Motorcycles are a fun and popular form of transportation and are frequently seen on
Maryland’s roadways. But without the metal body of the car for protection,
motorcycle riders are much more exposed and likely to suffer serious injury
or death during an accident. Helmet use is an extremely effective way
to reduce injuries, and Maryland law makes helmets mandatory for motorcyclists
on public roads.
Benefits of Helmets
Wearing a helmet is the most effective way to reduce the risk of serious
injury in a motorcycle accident. According to a study by the World Health
helmet use decreases the risk of serious injury in a motorcycle accident by 70% and
reduces the risk of death by 40%.
Without protective headgear, motorcyclists involved in crashes are much
more likely to die or suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI effects
can include loss of cognitive or sensory function, memory loss, mental
illness, coma, or death. Symptoms can persist for months or years or can
even be permanent. TBI can also result in long-term medical costs and
loss of income.
Maryland has a universal
motorcycle helmet law, meaning that anyone on a motorcycle, whether operating the vehicle or
passenger, must wear protective headgear. Additionally, the helmet must
conform with standards set by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
(MVA). The MVA publishes a list of approved helmets.
If the helmet does not cover the rider’s eyes, and if the motorcycle
is not equipped with a windscreen, the motorcyclist must wear additional
eye protection in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration’s
impact resistance regulations. The rider must fasten the helmet’s
chinstraps at all times.
The same rules generally apply to riders of
motor scooters or mopeds. However, their helmets must conform to federal standards, rather than
MVA standards, though the MVA does publish a list of approved headgear.
In Maryland, the doctrine of
contributory negligence generally means that if an accident victim contributes in any way to the
accident, he or she can be held contributorily negligent and will be totally
barred from recovery. For example, a pedestrian who fails to look both
ways while crossing a street or a driver who speeds may be contributorily
negligent if his or her careless behavior was a partial cause of the accident.
Maryland’s helmet law also states that the failure to wear a helmet
cannot be used as evidence of negligence or contributory negligence. The
at-fault party’s liability will not be limited, and the victim’s
recovery of damages will not be diminished. Other drivers still have the
duty to safely operate their vehicles.
In a civil personal injury suit, Maryland law prohibits merely making reference
to a helmet during a trial, unless the case is a products liability case
against a manufacturer for a defective helmet or headgear.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, please call the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.