Wearing a helmet on a motorcycle can protect your head in case of an accident, and in Nevada, it’s legally required for drivers and passengers on motorcycles, mopeds, and trimobiles that have handlebars and saddle seats. The only time helmets are not required on three-wheeled vehicles is if they have a steering wheel and enclosed cab. This law was passed in 2019 in the Nevada Legislature.
According to the CDC, helmets saved nearly 2,000 lives in motorcycle crashes in 2016 in the United States. Wearing a helmet on a motorcycle reduces the odds of a head injury by almost 70% and the odds of death in an accident by 39%. These laws were put into place to keep motorcyclists safe on the road, and it’s in your best interest to wear one when riding at all times.
Which Types of Helmets Are Required in Nevada?
When driving or riding on a motorcycle, moped, or trimobile, your helmet must meet the standards set by the NHTSA. Helmets that meet these standards include those that have approximately one inch of polystyrene foam within a hard outer shell. They are also usually about three pounds in weight, and they must have sturdy chinstraps to keep them fastened to your head. Helmets that only cover the top part of your head and fail to protect the sides are almost never compliant with these standards.
Helmets that comply with these FMVSS 218 regulations are signified with the letters “DOT” on the back, but unfortunately, some retailers either sell stickers to place on non-complying helmets, or they put them on non-compliant helmets that they sell in their stores. For this reason, we recommend finding helmets that also come with a label stating they are compliant with Snell or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as well.
Are Goggles Also Required?
According to NRS §486.231, drivers and riders of motorcycles must also wear goggles, glasses, or face shield attachments to their helmets if their motorcycle, moped, or trimobile doesn’t have a windshield or windscreen on it. The only exception to this rule is if a motorcyclist and/or passenger is involved in a parade that is authorized by a local authority. In all other cases, eye protection, whether in the form of windshields, eyewear, or face shield attachments, is required by law.
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What Happens if You Get Caught Without a Helmet While Riding Your Motorcycle?
Failing to wear a proper helmet when driving or riding on a motorcycle is considered a minor offense, and it carries a misdemeanor fine. In some cities, such as Las Vegas, this fee is $205 per offense. This offense also provides two demerit points on your record from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. Obtaining 12 or more points within a 12-month period results in an automatic suspension of your license for six months.
If a person chooses not to wear a motorcycle helmet and is also engaging in reckless driving, speeding, and/or impeding traffic, those points can add up quickly. Plus, some judges in Nevada will issue bench warrants if this is not a person’s first offense, they do not pay their fines, or if they fail to show up in court. In these cases, it’s best to speak with a lawyer right away to help you navigate potential legal challenges.
Can You Challenge a Charge of Not Wearing a Helmet on a Motorcycle in Nevada?
Yes, there are a few instances where it may be in your best interest to challenge your charge in the court system with the help of a qualified motorcycle attorney. If you were operating a motorcycle, or another similar vehicle, on a private road instead of a public road, you may be able to have your charges dropped. Another instance where you should challenge your charge is if you were riding a bike or using another vehicle that does not legally require the use of a helmet.
Finally, if you were falsely accused of not wearing a motorcycle helmet, a lawyer can help you gather evidence to prove that you were not operating a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. Challenging your case with an excellent attorney may also result in reduced charges if a judge decides not to drop them altogether.
Can You Sue Another Driver for Injuring You on the Road Even if You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet?
Yes, you can sue another driver that hits you while you are on your motorcycle even if you were not wearing a helmet during the accident, but chances are high that you will not receive nearly as much compensation as you would if you had taken proper precautions and used a helmet. This is especially true if you were to sustain a head injury during the accident, as a helmet could have provided a degree of protection and reduced the severity or prevented the injury altogether.
Either way, if another driver causes an accident with you involving injuries, it’s vital that you contact a trusted motor vehicle attorney right away. In Nevada, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. This seems like a long time to some, but various logistical processes can cause the necessary steps to take much longer than anticipated.
Don’t delay and get caught unable to file a claim, as this hampers your ability to get the compensation you may need to help you recover from your injuries.
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Motorcycle accidents can be complex and overwhelming, but you don’t have to face the legal system alone. Contact the team at Pacific West Injury Law today for a free consultation, and get in touch with trusted and accomplished attorneys that will fight for you.