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What are the motorcycle helmet laws in West Virginia?


Motorcycle accidents could include some of the most serious injuries of all vehicle accidents. Due to that fact, concerns regarding motorcycle safety are at the top of the list for motorcyclists in West Virginia and all across the nation. When a motorcycle collision happens, a rider could suffer a serious or fatal head or neck injury. Because motorcycles do not include the same safety features as other motor vehicles, helmets are worn to protect the heads of riders. Wearing helmets save lives, and helmet laws have been enacted to ensure these safety devices are properly used.

What are the helmet laws in West Virginia? Since 1971, the state of West Virginia has been enforcing the universal helmet law. This means that it is mandatory for everyone to wear a helmet while traveling on a motorcycle. How does this differ from partial helmet laws? Partial helmet laws usually only require those under the age of 21 to wear a helmet. In addition, if a rider does not carry a certain amount of liability insurance, they could also be required to wear a helmet.

Do universal helmet laws save more lives? According to studies reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is clear evidence that universal helmet laws save more lives than partial laws. In addition, as helmet use increases, the rates of fatal injury to riders involved in an accident decreases. According to a 2010 study, 36 lives per 100,00 registered motorcycles are saved each year in states enforcing universal helmet laws as compared to only 10 lives in partial helmet states.

Although helmets have been demonstrated to save lives and reduce the chances of a serious head injury, these do not stop motorcycle accidents from occurring. A motorcycle accident could still result in injuries that need to be addressed, and when another driver is at fault, victims should understand that they have rights and options. A personal injury claim could help them recover compensation for the losses and damages suffered in the incident.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety," accessed March 9, 2015

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Stephen P. New, Attorney at Law
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Beckley, WV 25801

Phone: 304-250-3280
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