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Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Ohio?

Whether there should be helmet laws for bikers is quite the dispute in the biking community and legislative world. Therefore, the legal requirements regarding protective head gear differ in each state.

If you live in or are visiting Ohio, you need to know the local laws on wearing a helmet to avoid both committing a minor misdemeanor and sustaining a severe injury in an accident.

Ohio law

In Ohio, legal adults do not have to wear a helmet unless they have a novice designation on their licenses, or they are passengers and the person operating has a novice designation or is under 18 years old. All those under 18, whether operators or passengers, must wear a helmet. In addition, all operators must wear safety glasses or other protective eyewear. Helmets and glasses must meet the set standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Note that these rules also apply to operating a snowmobile.

Benefits of helmets

Before you cheer because you may not have to wear a helmet, consider the many benefits of using one anyway. Most important, it protects your head from severe trauma and all that entails: health problems, medical bills, lost work days, a personal injury lawsuit, etc. In addition to enhanced safety, helmets offer the following:

  • Noise reduction, especially from wind
  • Protection from the elements, such as sun glare, wind and rain
  • Warmth in the winter
  • Protection from rocks, insects and flying debris

Wearing a helmet may also result in lower health, motorcycle and life insurance costs.

Additional tips

Just as important as using a helmet is making sure it fits properly. Take care of your helmet and replace it if it becomes damaged. Get a new one every few years because normal wear and tear reduces its effectiveness. Make yourself more visible to other motorists by putting reflective tape on your helmet. You may not have control of other people's driving, but you do have control over what you choose to do to enhance your safety.

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