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Does Oklahoma Require the Use of Helmets for Motorcycle Drivers?

Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC

To many, wearing a helmet is an essential piece of motorcycle safety. Electing to put on a helmet provides invaluable protection for riders. The bikes often travel at very high speeds, and are on the road with vehicles that are much larger. A helmet is sometimes the difference between a motorcycle accident resulting in injury, and being fatal.

Not all people see wearing a helmet as integral to riding on a motorcycle, and the state legislature of Oklahoma is among those people — riders in the state over the age of 18 are not legally required to wear a helmet, and can choose whether or not they do. Oklahoma is among 28 other states which only require some drivers to wear a helmet, generally allowing the choice for riders 18 and over, with some of these states requiring helmet use for everyone under the age of 21. Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire do not have any helmet use laws in place. In comparison, only 19 states and Washington, D.C. require motorcycle drivers and passengers of any age to wear a helmet.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.”

In 2017, 36% of motorcycle drivers who were killed in an accident were not wearing a helmet. In the same year, 57% of fatally injured passengers were not wearing a helmet. States with a partial helmet use law, like Oklahoma, saw a lack of helmet use by 56% of fatally injured motorcycle riders in 2017.

Helmet use may not be required in Oklahoma, but as a motorcyclist in the state (and anywhere), you should always wear a helmet. Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, and it is important to employ all safety precautions to reduce your risk of brain injury and death.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, call (918) 347-6456 or submit your information to speak with the Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC legal team. We offer free case evaluations, and don’t require any payment unless we win your case.
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