Riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating, and it can even save money on gasoline. However, it is imperative for all motorcycle riders in Kentucky to know the laws surrounding the safe operation of these vehicles. Here, we want to review the Kentucky law regarding motorcycle helmet usage.
Under Kentucky law, the only group required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle are riders under the age of 21. Additionally, any person who is operating a motorcycle with a permit or who has had a motorcycle license for less than a year is required to wear a helmet, regardless of their age.
Many states have implemented universal helmet laws that are put in place regardless of the age of the rider. However, that is not currently up for debate in Kentucky, and it is likely that the current law will remain in place for a while.
Data presented by the CDC shows that motorcycle helmets are incredible safety devices when it comes to motorcyclists and the roadway. During a recent reporting year, the CDC estimates that nearly 2,000 lives were saved as a result of helmet usage across the country. However, they stated that about 750 more lives could have been saved if every motorcyclist had been wearing a helmet that year.
Helmets are the number one way to prevent facial injuries as well as traumatic brain injuries that are much more likely to occur to motorcyclists than any other motorists on the roadway. Motorcyclists have very little protection from the force of another vehicle slamming into them or from the force of the roadway as a secondary impact.
Another important reason to wear a motorcycle helmet, particularly if the law requires you to do so, has to do with the comparative negligence laws in Kentucky. In the event a person who is supposed to wear a motorcycle helmet does not wear one and then sustains a head or facial injury in an accident caused by another party, there is a chance that the total compensation recovery could be reduced. If the person is supposed to wear a helmet and does not, then the injuries they sustain in an accident could be construed as partially their fault because they did not take steps to mitigate the injury when required to do so by law.
However, this comparative negligence shift in fault will likely not apply to those who are not required to wear a helmet under the law (anyone 21 years of age or older).
If you are a motorcyclist and have been injured due to the negligent actions of another driver in Kentucky, we encourage you to reach out to an motorcycle accident attorney immediately. Regardless of whether or not you were wearing a helmet, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer needs to examine your case and help you determine the best path forward for your claim.