Every year new and veteran motorcyclists take to the roads as spring weather arrives. Tens of thousands of Kentucky residents will dust off their bikes to experience the freedom and exhilaration that can only be experienced on the back of a motorcycle. Spring is when the number of motorcyclists on the road hits its peak, and with this increase also comes an increase in motorcycle accidents. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 60% of all motorcycle accident fatalities occur between the months of May and September.
If you or a loved one were injured in a Kentucky motorcycle crash without helmets, you likely have some questions about what may affect your accident claim. In this blog, we discuss Kentucky’s motorcycle helmet laws and how the failure to obey these laws may affect your motorcycle accident claim.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents have increased over the past few years, almost doubling each year compared to a few decades ago. Many factors may contribute to a motorcycle accident, but some of the most common causes include:
Is Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet Illegal?
Since 2000, Kentucky law states that motorcyclists over the age of 21 are not required to wear a helmet while riding. However, there are a few caveats to this law which include:
- Any motorcyclists under the age of 21 must wear a Department of Safety-approved helmet whether they are operating the motorcycle or riding as a passenger.
- Anyone, regardless of age, who has only a motorcycle instruction permit must wear a helmet until an official license is obtained.
- Anyone, regardless of age, who has had a motorcycle operator’s permit for less than one year must wear a helmet.
Anyone who does not fall into these categories is not legally required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Kentucky passed a universal helmet law in 1968, but that law was amended in 2000 to include only the three above categories.
Why You Should Consider Wearing a Helmet
There are many reasons why choosing to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle is a good idea. The most obvious reason is that it protects your head and neck and keeps you safe in the event of an accident. Injuries sustained from motorcycle crashes without helmets are often extremely serious and require extensive medical attention, which can quickly become expensive. Wearing a helmet could be the difference between walking away from an accident with minor injuries or being permanently disabled or even killed. Some of the most common injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Damage to internal organs
- Loss of limbs
- Significant disfigurement
There’s more to consider than your own safety, however. When pursuing an accident claim after a motorcycle accident, you may be found contributorily negligent if you were not wearing a helmet when the accident took place. Even if you are not included in one of the three categories that are legally required to wear a helmet, a court may rule that your negligence is responsible for a majority of the accident. If you are found to be more than 50% at-fault for the accident, your claim may even be denied. This, coupled with your own safety, is the reason why you should consider wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle. However, if you are not wearing a helmet you still have a strong personal injury claim because you are not breaking Kentucky state law.
Contact a Western Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Rhoads & Rhoads has over 150 years of combined experience and will help walk you through the legal process while getting you the compensation you deserve.
You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling our office at 888-709-9329, or you can schedule a consultation online here.