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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. Motorcycles often travel at high speeds and are on the road with vehicles that are much larger. A helmet is sometimes the one factor that distinguishes a motorcycle accident ending in injuries to one ending in death.

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 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and 67% 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.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

There are a variety of different factors that can contribute to an accident, but there are a few common causes of motorcycle accidents that our team has seen in cases we handle.

Common causes of accidents involving motorcyclists include:

  • Speeding: Speeding prevents riders and drivers from being able to respond to road hazards, slowed or stopped traffic, and other situations in time before an accident occurs. The higher the speed, the greater the impact and more severe the damages and injuries.
  • Lane splitting: This refers to the act of motorcyclists riding between two lanes of traffic to maneuver around cars. Lane splitting is dangerous for all motorcyclists, especially new and inexperienced riders, and is even illegal in some states.
  • Unsafe lane changes: Drivers must signal and check their blind spots to ensure it’s safe before changing lanes, but unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and many motorcycles tend to be hidden in blind spots.
  • Car doors: Drivers who pull over to the side of the road are required to check that the coast is clear before they open their doors. Opening your car doors in the path of oncoming motorcyclists can cause a serious accident and produce fatalities.
  • Motorcycle defects: Drivers aren’t always the ones at fault for motorcycle accidents and injuries. Sometimes a defect in the motorcycle, like faulty brakes, will cause the accident. In these cases, the manufacturer or distributor can be held liable for damages.

Millions Recovered for the Injured

At Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC, our legal team is committed to helping injured motorcyclists in their time of need. Due to their lack of outer protection and the sheer size, weight, and force of vehicles like cars and trucks, motorcycle accidents tend to result in serious injuries that can be expensive to treat. By hiring our personal injury law firm to represent your interests, you can secure the financial compensation required to pay your medical bills, property damages, lost wages, and more. We can also handle future correspondence with insurance companies, who typically work to undermine claims by using what victims say against them in court. We can handle the paperwork, evidence collecting, and other legal matters while you rest and focus on getting back to your life.

Contact us online or by phone at (918) 347-6456 if you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident. Our personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to potential clients so we can learn more about your unique situation.

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