New Jersey Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Riding your motorcycle on the open road can be a fun and pleasant experience for riders. It can also be a very dangerous experience if the proper precautions are not taken. Wearing a helmet is one of the most important things you can do as a rider to ensure your own safety in the event of a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle riders are far more likely than car drivers or passengers to be killed or injured in an accident. Due to the risks involved in operating a motorcycle, the State of New Jersey has established requirements regarding the wearing of motorcycle helmets. Read on to find out more about what kinds of helmets are required and the penalties for refusing to do so from our New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer.
Does My Vehicle Qualify as “a Motorcycle” Under New Jersey Law?
When most people think of motorcycles, they probably imagine the same two-wheeled vehicle. However, a motorcycle under New Jersey law and the NJ Department of Transportation may be one of several different kinds of vehicles. According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, a motorcycle is any vehicle that has an attached motor. This definition includes motorbikes, bicycles, and tricycles. Motorcycles are also vehicles that are not enclosed, leaving the driver exposed. If you are unsure whether your vehicle is a motorcycle or even authorized to drive on the public roadways, contact a Vineland, NJ motorcycle accident lawyer for guidance.
Operating a motorcycle requires the rider to be properly licensed. A motorcycle license is not the same thing as a regular driver’s license. If you only have a standard driver’s license, you are not authorized to operate a motorcycle in New Jersey. Obtaining a motorcycle license is similar to getting a standard driver’s license. You must fill out some paperwork and take some tests to prove you are able to operate a motorcycle safely.
Do I Have to Wear a Helmet While Riding My Motorcycle in New Jersey?
The short answer to this question is yes. All riders are required to wear helmets when they are operating a motorcycle. However, not just any helmet will do. New Jersey law requires that only certain types of helmets be worn while operating a motorcycle. Approved helmets include ones that cover one half, three quarters, or the whole face. This means motorcycle helmets are a bit larger than ordinary bicycle helmets. In addition, helmets must have either a neck or chin strap to secure the helmet to the head of the rider. Proper motorcycle helmets must also be reflectorized on both sides for purposes of visibility. Helmets that adhere to New Jersey requirements typically have a tag inside the helmet indicating they are state-approved.
It is critical that all riders wear proper motorcycle helmets for several reasons. First, operating a motorcycle without an appropriate helmet could get you pulled over by law enforcement and you could be hit with a citation and a fine. Second, helmets are designed to protect you in the event of an accident or collision. Motorcycles are smaller than ordinary cars, so it is common for other drivers to overlook them while driving down roads and highways. It is not unusual for motorcycle riders to be hit by inattentive drivers. Finally, when a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident or collision, their injuries are more likely to be severe or life-threatening. The driver of a car is enclosed within the vehicle, but the driver or rider of a motorcycle is completely exposed. The only thing separating your head from colliding with the pavement is your helmet.
Penalties for Riding a Motorcycle Without a Helmet in New Jersey
If law enforcement officials catch you riding without a proper helmet, you may face certain penalties. While these penalties are not severe, they should still be taken very seriously. Failure to wear an appropriate helmet while operating a motorcycle will likely result in a citation and you will probably be made to pay a fine. No points are assessed against your license if you are stopped for failure to wear a helmet. Fines are typically no more than twenty-five dollars.
While the criminal penalties for failure to wear a helmet are slight, the consequences in a civil case may be a bit more complicated. If you are involved in an accident on your motorcycle and sue the other driver for damages, whether or not you wore a helmet might make a difference in your case’s outcome. If you did not wear a helmet, a court might say that your own negligence contributed to your injuries so that they might reduce your award or award you nothing. It is crucial that, before you get on your motorcycle, you take all safety precautions possible.
Contact Our New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you or someone you know has been cited for failure to wear a properly authorized helmet while operating a motorcycle, or any other motorcycle related infraction of offense, contact a Franklinville, NJ motorcycle accident attorney Jerry Friedman by calling 1-800-529-4464. Jerry Friedman handles in cases involving motorcycles and may be able to assist you with your case.