Wearing an illegal motorcycle helmet could come at a price


by Kyle McCarty

Do you know about the change in Washington’s motorcycle helmet law that went into effect last year?  If not, be advised:  Wearing an illegal helmet may not only compromise your safety, it could also take a chunk out of your wallet.

The ticket for wearing an illegal helmet?  $124.

Aiming to reduce the number of fatalities among motorcyclists, the Washington State Patrol is looking for riders wearing illegal helmets.

Helmet laws have been created to increase the safety of motorcycle riders and passengers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal motorcycle crashes have risen 50-percent since the late ’90s.

The “DOT” seal of approval is something to look for when shopping for motorcycle helmets.  Not all helmets have one.  A helmet with a DOT symbol means you have a high-quality motorcycle helmet that complies with US Department of Transportation construction standards.

On July 26th, 2009, Washington state revised its helmet law to reflect the federal motor vehicle standardWashington’s law now includes the following:

For purposes of this section, “motorcycle helmet” means a protective covering for the head consisting of a hard outer shell, padding adjacent to and inside the outer shell, and a neck or chin strap type retention system, with the manufacturer’s certification applied in accordance with 49 C.F.R. Sec. 571.218 indicating that the motorcycle helmet meets standards established by the United States department of transportation.

Simply stated, DOT helmets are much safer than novelty helmets.  Think you know the differences between a DOT helmet and a novelty one?  Check-out this pamphlet (pdf / 3.9 MB) to make certain that you do.  After all, it might not only save you money.  It could save your life.

For more information about this important topic, please click here.

3 Responses to Wearing an illegal motorcycle helmet could come at a price

  1. If you want to get rid of the helmet law once and for all, the power is in your hands.

  2. Kira29 says:

    everybody that use a bike knows that not wearing a standard helmet is illegal, but sometimes they get lazy to wear it (includes me)

    • Kyle McCarty says:

      @ Kira – I hear you -kind of. Sadly, some dealerships, motorcyclists, and others profess that ‘any’ helmet is a legal helmet. Not true.
      The (WA) law (RCW 46.37.530 ) is specific some legal –some not. There are huge differences between a novelty, DOT, SNELL, and/or ECE (Reg22) helmets.
      Helmets, like seatbelts, are often taken for granted and sometime forgotten about –UNTIL needed. Then, the rider wants ‘protection’. Sadly, a non-worn, non-secured, non-legal helmet can offer little -if any- protection when needed most.
      We all have choices… I choose to ‘gear-up’!
      (All the gear – all the time)

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