What are the Helmet Laws for Rhode Island Motorcyclists?

DSC_6876-300x201It may seem obvious, but if you’re going to get on a motorcycle, put on a helmet. The simple act of putting on a properly fitting helmet can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a motorcycle accident. Take the advice of the motorcycle accident lawyers at Tapalian Law – if you’re going to get on a motorcycle as a driver or passenger, wear a helmet. The best chance to protect your brain should you be involved in a critical accident, is by wearing a protective helmet. Consider the force and weight of a truck or SUV driving at top speed on the highway hitting an unprotected motorcycle rider. At least if the motorcyclist has head protection, they may stand a chance. Without head protection, the chance of death, traumatic brain injury, or other severe head trauma is much higher.

Rhode Island Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Rhode Island does not require motorcycle operators to wear a helmet. It does, however, require all passengers riding on a motorcycle to wear a helmet. The exceptions to this rule are for those operators under the age of 21 as well as new operators within their first year or riding, regardless of age. Both are required to wear helmets at all times. Rhode Island requires a special license to operate a motorcycle in addition to the completion of an approved motorcycle safety course.

Why Don’t More RI Motorcyclists Wear Helmets?

Statistics show many times over that using the proper equipment while operating a motorcycle, especially a protective helmet, can significantly prevent or reduce injuries. The latest data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) shows that motorcyclists are 27 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash and 6 times more likely to be injured. Attorney David Tapalian agrees these are scary figures and knows first-hand the reality of life-threatening motorcycle injuries. However, some motorcyclists insist it is their right to choose what to wear when they ride and that the government should not take away that right.

Recommended Riding Gear for Motorcyclists

Although Rhode Island law does not require a helmet, it does require all motorcycle operators to wear eye protection, whether it be glasses, goggles, or a face shield. These protective measures can prevent, or reduce the severity of eye injuries from flying debris like stones or insects, or in the event of a crash. It is advised that motorcycle operators and passengers wear the proper gear to protect their bodies from injury in the case of a collision. Proper gear includes a heavy-duty jacket, like leather, pants, gloves, and heavy shoes or boots that cover ankles. Strong materials such as leather or heavy denim rip less easily than other weaker materials and have a more protective effect against abrasions that may occur in a collision with another vehicle or from a fall on rough road cement. It is also recommended to wear bright colors with reflective material to make motorcyclists more visible to automobile drivers. The NHTSA provides tips for choosing an appropriate helmet that is approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Have You Been Involved in a Motorcycle Crash?


If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, contact the RI motorcycle accident lawyers at Tapalian Law. Attorney David Tapalian is well-versed in the trauma that can be caused by an automobile hitting a motorcycle. Certain family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death action should there be a fatality. Compensation can be sought for injuries, including hospital bills, lost wages, out of pocket medical expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional anguish. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney like David Tapalian will help you every step of the way throughout your personal injury case. We provide a free consultation to review the details of your accident and are here 24/7 to answer your questions. Contact us today at


. For more details on what our firm can do to help motorcycle accident victims, visit our website.

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