| Read Time: 3 minutes | Motorcycle Accidents
motorcycle laws new york

Anyone who has been on a motorcycle in or around New York understands the dangers involved.

While riding a motorcycle is a preferred method of getting from one place to another for many people, it’s important to understand the safety rules.

A rider’s failure to follow motorcycle laws in New York can put their life on the line.

Additionally, failing to follow New York State motorcycle laws may impact an injured rider’s ability to recover compensation through an accident lawsuit.

If you still have questions regarding motorcycle laws in New York, contact our Long Island motorcycle accident attorney at the Law Offices of Theodore A. Naima. We are ready to help you!

New York Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Wearing a helmet has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of serious injury or death in an accident. So, what are New York motorcycle helmet laws?

In 2004, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration published a report concluding that motorcycle helmets are 37% effective at preventing fatal injuries following an accident.

It has been estimated that motorcycle helmets saved more than 25,000 lives from 2002 to 2017.

More recently, the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs released a similar study.

This report indicates that states with helmet laws have a 33% lower head-related fatality rate than states without helmet laws. Helmets save lives.

These motorcycle helmet safety statistics form the basis for our state’s helmet laws, as detailed in New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 381(6).

New York is one of 18 states where all motorcyclists, regardless of age, must wear a helmet.

Additionally, motorcycle helmets must comply with the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard outlined in 49 CFR 571.218.

What If A Rider Is Hurt in an Accident While Not Wearing a Helmet?

Motorcyclists injured in a collision can pursue a motorcycle accident lawsuit against the party responsible for their injuries.

However, a rider’s decision not to wear a helmet can, in certain circumstances, reduce a rider’s ability to recover compensation for their injuries.

This is because New York’s comparative fault law allows a judge or jury to reduce an accident victim’s damages award by their percentage of fault.

In the context of motorcycle accidents, not wearing a helmet can be considered “negligence” on the part of a rider.

However, not wearing a helmet does not automatically impact a motorcycle accident lawsuit.

Instead, the at-fault motorist must prove that a rider’s failure to wear a helmet contributed to their injuries.

For example, if a motorcyclist suffered two broken legs after an accident, it is unlikely that a helmet would have prevented their injuries.

On the other hand, suppose a rider suffers a traumatic brain injury following an accident.

In this case, the driver causing the collision may have an easier time proving that the rider’s injuries would have been less severe if they had worn a helmet.

Injured in a New York Motorcycle Accident? Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today

If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident—regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet or not—it is important you reach out to an experienced lawyer to discuss your rights.

At the Law Offices of Theodore A. Naima, we proudly represent accident victims in all types of motorcycle accident lawsuits.

Our founding attorney, Theodore A. Naima, has 25 years of litigation experience. He knows what it takes to successfully bring a claim on behalf of an injured rider.

To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, call 516-980-2485 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.


The information provided on this page speaks in general terms. Of course, there are often exceptions that apply in certain situations. For a complete list of all exceptions please consult the Consolidated Laws of New York. Attorney Naima is also happy to answer any questions you have about your injuries or ability to pursue a claim against the responsible party.

Author Photo

Theodore A. Naima

Theodore A. Naima is the founding partner of the Law Offices of Theodore A. Naima, a Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Law Firm based in New York. In 2015, Ted was awarded the prestigious AV Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, the company that has long been recognized as setting the gold standard for lawyer ratings, signifying the highest degree of peer recognition and professional excellence.

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