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In Columbus and throughout the state of Ohio, most motorcyclists are not legally required to wear a helmet while riding. However, there are certain exceptions and nuances to these laws. For instance, state law requires the use of protective eye-wear whenever a person is on a motorcycle. Safety precautions can also play an important role in personal injury claims seeking compensation after a motorcycle accident.
While not wearing a helmet is a personal choice, defendant drivers may argue that a rider accepted the risks involved in refusing to do so. Understanding the Columbus motorcycle helmet laws is important when seeking full compensation for a biking accident. At O’Connor, Acciani & Levy, our motorcycle accident attorneys can further explain these rules and help protect the rights of injured victims.
According to Ohio Revised Code § 4511.53(C)(1), only certain people must wear helmets while on a motorcycle. This includes riders under the age of 18 or those with a “novice” license. A “novice” license applies to all riders, regardless of age, who have held a license to operate a motorcycle for less than one year.
For all other adults, the decision of whether to wear a helmet is a personal choice. However, it is advisable for all riders to wear helmets to decrease the chance of severe head injuries that can result from collisions. Wearing a helmet can also make it easier for an injured rider to pursue appropriate compensation after a traffic crash. An attorney at our Columbus office could provide more information about the state’s motorcycle helmet laws and how they may impact a civil claim.
Motorcyclists enjoy the same rights on the road as all other drivers. This includes the right to expect protection from all other motorists and to demand compensation from them when a collision results in an injury. The fact that a biker was not wearing a helmet does nothing to change this basic premise. However, a lack of a helmet may give defendants an opportunity to argue that a motorcyclist was not taking all appropriate precautions to prevent an injury.
Ohio courts use a legal concept called modified comparative negligence to assign blame for accidents. This allows defendants to allege that a person’s injuries were due to their own decisions and actions. Often, defendants will argue that refusing to wear a helmet is a form of partial negligence.
While it is unlikely that this argument will relieve a defendant of all responsibility for a crash, it may lessen the damages award that a court issues to an injured motorcyclist. As a result, wearing a helmet is the best way to protect one’s legal rights while on a motorcycle. It is also important for injured motorcyclists to secure experienced legal representation, regardless of whether they were wearing a helmet or not.
For the most part, motorcycle riders in Columbus and throughout the state do not need to wear a helmet. However, it is always a good idea to wear protective headgear while riding to avoid serious injuries in the event of an accident.
Additionally, the question of whether a rider was wearing a helmet may have an impact on a personal injury claim for compensation following a crash. A refusal to wear a helmet could limit a rider’s compensation for injuries, especially if the rider does not have representation from a skilled attorney. To learn more about Columbus motorcycle helmet laws and how they could impact your case, call O’Connor, Acciani & Levy today.