Motorcycle Helmet Laws in California

In 2017, there were over 8 million registered motorcycles in the United States and approximately 5,172 fatalities from motorcycle accidents. That is a fatality rate of roughly 59.34 deaths per 100,000 motorcycles on the road.

When it comes to vehicles, the fatality rate is approximately 10.05 fatalities per 100,000 cars on the road. As you can see, the rates for motorcyclists are much higher, and the government has mandated motorcycle helmet laws to try to bring these numbers down, and these laws have saved lives.

Read more to learn all you need to know about motorcycle helmet laws in California.

Mandatory California Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Motorcycle helmet laws in California fall into recommendations and requirements. The Department of Transportation has a list of requirements to ensure you have a compliant helmet. These requirements can be found in California Vehicle Code Section 27802 and 27803.

All drivers and passengers must wear a helmet. There are specific regulations as to what the helmet must look like. Passengers must wear a helmet and can not ride with a driver who does not have one. Specifications for motorcycle helmets are found in Section 27802.

While not required, the DMV offers a list of recommended items:

  • Face and eye protection
  • Protective clothing
  • Long sleeves and pants
  • Closed-toe boots
  • Full-fingered gloves

California Laws on Type of Motorcycle Helmets

The type of motorcycle helmet that you wear is mandated under both California and federal law. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 has a list of requirements:

  • Inner liner approximately 1″ thick of polystyrene foam construction
  • Riveted chin straps that attach to helmet shell with rivets
  • Usually weighs at least three pounds
  • Nothing can protrude from design over 2/10″ from the helmet shell

There are three kinds of shells to choose from:

  • Half-shell
  • Three-quarters shell
  • Full-face shell

Those with a lock-in visor offer the most protection.

You can be sure your helmet meets federal requirements when it has the U.S. DOT [Department of Transportation] lettering on the rear side of the helmet. This lettering will not be in sticker or label format and cannot be removed.

Before you ride or allow a passenger to ride with you, be sure the helmet fits snug on every side. You also need to make sure it has no defects or cracks, and the padding is in good condition. The helmet must be secure when you ride to ensure it does not fall off.

Contact a California Motorcycle Accident Attorney for Advice

California is a beautiful state that is very tempting for motorcyclists. Enjoy all that the state has to offer when you ride by complying with California motorcycle helmet laws.

Remember that the number of injury accidents by motorcycle far outweighs that of other vehicles. Motorcycle accidents can be deadly and costly.

Even the safest rider can get into an accident. If that happens to you, you want the guidance and help of the right California motorcycle accident attorney. An experienced attorney can seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.