We often have customers asking us at our motorcycle shops in Salt Lake City if Utah law requires anyone riding a motorcycle (passengers and drivers alike) to wear helmets while on the road. The answer is a little more involved than just a simple “yes” or “no” like in other states, which typically have catch-all laws that are very black and white.
In Utah, helmet use is only mandatory for anyone under the age of 18 who is operating or is a passenger on a motorcycle. This is different than “universal” helmet laws that exist in other states, which require anyone riding on a motorcycle to constantly wear a helmet, no matter how old they are.
Here’s the exact wording you’ll find in Utah’s motorcycle laws:
A person under the age of 18 may not operate or ride on a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle on a highway unless the person is wearing protective headgear which complies with federal safety regulations.
Here again, you’ll notice there’s a little bit of a gray area with the “on a highway” disclaimer. As written, the law would indicate it’s only illegal for minors to go helmetless on motorcycles when driving on a highway. However, a person could still be pulled over if carrying a minor passenger on a city street without a helmet.
Additional complications to the motorcycle helmet law in Utah
There are a few other elements to this motorcycle helmet law that make it more complex than laws you’d find in other states (which, again, are very black and white). One statute says any person who is issued a moving violation by law enforcement while on a motorcycle can receive an $8 waiver of any fine resulting from that violation if he or she was over 18 and wearing a helmet at the time they were ticketed. This statue is in place to provide motorcycle drivers with a small financial incentive to wear helmets, even though it’s not technically required for adults to do so.
Another unique element of Utah motorcycle helmet law deals with motorcycle accidents and resulting personal injury lawsuits. If you were not wearing a helmet when the accident occurred, there are other states where this fact could negatively impact your standing in the case, as that could be considered a form of negligence. You would potentially be unable to recover damages in your case because of this.
However, Utah helmet statutes indicate helmet use will not be a factor in personal injury lawsuits. According to the law, a failure to wear a helmet does not constitute any form of negligence on a person filing the lawsuit and cannot even be entered as evidence. This makes the law a little easier on motorcyclists in Utah, even when they do not wear helmets.
To learn more about helmet laws in Utah, contact our motorcycle shops in Salt Lake City today and the team at The Quad & Cycle Shop will be happy to answer any questions you have for us.
Categorised in: Motorcycle Safety
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