It’s no secret why motorcycles are becoming more popular in Alabama: they elicit a feeling of freedom that no other vehicle can match. For many bikers, part of this rush is the inherent danger of riding on the open road. Some even prefer to ride without safety gear such as helmets. They want to literally “feel the wind in their hair.”
If you ride a bike in the state of Alabama, even if you are just passing through, it is important to know the traffic laws. This includes the state’s requirement for motorcycle helmets.
A Brief Overview of Motorcycle Helmet Laws
While many motorcyclists are confident in their skills, even the safest riders cannot control the actions of other drivers. Unfortunately, even with proper safety gear, motorcyclists are still at risk of serious injury in a crash caused by a negligent driver.
According to ConsumerReports.org, both motorcycle drivers and passengers should wear protective headgear at all times, whether there is a law regarding helmet use in their state or not. However, many states, including Alabama, have enacted helmet use laws.
Alabama Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Alabama state law (Ala. Code § 32-5A-245) requires that motorcyclists wear a helmet—and not just any helmet. It must be a motorcycle-specific helmet. Helmets designed for football, skiing, or other sports will not offer adequate protection in a traffic collision, so they are not acceptable for motorcyclists under Alabama law.
Additionally, adults are responsible for ensuring minors who ride under their supervision wear helmets.
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What Type of Helmet Should You Wear When Riding a Motorcycle?
There are several characteristics that your motorcycle helmet must have to ensure maximum safety. These include:
- A supportive cradle, which creates a suspension between the outer shell and your head
- An exterior shell made of shatterproof material
- Impact-resistant padding
- A fitted chinstrap
If your helmet does not have these features, police can give you a ticket.
If you opt for an open-face helmet, wearing a helmet visor is advised for certain types of motorcycle riding, but it is not a requirement according to Alabama law.
Official Motorcycle Helmet Suggestions
According to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), your helmet should meet the standards set by an official organization such as the DOT. A DOT-approved helmet will provide an appropriate level of protection and a safe field of vision.
The helmet should fit your head snugly, and you should inspect it for any obvious defects. Do not purchase the helmet if it has cracks, dents, or frayed straps. When possible, have someone knowledgeable about helmets ensure the proper fit before you purchase it.
Motorcycle helmets can be expensive, but the cost is worth it to protect your head in a collision and avoid fines on the highway. Buying a used helmet is generally not recommended because you do not know its history. Helmets should always be replaced following a crash because not all damage is visible.
What Should I Do If I Am in a Motorcycle Accident in Alabama?
Although wearing a helmet and other safety gear can reduce the severity of injuries, an accident between a car and motorcycle is still likely to cause injuries and other damage. If another driver caused your Alabama motorcycle crash, you have legal options.
Alabama law allows victims who played no role in their accident and injuries to pursue compensation. This is possible through an auto liability insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Working with a motorcycle accident attorney may make it easier to navigate this process and recover money damages while also undergoing treatment and recovering from significant injuries.
Injuries You May Suffer in a Motorcycle Accident in Alabama
Possible injuries in a motorcycle accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Other head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Other back injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Abrasions, contusions, and burns, known as “road rash”
- Facial injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
It is important to note that traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and facial injuries are common in motorcycle accidents, despite widespread helmet use. However, the severity of these injuries decreases dramatically as the rate of helmet use increases. Wearing a helmet is the safest way to ride a motorcycle.
If you were riding with a proper helmet and suffered injuries, the at-fault driver cannot claim you contributed to your injuries because you were not wearing protective equipment. This is crucial in these cases because Alabama recognizes pure contributory negligence. This means if you played any role in causing your accident or injuries, you cannot recover compensation.
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An Attorney Can Help You Following an Alabama Motorcycle Accident
At the Morris Bart law office, we understand how frustrating motorcycle accidents can be. Through no fault of your own, you may face steep medical bills, a painful recovery, and lost income due to another driver’s reckless actions.
In these cases, victims can file personal injury lawsuits and potentially recover compensation to pay for accident-related expenses.
Work With a Motorcycle Collision Attorney from Morris Bart & Associates, LLC
At the Morris Bart law firm, we can handle every step of the claims process—from the initial paperwork to settlement negotiations. If your case goes to trial, our attorneys have the litigation experience to find success in court. We are a contingency-fee law firm and provide free initial consultations to motorcycle collision victims.
Our staff has more than 50 attorneys and 100 legal professionals. We have 15 locations in four states, including offices in Decatur, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery, Alabama. To speak with an Alabama personal injury lawyer from our firm, call now.
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