Some U.S. states allow motorcyclists to ride without a helmet, but New Jersey isn’t one of them. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has laid out clear New Jersey helmet laws to ensure everyone’s safety and protect motorcycle operators from potentially life-threatening injuries. Wearing a helmet will not only keep you safe but also keep you from paying penalties and fines.
This article covers everything you need to know about New Jersey helmet laws. We’ll look at the type of protective headgear you’ll need to wear, how to stay safe while riding, what to do if you get into a wreck, and more.
Must All Motorcyclists Wear a Helmet in New Jersey?
All motorcyclists must wear a helmet while riding around in New Jersey. State law requires a helmet for your protection against severe injuries, such as skull fractures and brain damage, when involved in a crash. If you fall or get knocked off your bike, protective headgear can also reduce the severity of the injuries you may face.
Both motorcycle operators and passengers must wear helmets, regardless of age. This means you must wear adequately fitted headgear when riding along roadways or public property, even if you’re older than 18. Law enforcement could ticket you or the vehicle operator if you don’t meet New Jersey state requirements.
What Type of Helmet Is Allowed in New Jersey?
You can’t use just any helmet to satisfy New Jersey helmet laws. Protective headgear must meet the minimum requirements as outlined by the DOT. These specifications state that a DOT-approved helmet must include:
- One-inch-thick inner liner
- A secure neck or chin strap reflectorized on both sides
- No parts protruding over one-fifth of an inch from the outer surface
- A sticker indicating DOT approval
Other Relevant Motorcycle Laws
In addition to helmet laws, New Jersey has many requirements for motorcycle operators and their vehicles. These rules and regulations help keep you and everyone around you safe on the open road. Motorcycle laws you should know about include the following:
- Licensing: You must have a motorcycle license or endorsement to ride a motorcycle in New Jersey. An endorsement demonstrates you have completed the knowledge exam and on-cycle training to ride safely.
- Insurance: You must have adequate motorcycle insurance before hitting the open road. An insurance policy will help cover personal injury and property damage if you get in an accident.
- Eye protection: Does your bike have an approved windscreen? If not, you’ll need to wear goggles, a face shield, or some form of eye protection while riding through New Jersey.
- Handlebars: New Jersey has strict laws that govern handlebar dimensions. For example, your bike’s handlebars must not exceed shoulder height when seated.
- Headlights: It is illegal to operate a motorcycle without visible headlights. Properly functioning headlights ensure you can see where you’re going and others can see you.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
To stay safe while riding your motorcycle, you’ll need to do more than follow New Jersey helmet laws. Thousands of motorcycle accidents occur every year because drivers don’t take the necessary precautions or pay attention to their surroundings. You can make the most of your trip and avoid accidents by following these safety tips:
- Wear bright clothing and reflective gear, especially at night, so that others can easily see you.
- Ride defensively, expecting other drivers to make mistakes and behave poorly in traffic. Avoid tailgating and cutting people off, stay out of their way as much as possible, and maintain an appropriate speed. Remember that slow driving can cause accidents, just like speeding.
- Never use drugs or alcohol before riding, as it will impair your ability to think clearly and operate skillfully. Alcohol will reduce your visual acuity and coordination while on the road, putting you at significant risk of getting into a wreck.
- Perform regular maintenance throughout the riding season. Checking your motorcycle before hopping on it can ensure everything works correctly and won’t create a hazard on the open road.
How Much Are Motorcycle Helmet Fines in New Jersey?
Violating motorcycle helmet laws in New Jersey typically does not incur a heavy fine. You can expect to pay up to $25 if you ride without a helmet or with non-DOT-approved protective headgear. However, you could face even higher costs and worse consequences if you get involved in a motorcycle accident.
What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle or a pedestrian could have serious legal consequences. You must proceed quickly and properly to protect your rights. Following several straightforward steps after a motorcycle accident can help avoid a messy litigation procedure.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Call 911 immediately if you or anyone involved in the accident suffers an injury. Emergency medical assistance can save lives and minimize long-term effects like trauma and brain damage, even if injuries appear minor. Safety is the number one priority following any incident.
2. Call Local Authorities
After a motorcycle accident, local law enforcement must thoroughly investigate the collision and file an official report. This documentation can become substantial evidence later on during an accident claim. You’ll also want to contact local authorities as soon as possible to help clean up the scene and prevent traffic jams or further delays.
3. Gather Information
It can be challenging to think clearly in all the chaos and confusion following a motorcycle accident. However, you’ll want to swap information with everyone involved in the incident. Make sure you get names, contact info, insurance info, and license plate numbers from the other drivers and any witnesses who were present during the crash.
Were there any witnesses to the incident? You’ll want to collect their names and contact details, too. Eyewitnesses can be crucial as you consider filing a claim.
4. Take Photos and Written Notes
Taking photos and written notes of the incident can provide concrete evidence in the future. We recommend recording details like:
- Weather conditions
- Time of day
- Events leading up to the accident
- The incident’s exact location
- Extent and severity of personal injuries
- Vehicle positions
- Property damage
Was the other motorcyclist obeying New Jersey helmet laws? Did someone else cut you off and force you into a collision with another vehicle? These types of details may help as you pursue compensation.
5. Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
With an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, you can develop a compelling case, file a claim, seek appropriate compensation, and sidestep insurance problems down the road. We recommend contacting your lawyer before getting a hold of the insurance company. You should also refrain from discussing who caused the accident or what other drivers needed to do while on site.
Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Injuries Related To Helmets
The statute of limitations for motorcycle injuries is two years. If you suffered injuries due to a motorcycle accident, you have 24 months from the date of injury to file a lawsuit against the responsible or at-fault party. This lawsuit is also known as a claim.
If you don’t file your claim within two years and provide proof that your injuries or damages are directly related to the incident, you may lose your right to take legal action. If this happens, it could prevent you from recovering appropriate compensation for any losses incurred from the accident. This means no assistance covering medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
Get Legal Help From Trusted Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
New Jersey helmet laws enable you to stay safe and enjoy the open road, but motorcycle accidents can still happen. If you experience injuries in a motorcycle accident, you shouldn’t hesitate to get legal guidance and file a claim to pursue compensation. At Sadaka Law, our trusted accident attorneys can help you every step of the way—contact us at (800) 810-3457 to schedule your consultation today.