require operators to wear one to reduce safety risks.
- 88% reduction in risk of head or neck traumatic injury
- Improve visibility and weather protection
- Safer, fewer risks, and a good example for children when teaching about safety precautions
The state requires all riders to wear protective headgear and helmets, both passengers and operators heading the road. Section 40-6-315 states that no one can operate or ride the motorcycle unless you are wearing safety headgear that complies with Commissioner of Public Safety standards.
- Unless you wear proper protective headgear in compliance with the law
- Must be equipped with a windshield and eye protection in compliance with public safety standards
- Not applicable if you ride a motorized cart or enclosed cab.
- Not relevant for agricultural purpose 3-wheeled motorcycles
- The public safety commissioner is authorized to pass/or decline eye protection or headgear protection required under the code section, enforce regulations to establish approved specifications and standards.
Headgear and Helmet Requirements
All helmets must pass the Department of Transportation safety standards detailed in the safety standard #218 of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. These helmet standards set specific criteria for:
- Energy consumption (impact attenuation)
- System effectiveness
- Penetration resistance
- Placement and verbiage of labels indication compliance from DOT
DOT-approved eye protection is required for motorcycle operators, including goggles and visors. Traditional visors and eyeglasses that eliminate sun impact are not approved. If your helmet comes with an internal speaker, it’s permissible only for communicating purposes.
Once you are familiar with the state’s laws and policies, exceptions are a necessity too. For instance, if you are riding a motorized cart or enclosed cab, you must not wear a helmet. Furthermore, operating a motorcycle for agricultural purposes exempts you from wearing one.
Practically speaking, when you ride a motorcycle, you must also wear your protective gear to reduce safety risks and ensure your head is secured from any road accidents.
Accidents are pretty complicated, and in most cases, are significantly different compared to when you ride an enclosed vehicle like a car. Often, there’s prejudice over motorcycle operators because of its dangerous nature. You certainly have the right to hit the road.
In case of any injury or accident, it’s not due to negligence. Ensure you know the law and abide by it based on your location. You may also check for a well-versed injury lawyer to support your rights.
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