Riding a motorcycle gives a thrilling experience, but it can be risky. One of the best ways to stay safe is to obey state law and wear a helmet whenever you ride. A motorcycle helmet offers more than just head protection. It safeguards you from wind noise, flying objects, extreme weather, and road accidents. However, every state has different rules and regulations for motorcyclists. Iowa, Illinois, and New Hampshire are the US states that do not mandate helmet use while riding motorcycles. Even though Illinois has no motorcycle helmet laws, the Illinois Department of Transportation advises that all riders wear it. No matter how careful or skilled a rider is, a mishap can cause fatal injuries or even death. Though a helmet cannot prevent all damages, it does provide an additional layer of protection for the rider.
Universal Motorcycle Helmet Laws
No state in the United States had a motorcycle helmet law until 1965. However, in 1966, the Highway Safety Act established a federal requirement for states to enact motorcycle helmet laws to access certain transportation funds. As a result, the District of Columbia and 47 states adopted uniform motorcycle helmet regulations by 1975. Later, the federal government removed the fines imposed on states that did not have uniform motorcycle helmet laws. Now half of the states, have either completely removed or partially curtailed their laws subject to young riders only.
As of 2021, 29 states had laws requiring helmets for specific riders, and 18 states and the District of Columbia had universal laws for wearing motorcycle helmets. Only three states, including Illinois, had no motorcycle helmet regulations. Illinois still maintains its status as a motorcycle helmet-free nation under the current legislation. However, other laws apply to motorcycle riders who ride on public roads and off-road in this state. If you followed all the regulations and were still involved in a severe crash, it is wise to notify your motorcycle accident lawyer.
Understanding Illinois laws for motorcyclists
Like other states, Illinois has laws that govern how motorcyclists and other motorists ride their vehicles on public roads. You should be aware of these laws and ready to comply with them and remain safe. If you violate any of them, it could affect who is liable for your injuries in an accident case. These motorcycle laws governing in Illinois are:
- Use headlights during the day hours.
- Have a windscreen on your bike or wear eye protection
- Ride your motorcycle with handgrips lower than the height of your head
- Include a passenger seat and a footrest (if there is a passenger on your bike)
- Allow a rider to cautiously pass through an intersection after 120 seconds (if the automated signal system does not detect a motorcycle). This rule does not apply in a municipality with more than two million residents.
- Do not pass between two other vehicles moving in the same direction unless there is a traffic lane, allowing safe passage.
- Prohibits passing on the right unless there is a distance of at least eight feet of clear pavements.
- Acquires a relevant motorcycle title and registration number
- Outlaws riding on one wheel and consider it a form of reckless driving
- Requires riders to have an Illinois-issued or equivalent motorcycle endorsement from another state
- Carry minimum insurance coverage as specified by Illinois law
- Forbids riding a motorcycle while under alcohol or any other drug. You risk steep fines or losing your riding privileges if caught driving while intoxicated.
As already said, Illinois has no law requiring helmet use for riders of any age group. Instead, one can independently decide whether or not to wear a helmet for safety. Note that motorcycle laws frequently change, and the Illinois Department of Transportation is the decision maker. While Illinois has no motorcycle helmet laws, this is not the case for neighboring states, like Indiana or Wisconsin mandate helmet use. You should follow the prescribed rules in each state for riding a motorcycle safely.
Illinois Motorcycle law for minors
Some states that don’t mandate wearing helmets for adults have passed laws that only apply to minors. Depending on the state, riders under 18 or 21 are subject to stricter regulations than older motorcyclists. This approach allows everyone to make independent decisions while safeguarding younger riders, who often make hasty decisions. As of 2022, Illinois has no mandatory motorcycle helmet laws for minors.
Illinois motorcycle licensing law
Motorcycle riders in Illinois must have a valid license to ride on the road legally. Unlicensed motorcycle riding is a typical state traffic law violation. It is against state laws and constitutes a fundamental traffic infraction. Consequently, the offender faces commensurate punishment.
Riders who qualify to ride a motorcycle should have a valid Class M or Class L license or permit. A Class M license is necessary for motorcycles with displacements greater than 150cc, whereas a Class L license is for motorcycles with displacements less than 150cc. To be eligible for a motorcycle license in Illinois, you must be 18 years old and acquire a valid state license or ID. You have to pay a permit fee, clear a written exam, go for an on-cycle riding trial, and pass a vision test.
Benefits associated with motorcycle helmets
Even though riding a motorcycle in Illinois is not mandatory, wearing a helmet is wise. It increases your chances of surviving a collision or a fall from your bike.
Since city traffic doesn’t allow driving fast, you might believe in not requiring a bulky, expensive helmet. Unfortunately, motorcyclists can sustain severe injuries even in low-speed collisions. Keep in mind that you can’t rely solely on safe driving. You share the road with cars and trucks, many of which have wide blind spots that can obstruct smaller vehicles like motorcycles. Negligent drivers, particularly drunk and distracted ones, cause accidents when they fail to pay adequate attention to the road.
The Centers for Disease Control states that wearing a helmet reduces brain injuries by 41% to 69%. Traumatic brain injuries can have long-term consequences, ranging from mild to severe trauma, such as coma and brain death. Even though helmets are not available as concussion-proof options, they can help protect you from a critical brain or head injury. It can significantly reduce the number of crash fatalities by 22 percent to 42 percent. However, ensure that it is age-appropriate, well-maintained, worn consistently, and certified.
Attorney for motorcycle accident in Illinois
Motorcyclists in Illinois have the right to independent decisions when they get on their bikes. Many people prefer not to wear helmets. However, wearing an appropriate motorcycle helmet that meets national standards is the safest option. Wearing protective clothing, such as rash guards, can also help prevent other serious injuries. If you had a motorcycle accident, whether or not you were wearing a helmet, you should consult with a qualified attorney about your legal options as soon as possible. Motorcyclists do not always cause motorcycle accidents; instead, careless car or truck drivers do. Drivers of cars and trucks may be inattentive, sleepy, intoxicated, or forget to look out for riders on the road. As a result, devastating collisions could occur due to these factors.
While the accident was not your fault, you could be the one who suffered from a severe injury such as a spinal cord injury, internal bleeding, brain stem damage, broken bones, road rash, or amputation.
If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident due to the carelessness or recklessness of another driver, you shouldn’t have to endure financial hardship. You might be eligible to obtain compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries. Your monetary recovery may cover past and future medical costs, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and additional damages. However, inform your motorcycle accident attorney if your injuries were due to another driver who broke the motorcycle helmet laws or was otherwise careless.
If you choose the skilled lawyers at Phillips Law Offices, we’ll fight tenaciously to get you the maximum and just compensation you deserve. You can better understand your legal options and what to anticipate in your case with the assistance of our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys. Our knowledgeable legal team handles every aspect of your case from beginning to end so you can concentrate on your recovery. To schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, give us a call or contact us online.
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