New York State law requires motorcyclists to wear a protective helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation Standards (DOT) safety standards. Because helmets must meet DOT standards, ornamental or novelty helmets will not meet the legal requirement. In addition to a helmet, New York riders are also required to wear eye protection when operating a motorcycle.
Many states have helmet laws in place because they to prevent deaths and reduce injuries. In a study by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) helmets reduce the risk of death by 37% and the risk of head injury by 69%. The NHTSA report also concluded that if all states required motorcyclists to wear helmets, there would be an average of 21 deaths prevented per state.
If you choose not to wear a helmet and get into an accident, there is a chance of a reduced or barred legal recovery. Even if you are not found at fault in an accident, if you do not wear a helmet you may not be able to claim damages if the lack of helmet contributed to your injuries.
Studies show that a motorcycle helmet is a proven method of preventing injuries and saving the lives of motorcycle riders. If you have an accident while riding a motorcycle, speak to a lawyer about what your options are and how you recover damages for your pain.