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What are the differences in Helmet Laws from State to State?

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Helmet laws are a relatively new addition to local legislation in America and other parts of the world, and as such many of us are actually still unaware what is expected of us in terms of a helmet. These laws pertain to both bicycles and motorcycles, and the specifics are written in terms of both age and the type of helmet accepted as safe on a certain type of vehicle. The differences come because of age standards and the specifics of operating a vehicle that may be expected to take high speeds. Bicycle helmet laws are usually in place for under 16 or 18 year-olds to protect children who otherwise often try to ride without proper protection.

If you are caught driving a motorcycle without a helmet, or with a helmet that is deemed inappropriate for the machine, you will be subject to points taken off your license or to a fixed fine. In Nevada this will mean 2 points removed; in Louisiana a fifty dollar fine. Pennsylvania police will fine you a total $92 for a helmet infraction or speeding on a motorcycle and the fine varies from State to State according to the severity with which the infraction is viewed and to the taxes and extra fees attached to the ticket.

Missouri law concerns not only bicycles and motorcycles but also some toy vehicles – the fines range in size but the highest extent of prosecution is $100 for the fine and possibly another $100 for the court fees if you wind up fighting the ticket. These laws are more restricting than most because they require parents to actually ensure that their children are not operating any toy vehicle that might be subject to the helmet legislation. In such a case, the parents would be responsible for providing their child or children with the proper helmet and of course for paying any incurred fines.

What denotes the proper helmet, you might be wondering? In most cases it is considered to be the helmet manufactured by the same maker as the vehicle (in terms of a motorcycle) and claimed by such to be used in conjunction with said vehicle. For bicycles and other toy vehicles, however, there will be local legislation pertaining to the safety standards and what the helmet should be made of and how it should fit the head. Certain head circumferences will require a different size of helmet than others, for example, and also a different amount of padding between the head and the inner part of the helmet.

Perhaps the widest range in fines for failing to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle is in Oregon, where the amount may be anywhere from a general $67 to an astounding $300 in Brookings. It is best to look in with your local government office to find out exactly what is expected of you while biking, and just remember not to assume that the laws are the same when you cross the State line!

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