Under California Vehicular Code 27803, it is unlawful to operate or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, motorized cycle or motorized bicycle without a helmet. Depending on the jurisdiction, penalties may range from a $10 fine and proof of correction to a $250 fine and one-year probation. Helmet laws in California are intended to provide everyone with additional safety benefits when using these motorized vehicles. Head trauma accounts for most of the severe and fatal injuries suffered by motorcyclists.
Riding helmets in California
According to the California Department of Transportation, most crashes occur on trips shorter than 5 miles while traveling less than 30 miles per hour. Wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk and potential severity of suffering a head injury. State law requires the head to be securely fastened in by helmet straps that minimize vertical and lateral movement. The helmet must show certification from the manufacturer that it was built in compliance with U.S. DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218.
Motorcycle crashes in California
The California Highway Patrol found that over 85% of the state’s motorcycle crashes reported result in injury or death. According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, around 5% of motorcycle crashes involving an injury result in death. Averaging around 500 motorcycle fatalities each year makes California one of the most dangerous states for riders. The California Office of Traffic Safety reported that 6% of motorcycle deaths are attributed to riders not wearing helmets.
California is the state with the most motorcycle riders and motorcycle crashes. The state averages over 15,000 motorcycle accidents each year, and the summer months have the highest rates of motorcycle accidents, injuries and fatalities.