Does Utah law require motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet?
Utah does have a motorcycle helmet law on the books, but it is not the catch-all variety of helmet law that many other states' legislatures have passed. In Utah, helmet use is only required for motorcycle operators and passengers who are under the age of 18. (In contrast, "universal" helmet laws require anyone riding on a motorcycle to wear a helmet, regardless of age.)
Here's what the specific language of Utah's motorcycle helmet law says: "A person under the age of 18 may not operate or ride on a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle on a highway unless the person is wearing protective headgear which complies with" federal safety regulations adopted by the state.
For more safety regulations tips for riders in Utah, check out the Motorcyclist Safety Page from the Utah Department of Public Safety.
Utah adds a few wrinkles to its motorcycle helmet statute (which you can find online atUtah Code section 41-6a-1505). The first says that anyone who is issued a moving violation while on a motorcycle will be granted an $8 waiver of any resulting fine if the person was over 18 and was wearing a helmet at the time they were ticketed. In other words, it's a small financial incentive to wear a helmet even when Utah law doesn't require you to do so.
The second wrinkle in Utah's motorcycle helmet law would come into play if you got into a motorcycle accident and filed a personal injury lawsuit against another driver. If you weren't wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, in many states that fact could affect your legal position, since failure to wear a helmet could be considered negligence, especially if you're seeking compensation for head injuries.
But in Utah, the motorcycle helmet statute (again, it's online at Utah Code section 41-6a-1505) specifically says that this kind of evidence is not in play in an injury lawsuit: "The failure to wear protective headgear: (a) does not constitute contributory or comparative negligence on the part of a person seeking recovery for injuries; and (b) may not be introduced as evidence in any civil litigation on the issue of negligence, injuries, or the mitigation of damages."