Overview of Ohio Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Motorcycling is a favorite hobby and economical mode of transportation. And, of course, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of riding your bike down scenic roads in Ohio, like just outside Massillon on Route 93. Whether you are a new or seasoned rider, you’ll need to make sure you are well informed about traffic laws for motorcycles, including the rules about helmets.

Ohio Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Ohio has relatively loose helmet requirements. They are detailed in Ohio Revised Code, Title XLV, Chapter 4511, Section 4511.53. Most riders are not required to wear them. Common causes of motorcycle accidents are drunk driving and road rage, so bikers should bear in mind that statistically it is likely that your motorcycle crash will be a violent one.

The only people who need to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle are the following.

  • Novice riders: When you first obtain your motorcycle license, you will have a “novice” designation on your card. The word “novice” will be removed one year after issuance.
  • Riders under 18 years old
  • Passengers on motorcycles when the rider is required to wear a helmet

Note, helmets may not be required, but protective eyewear is. Also, earplugs are prohibited, but there are no restrictions on helmet speakers.

Another interesting motorcycle statute unique to Ohio is 4511.53(B), which basically provides that if a rider doesn’t wear a helmet, the violation cannot be used against her in a personal injury civil action.

In some states, if a rider is injured or killed in a motorcycle accident and isn’t wearing a helmet, her settlement might be reduced because the insurer will say that the rider is partly responsible for the injuries since she wasn’t wearing a helmet. Fortunately for riders in Ohio, this state doesn’t apportion liability based on helmet use.

Even if it’s Not Required, Wear One Regardless

So, helmets aren’t required for all riders in Ohio, and you can’t be held at fault in a civil action if you don’t wear one. Does that mean you shouldn’t worry about wearing one? Not in the slightest. Helmets save lives. Period. Sure, they may be hot or cumbersome at times, but your life is worth the inconvenience of wearing one.

“Wearing a helmet is the single most effective way of reducing head injuries and fatalities resulting from motorcycle and bicycle crashes,” explains the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, wearing a helmet decreases your risk and severity of injuries by roughly 70 percent, and reduces your chances of the fatality by 40 percent, according to the WHO.

For more interesting articles, you are welcomed to check out Attorney David Bressman’s blog. And for legal advice related to a motorcycle accident, you can call the office at (614) 538-1116 to schedule a free consultation.