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New York State Helmet Laws

Motorcycle helmets save lives, and the state of New York requires any person operating a motorcycle to wear a helmet that meets or exceeds standards set forth by the US Department of Transportation. Here, we want to examine NY’s motorcycle helmet law and discuss the requirements a helmet must meet to meet the requirements.

Put The Helmet On – It’s Required and It Can Save Your Life

Did you know that New York was the first state in the country to adopt a universal motorcycle helmet law?

We didn’t either until we started looking into this page, but it does give some encouragement that our state had the foresight to understand just how much of a difference helmets make when it comes to riding these vehicles. Because motorcycle helmets are required by law in NY, motorcyclists not in compliance could be pulled over and cited by law enforcement officials. Consequences for a helmet law violation in New York can include fines of up to $100 and even up to 30 days in jail (though this is unlikely).

However, perhaps the more serious consequences revolve around your safety. Information presented by the CDC shows that motorcycle helmets are 37% effective for riders and 41% effective for passengers in preventing deaths when motorcycle collisions occur.

What Type of Helmet is Required?

New York requires motorcyclists to wear helmets that meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stresses the importance of choosing the right motorcycle helmet for safety. Here are the key aspects of a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet:

  • Fit and shape. The helmet should match the shape of your head (round oval, intermediate oval, or long oval) for comfort and safety. It should not create pressure points on your forehead or sides of the head.
  • Size. Proper sizing is critical. Measure your head above your eyebrows and around the thickest part of the back of your head. The helmet should be snug but not cause discomfort.
  • Style. Helmets come in many styles (full-face, modular, dual-sport, off-road, Hi-Viz, half helmets, and open-face helmets). Each caters to different riding styles and preferences.
  • Safety ratings. A DOT-approved helmet will have a DOT symbol on the back, certifying that it meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218. This includes a label with the manufacturer/brand, model designation, and certification.
  • Avoiding unsafe helmets. Beware of novelty helmets that don’t meet safety standards. Unsafe helmets may be thinner, have weak chin straps, and could be much lighter than the standard 3 pounds. They might also have non-compliant features like rigid spikes.

If you have any questions about which helmet to buy, we encourage you to go to an in-person store that specializes in motorcycle safety gear. Buying helmets online, in an area fraught with counterfeits, could be risky, and it could jeopardize your life.

Do You Need Help From an Attorney?

If you or a loved one have sustained an injury and a motorcycle crash caused by the negligence of another party in New York, reach out to an attorney today. A trusted and experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can examine the facts of your case and help determine the best path moving forward to recover compensation for your losses.