Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Virginia and North Carolina

Are you and your helmet compliant with the motorcycle helmet laws in Virginia and North Carolina? Find out by familiarizing yourself with the relevant statutes.

motorcycle helmet

Virginia Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Virginia’s motorcycle helmet laws can be found instate statute 46.2-910. They require every person operating or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle or autocycle to wear a helmet and use some type of eye protection, which may include:

  • Face shields
  • Safety goggles
  • Having their motorcycle equipped with safety glass or a windshield

The only exception are riders or passengers on motorcycles with wheel diameters less than eight inches or on three-wheeled motorcycles with enclosed bodies and windshields.

The face shield, safety goggles or windshield must meet or exceed the standards set by either the:

  • Snell Memorial Foundation
  • American National Standards Institute, Inc.
  • Federal Department of Transportation

The statute explicitly states that not wearing a face shield, safety goggles, helmet or failing to use a helmet “shall not constitute negligence per se in any civil proceeding.”

That means if another driver hits you with their car while you’re riding and you’re not wearing the proper safety devices, they can’t use that fact on its own to claim you were the one being negligent.

North Carolina Motorcycle Helmet Laws

North Carolina’s motorcycle helmet laws can be found instate statute 20-140.4. State law requires motorcycle or moped riders and passengers on highways or public vehicular areas to wear safety helmets (secured with a retention strap) that meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. The law does not require the helmet becertified as compliant with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218, just that the helmet be compliant.

You can find more information about North Carolina’s motorcycle helmet regulations on theSafety Helmet Law page of North Carolina’s DMV website.

Like Virginia, North Carolina’s statute also has language indicating failure to follow this requirement “shall not be considered negligence per se or contributory negligence per se in any civil action.”

Contributory negligence is a defense strategy where the insurance company argues the plaintiff is at least partially responsible for their own injuries.

If someone in a car hits you while you’re riding a motorcycle and you suffer a head injury because you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the collision, you could be ticketed for not wearing the helmet, but the defendant can’t say you were partially responsible for the accident due to your failure to wear the helmet.

Have You Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident With or Without a Helmet?

Although helmets are required by law in most states, your failure to wear one during an accident may not prevent you from collecting damages. Whether or not a helmet factors into your case depends on the specific details of your accident and the state’s interpretation of the relevant statutes and precedents.

The personal injury lawyers at the Motorcycle Law Group are all riders with extensive experience in auto accident injury cases and the unique complications inherent in motorcycle accidents. If you’ve been injured, consider requesting a free consultation from our Virginia and North Carolina lawyers by calling(855) 529-7433.