Does Alabama have a helmet law for motorcycle riders?
Yes. Like a lot of states, Alabama has a very broad motorcycle helmet law on the books, which requires the wearing of "protective headgear" by anyone operating or riding upon a motorcycle in the state, regardless of how old the rider or passenger might be. You can find this law at Code of Alabama section 32-5A-245.
"Protective headgear" means a helmet that meets certain requirements set out elsewhere in the state's laws -- Code of Alabama section 32-12-41 to be precise, which states in part that the helmet must:
1) be specifically designed for motorcycle riders and passengers
2) include a hard exterior shell of "non-shatterable" material and a shock-absorbent cradle that maintains separation between the head and the outer shell
3) include absorbent padding of "substantial thickness," and
4) feature a permanent and fully adjustable chin strap.
So, what if a rider or passenger is in violation of Alabama's motorcycle helmet law -- meaning they're not wearing a helmet of any kind -- and they end up getting injured in a motorcycle accident? Even when the accident was pretty clearly the other driver's fault, the rider or passenger may have a tough time getting fair compensation for any head injuries suffered in the accident.
This is especially true in Alabama, where the state's strict "contributory negligence" rules make it impossible to collect any compensation at all in court if you're found to share any amount of blame for causing your own injuries. Violation of a helmet law would certainly qualify as shared fault (especially if you suffer head injuries as a result of the crash). To learn more about Alabama's shared fault rules, check out our Alabama Car Accident Laws article.
Learn more about How Helmet Laws Affect a Motorcycle Accident Case.
by: David Goguen, J.D.