According to Georgia Department of Transportation’s 2008 Crash Analysis, Statistics & Information Notebook, there were more than 4,000 motorcycle accidents in the state in 2006 (the most recent data available). Nearly 200 of those resulted in fatalities. In 2000, 3.9 percent of all crash fatalities involved a motorcycle. Just six years later, a whopping 8.69 percent involved them. In total, from 2000 to 2006, there were 774 motorcycle accident fatalities and 15,292 injuries. 

The Georgia State Helmet Law 

To prevent these unfortunate motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities, Georgia has enacted a state helmet law, prohibiting anyone from driving or riding on a motorcycle without protective headgear and eyewear. This is called a universal helmet law. Currently, 19 states (plus the District of Columbia) have a universal helmet law on the books; 28 states have only a partial helmet law, which requires only some drivers or riders to wear protective helmets. There are three states (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire) that have no helmet laws at all. 

Specifically, the Georgia state helmet law states: 

  • no one can operate or ride on a motorcycle or motorbike without a helmet;
  • to protect the rider’s eyes, a motorcycle must be equipped with a windshield, or the rider must wear protective eyewear; and
  • the commissioner of public safety can approve helmets and eyewear, as well as publish lists of approved safety gear. 

Because there is no statewide testing facility, there has never been a published list of state-approved helmets. According to the commissioner of public safety, though, the helmet should have a smooth outer surface and have a minimum level of shock absorbency. The U.S. Department of Transportation stipulates the absorbency should allow the rider to suffer no more than 400 Gs of impact during a motorcycle accident. 

The Georgia state helmet law, which was enacted in 1969, carries with it a $15 fine when violated. Any rider or driver seen without a helmet can be pulled over and issued a citation by a state police officer. 

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Sheryl L. Burke
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Atlanta Injury Attorney