Stay Legal and Safe: Always Wear a Motorcycle Helmet When You Ride

Young biker holds his helmet while seated on his motorcycleAlaska requires motorcycle riders under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. Riders 18 years of age and older don’t have to wear a helmet under Alaska law as long as they’re licensed to operate a motorcycle. Helmets are also required for passengers riding on the back of the motorcycle, regardless of age, and for riders of any age operating a motorcycle under an instructional permit.

Always Wear a Helmet

According to studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmet use is a significant factor in determining fatality rates of motorcycle accident victims. Helmets decrease motorcyclist crash fatalities by 37 percent, resulting in approximately 2,000 lives saved each year. Based on these findings, NHTSA has encouraged all 50 states to enact motorcycle safety legislation mandating helmets for all riders.

Consequences of Riding Without a Helmet

If you choose to leave your helmet at home, you’re risking both severe injury and partial liability for the harm you’ve suffered. If you’re required to wear a helmet and choose not to, and your injuries were caused or worsened by the lack of proper headgear, a civil jury may conclude that you’ve been negligent. Consequently, they might determine that you’re partly to blame for your injuries, and should therefore bear some financial responsibility, as well.

Comparative Fault

If you’re required to wear a motorcycle helmet and fail to do so, and you’re injured in an accident, you could have a difficult fight on your hands. Alaska courts follow a rule known as “pure comparative fault,” whereby fault for the accident is shared among multiple parties. Each individual is assigned a certain percentage of the blame, thereby reducing any damages award he may receive.

For example, if you’re deemed to be 40% to blame for your injuries, and your damages award is $10,000, you will only receive $6,000 under Alaska’s “pure comparative fault” rule.

You Need an Attorney

If you’ve been injured by another person’s negligent behavior while riding a motorcycle, you’re entitled to compensation. For more information on protecting your rights, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.