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Do I Need to Wear a Helmet in Maryland?

The answer to whether you must wear a helmet in Maryland may be yes or no. It depends on your age, and whether you are riding a bicycle or a motorcycle.

Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. These are called “universal helmet laws.” Another 28 states require only some motorcyclists to wear a helmet. There are some laws on the books that include helmet use for low-power cycles, which are generally considered a cycle with:

  • Engine displacement at or less than 50 cubic centimeters
  • Horsepower of two or less
  • Top speed not greater than 30 mph

Regardless of the law, using a helmet can help reduce your risk of serious injury. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS), helmets can be about 37% effective in preventing death in a motorcycle accident, and they are around 67% effective in preventing a brain injury.

Here’s a look at Maryland’s current helmet laws:

Maryland Motorcycle Helmet Law

Maryland has a universal helmet law in effect since 1992, so all riders must have an approved helmet. The state also has a law regarding low-power cycles. Any low-power cycle that has an engine displacement over 50cc and can go faster than 30 mph are subject to the helmet law for those over 18 years old. For riders who are 18 or younger, all low-power cycles are covered by the motorcycle helmet law.

There are some important things to keep in mind with purchasing a helmet. If you need to communicate with someone else, a Bluetooth helmet is probably the safest option. Open-faced helmets are typically considered to be the most comfortable, although they do not offer any facial protection. A helmet with a retractable face shield offers protection from road hazards and bugs that fly through the air.

Maryland’s Bicycle Helmet Law

If you are riding a bicycle, the state requires all bicyclists to wear a helmet if they are under the age of 16 and riding on public property. This includes roads, sidewalks, and trails. Some areas, like Sykesville, require anyone riding a bicycle to wear a helmet, regardless of age, while Montgomery County only requires anyone under 18 to wear one.

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration, the use of a bicycle helmet can reduce injury by 85%, but the helmet must also fit well to be of any benefit.

Does the Failure to Wear a Helmet Hurt My Personal Injury Case?

In theory, not wearing a helmet will not hurt your personal injury case. Although you are legally obligated to wear one, it will not prove contributory negligence on your part if you are injured in an accident that was not your fault.

Retaining a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

In the event you have been in an accident on, or with, a bicycle or motorcycle, it is important to retain a knowledgeable Maryland personal injury attorney. The Law Office of Robert R. Castro has experience handling all types of personal injury matters, including vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle accidents.

This article has been provided by Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions contact our office to speak to an experienced lawyer at (301)870-1200.

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