Understanding California’s Motorcycle Helmet Law

When a Helmet Must Be Worn | Helmet Requirements

Understanding California's Motorcycle Helmet LawStatistics show that riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous that traveling in a passenger vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded that approximately four of every five motorcycle crashes result in death or serious injury. Studies also show that the right type of helmet can significantly reduce your risk of death or serious injury if you’re involved in an accident.

Under California law, all motorcycle operators and passengers must wear a helmet. The operator of a bike may receive a ticket if a passenger is not wearing a legal helmet, and a helmeted passenger may be cited for riding with an un-helmeted driver. California’s statute mandates that the helmet is worn properly on the head, with all chin straps securely fastened. Furthermore, the helmet must be tight enough to reasonably limit excessive movement.

In California, a motorcycle helmet must meet these minimum legal requirements:

  • The helmet must comply with federal weight standards, which require a minimum weight of three pounds.
  • The chin straps on the helmet must be made of sturdy material and attached to the helmet with solid rivets.
  • The helmet must have an inner liner made of polystyrene foam, with a minimum thickness of one inch.
  • The helmet may not have any object or item protruding more than one-fifth of an inch from its outer shell.

All helmets that meet California safety standards should have a sticker attached indicating compliance.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg for Experienced Legal Counsel

At the law office of Weber & Nierenberg, we have successfully represented motorcycle accident victims in California for decades. We understand the serious nature of injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents, as well as the common causes of motorcycle wrecks. Contact our office online or call us at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

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Santa Monica Tightens Reins on Motor Scooters

Man driving on scooter

In the aftermath of an accident involving a woman on an electric scooter in early January, city officials in Santa Monica have issued a statement, both reinforcing existing regulations and warning scooter operators about the potential risk involved with unlicensed scooter operators. City officials said they look forward to working with any new companies that enter the scooter rental business, but worry that some of them don’t have effective policies in place to protect riders.

The woman who was injured was apparently riding the scooter without a helmet, and sustained serious injury when she collided with a car. The company that leased the motor scooter to her has launched an application that allows people to pay for a scooter by the minute. Officials say the company had not obtained a valid business license and could not operate its vehicles on public roads.

The city’s statement re-emphasized existing laws that apply to motorized scooters in California:

  • Anyone on a scooter must be wearing a helmet when the bike is moving
  • A person cannot operate a scooter without a valid drivers license or without an instruction permit
  • Passengers are not allowed on a motorized scooter
  • Scooter operators may not ride on sidewalks at any time, only on the road
  • A person may only operate a scooter at night if it has lights and visible reflectors
    • Contact the Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

      To arrange a private consultation with experienced California motorcycle and motor scooter injury lawyers, contact our office online or call us at 1-866-288-6010. We bring more than 30 years of experience to every case we handle. We handle each case and each client differently, learning as much as we can about what happened to you and what you need to move forward with your life. We take a highly personalized approach, with one of our partners working directly with you at all times.

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