There is nothing like coasting the highway on your bike, whether it is a relaxing cruise with your friends or a thrilling ride on your own. There is also nothing like a severe brain injury that can leave you permanently disabled. Wearing a helmet while riding your motorcycle may not always be cool or convenient, but it makes a significant difference in your safety. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Highway Loss Data Institute, helmets prevent brain damage 67 percent of the time.
Louisiana law on motorcycle helmets
Louisiana law states that everyone must wear a helmet to either operate or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, motorized bike or motor-driven cycle. The law defines approved protective headgear as containing a visor, padding, lining and a chin strap, which the wearer must secure while riding.
There are two exceptions to the rule. If you will be riding in a parade or other public exhibition, you may receive from the local police an exemption permit valid only during the event. The other is when your bike has supports that provide just as much safety as or more than a helmet, roll bar or roll cage. However, Louisiana does not make exceptions to the helmet law for such factors as age, insurance policy or motorcycle type.
Other motorcycle safety laws to know
In addition to the helmet law, Louisiana has safety laws pertaining to other aspects of motorcycle riding. These include the following:
- Wearing safety glasses, face shields or goggles unless your motorcycle has a high windshield or an enclosed cab
- Not wearing tinted protective eyewear at night
- Riding on a permanent seat with the proper number of people on the seat and one leg on each side of the bike
- Not carrying anything that prohibits the use of two hands
- Not transporting any child who should still be in a car seat
It may not be law, but it is smart to also wear other protective gear, such as a leather jacket or gloves, to avoid additional bodily harm.
Responding to a ccident and injury
Although the legal penalty for not wearing protective headgear is only $50, the physical consequences can be far worse. However, a helmet does not offer a 100 percent guarantee of protection. You may still get injured in the head, not to mention other body parts, if another motorist hits you. Seek medical treatment immediately, and then call a personal injury lawyer to help you obtain financial compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages and other related expenses.