Ohio’s Motorcycle Helmet Law

Riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car. They are less stable than a car during maneuvers such as emergency braking and swerving. They are also less visible on the road. Moreover, when they crash they lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle so the driver and passenger are more likely to be injured or killed. The federal government estimates that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 37 percent. Unhelmeted drivers are 3 times more likely than helmeted ones to sustain traumatic brain injuries in a crash. If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, call the team of motorcycle accident lawyers at Sawan & Sawan. 

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ORC 4511.43

Similar to most states, Ohio has a statutory motorcycle helmet law found at O R C 4511.53. It is not universal  and does not always require the riders to wear a helmet. It states:
“No person who is under the age of eighteen, or holds a motorcycle operator’s endorsement or license bearing a “novice” designation that is currently in effect…, shall  operate a motorcycle on the highway, or be a passenger on a motorcycle, unless wearing a protective helmet on the person’s head, and no other person shall be a passenger on a motorcycle operated by such a person unless similarly wearing a protective helmet.”
Basically, this statute requires a minor rider and passenger to wear a helmet while riding on a motorcycle. It excludes adults. In many states, non-use of a helmet might have a negative effect on any personal injury lawsuit. That does not, however, apply in Ohio. While Ohio requires use of a helmet for minors, an adult’s non-use of the helmet can not be used against them in the trial of a civil case. There simply is no duty on the part of the rider to anticipate another’s negligence and to protect oneself by wearing a helmet. 

Finally, violation of the motorcycle helmet law is a minor misdemeanor. The level of misdemeanor will increase if the offender has previously violated the law. 

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Dennis P. Sawan


Licensed in Ohio and Georgia


Christopher A. Sawan


Licensed in Ohio and Michigan

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