Are Motorcycle Helmets Required in Louisiana?

May 31, 2021

There’s nothing quite like riding down the road on your motorcycle, enjoying the breeze. Unfortunately, riding motorcycles can be dangerous, in large part because of accidents caused by other vehicles, road hazards, and frequently changeable weather. While you should enjoy yourself, you also need to consider your safety every time you head out on your bike.

Although you may want to enjoy the fresh air without being cooped up in a helmet, here in Louisiana, it is illegal to do so. In an accident, motorcyclists are more likely to suffer severe injuries and death than a driver of a car, especially when not wearing a helmet. Knowing your rights and the laws in place to protect you as a motorcyclist can help make your ride safer and more enjoyable.

Motorcycle Helmet Law in Louisiana

The latest statistical data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that wearing a helmet prevents brain damage up to 67% of the time in motorcycle crashes. Brain damage can have lasting effects, which could cause you lifelong problems, including ones that affect your quality of life or ability to do the same work you did before your accident.

In Louisiana, the law requires you to wear a motorcycle helmet at all times and on all types of roadways. This requirement is for drivers of motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, or motorized bikes and their passengers. Whether your passenger rides behind you or beside you in a sidecar, a helmet is mandatory.

The law also defines what the protective headgear must entail. Your helmet must include:

  • Visor
  • Interior lining and padding
  • Working chin strap

The chin strap has to be secured for both operators and passengers while riding. All helmets must adhere to detailed specifications outlined by the Department of Public Safety and the commissioner, also known as the Corrections’ Deputy Secretary.

This law is standard across all age groups, motorcycle types, and insurance policies, so the key is to wear one that fits well and comfortably and doesn’t hinder your sight and hearing. If you have more questions or find yourself in an accident, contacting the Louisiana motorcycle accident attorneys at Dudley DeBosier will provide the fastest and most reliable legal advice and representation.

Exceptions to the Helmet Law

Louisiana does provide a few exceptions from the helmet law. These are highly specific, so be sure you are meeting the requirements exactly.

  • If riding in a parade or other such public event or exhibition, you can obtain an exemption permit from the local (city, town, village, or parish) police department. This permit to abstain from wearing a helmet is only good during the event. You’ll still need to bring your helmet to ride home afterward.
  • If your motorcycle type contains certain supportive features that provide safety matching or greater than that provided by a helmet, roll cage, or roll bar. An example of this might be an autocycle equipped with such supports.

Additional Eye Protection Requirements

In addition to requiring motorcycle helmets, Louisiana also requires eyewear protection for all motorcyclists, unless you have a high windshield in place. If your bike doesn’t have a tall enough windshield, you must wear protective eyewear such as goggles, safety glasses, or face shields.

As with the helmets, the protective eyewear must conform to the specifications provided by the same commissioner. You should combine safety glasses and goggles with your open face helmet.

During the daytime, this eye protection can be tinted to protect against the glare of the sun. However, at nighttime, tinted eyewear is not allowed since it reduces vision.

Stay Safe on the Road

By knowing that protective eyewear and motorcycle helmets are required in Louisiana, you can ride with confidence. Louisiana law also addresses other safety concerns, like requiring footrests if you have passengers, so review the law or ask an experienced motorcycle attorney about it to ensure you’re riding legally before heading out.

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, so there are numerous opportunities to learn more. Look for local activities in your area or create a few of your own.

While it may be fun to cross state lines and go without a helmet in Florida or other non-helmet law states, you’ll still need to take your helmet with you if you plan to ride back into Louisiana.

Contact the Top Louisiana Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Louisiana cares about the motorcycle riders in the state and has requirements in place for your protection. Unfortunately, accidents and severe injuries still happen. If one happens to you, contact Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers today to find out your options. We provide the Dudley DeBosier Difference, which means we give each case all the time and attention it needs and deserves.