Does Maine law require motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet?

Question

Does Maine law require motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet?

Answer

Maine does have a motorcycle helmet law on the books, but it is not the type of “universal” helmet law that a lot of states have passed. In Maine, only a few categories of motorcycle riders/passengers are required to wear a helmet.

Specifically, according to Maine Revised Statutes section 29-2083, you are required to wear a helmet on a motorcycle in Maine if:

1) you are under 18 years of age and you are operating a motorcycle

2) you are under 18 years of age and you are riding as a passenger on a motorcycle

3) you are operating a motorcycle under a learner's permit or within one year of successfully completing a driving test, or

4) you are riding as a passenger on a motorcycle that is being operated by someone who is required to wear a helmet. (In other words, if the person driving the motorcycle is legally required to wear a helmet, you need to be wearing one too under Maine law.)

Check out the full text of Maine’s motorcycle helmet law at Maine Revised Statutes section 29-2083.

If you violate Maine’s motorcycle helmet law as a rider or passenger, you’ll be cited for a traffic infraction. But if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident as a rider or passenger, it could end up costing you in a different way. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, any damages award you get could be reduced if the jury decides that your failure to wear a helmet played a part in causing your injuries, and that’s true even if the other driver is found to be at fault for causing the accident. Learn more about how Maine’s “comparative negligence” rule works in our article Maine Car Accident Laws.

by: David Goguen, J.D.

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