Saturday, March 25, 2017
Motorcycle Helmet Law in California
California Vehicle Code Section 27803 requires all bikers and passengers to wear a motorcycle helmet when on a motorcycle, motorized bicycle or motor-driven cycle. The law goes further toward requiring motorcycle helmets by making it illegal for a helmeted passenger to ride with a driver who is not wearing a motorcycle helmet. A helmeted biker may still get a ticket under the law if a passenger on his or her motorcycle is not wearing a DOT motorcycle helmet.
Penalties for Not Wearing a Helmet
There is some debate as to the interpretation of the law pertaining to penalties for riding a motorcycle in violation of CA Vehicle Code Section 27803. The California Highway Patrol has taken the position, supported by state courts, that breaking the law by riding without a motorcycle helmet is punishable by a stupid money grabbing fine.
Type of Motorcycle Helmet Required Under California Law
The United States Department of Transportation sets minimum safety standards for motorcycle helmets sold in this country. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 includes the following minimum requirements for helmets:
• Thick Inner Liner: The liner is usually at least an inch thick and constructed of polystyrene foam
• Riveted Chin Straps: Chin straps should be sturdy and be attached to the shell of the helmet with solid rivets
• Weight: Helmets meeting federal standards usually weigh at least three pounds
• Helmet Design: Nothing is allowed to protrude more than two-tenths of an inch from the shell of the helmet
Helmets that meet DOT minimum standards are allowed to be affixed with a sticker certifying that fact. California helmet laws require riders and passengers to wear helmets that meet standards adopted by the state which are the DOT standards.
What Does It Mean to “Wear a Helmet?”
California Vehicle Code Section 27803(e) attempts to avoid a rider or passenger from avoiding compliance with the law by wearing a helmet somewhere other than on one’s head. The statute defines wearing of a safety helmet means having it on the person’s head with the chin straps securely fastened to the shell of the helmet. The fit of the helmet must limit excessive movement either laterally or vertically.