Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315, Georgia requires all motorcyclists to wear approved protective headgear. It also requires the Commissioner of Public Safety to provide a list of the qualifying helmets that meet this requirement. This law is in place to reduce the number of accident-related head injuries and deaths in Georgia motorcycle crashes.
Georgia’s motorcycle laws also call for anyone operating a motorcycle on state roads to have a current driver’s license and a motorcycle endorsement. Without this endorsement, it is not legal to ride a motorcycle in the state.
Georgia Helmet Laws for Motorcyclists
While there is no doubt that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of serious head injuries and save lives, many states allow some or all operators to choose whether they want to wear one or not. Certain states only require novice motorcyclists or those under a certain age to wear protective headgear. For example, South Carolina requires only riders under age 21 to wear a helmet.
In Georgia, however, all motorcyclists—including drivers and passengers—must wear a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet any time they are on a bike. If not, they could receive a ticket, which comes with a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, and other potential consequences, such as community service.
Of course, they also run a significant risk of suffering serious head and facial injuries if they crash, too. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are significantly more likely in accidents when the rider is not wearing a helmet. Many people suffer lasting impairments after this type of injury.
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What Helmets Meet the Standard Set by Georgia Motorcycle Laws?
According to Rule 570-13-.02 in Georgia, the motorcycle helmets that qualify to make the list published by the Commissioner of Public Safety must be DOT-approved. This means they meet the regulations set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218.
These helmets should have a DOT sticker on the back. However, these stickers are sometimes counterfeit. The best way to ensure you have an approved helmet is to purchase it from a trusted source, such as a bike shop.
Buying used helmets is also not a good idea. They could have damage you cannot see that keeps them from performing as well as they did previously. Always replace your helmet after a crash, even if you do not believe it suffered an impact.
Georgia Requires Eye Protection for Motorcycle Riders
Under Georgia’s motorcycle safety laws, you have three options for eye protection:
- A motorcycle equipped with a windshield
- Eye protection, such as goggles
- A full-face helmet with a visor that covers the eyes
This is a key part of preventing injuries and accidents. A bug, debris, or another item hitting a rider in the eye at speed can make it impossible to see and maintain control of a motorcycle.
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Georgia Motorcycle Driver’s License Endorsements
Georgia requires all motorcyclists to have an endorsement on their driver’s license. According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, there are two levels of endorsements:
- Class MP: The Motorcycle Instructional Permit. This allows riders to learn how to ride a motorcycle and gain experience. In general, you must be at least 17 years old. If 16 years old, you must have completed an approved driver’s education program for a Class D license. This permit allows the holder to ride alone with some limitations. These include riding without passengers and not riding on the interstate or after dark.
- Class M: The Motorcycles Endorsement. This is the full endorsement required for most motor-driven cycles, including three-wheeled motorcycles and other street-level motor vehicles with handlebars. All holders must be at least 17 years old.
As the popularity of mopeds increases on surface streets, it is important to know that they do not require a motorcycle endorsement. However, you must have a driver’s license to operate them on the road. The motorcycle endorsement is not necessary for any engine not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters (3.05 cubic inches) or that cannot go faster than 30 miles per hour.
Georgia Laws Protect Motorcyclists in Case of a Collision
In addition to laws that require helmets and other safety devices, Georgia law allows motorcyclists hurt in a crash caused by a driver’s carelessness to recover compensation. This may be possible through a car insurance claim or lawsuit. Our Atlanta motorcycle accident attorney can help you understand this process and navigate it on your behalf.
You may be able to get money to pay your damages, such as your medical bills, that can cover future treatment costs and replace your lost income, among other losses. You also may be able to recover your non-economic losses, such as the pain and suffering you endured after the accident.
Speak with Us About Your Crash Injuries Today
At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we provide crash victims with a free, confidential consultation to learn more about their rights. We want to discuss how our team may be able to help you hold the at-fault driver legally responsible and recover compensation on your behalf.
We are a contingency fee firm, which means we can start on your case without any upfront payment from you. Connect with our team today to get started.