Utah Helmet Laws: What you Need to Know
Springtime is fast approaching, and with it comes motorcycle season. At The Advocates, we love the motorcyclists in our community and want to help keep everyone on the road safe. One of the best ways to avoid injury is to be familiar with the rules of the road wherever you ride.
Utah Motorcycle Helmet Law FAQs
Is protective headgear required in Utah?
According to Utah Traffic Code 41-6a-1505, any motorcycle rider (both operators and passengers) under the age of 21 must wear a helmet. This law applies to motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, class 3 electric bicycles, and autocycles that are not fully enclosed.
I thought Utah’s helmet law applied to those under the age of 18. Did something change?
Utah legislators raised the age for required protective headgear from 18 to 21 in 2017. State lawmakers stated that the change was made because the human brain is still developing past age 18.
States like Florida, Texas, and Arkansas all have similar helmet laws. There are only three states in the country that do not have a helmet requirement of some kind: Iowa, Illinois, and New Hampshire.
What kind of helmet is required under Utah law?
Motorcycle operators and passengers under the age of 21 must wear a helmet that complies with 49 C.F.R. 571.218. This standard sets the following requirements for motorcycle helmets:
- Hard outer shell
- Inner padding
- Chin strap
- Labeled DOT certification
What is the penalty for failing to follow Utah’s helmet law?
Violating the helmet law in Utah is considered an infraction. Infractions are punishable by up to $750 in fines.
However, if you are 21 or older and you are pulled over for a traffic violation while wearing a helmet, the court may waive $8 of your fine. This provides an incentive for all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, not just those who are required to do so.
Utah Motorcycle Accident Statistics
- Every year since 2011, there have been more than 1,000 motorcycle crashes in Utah.
- Utah motorcycle accidents lead to an average of 38 fatalities every year.
- According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, nearly one-third of motorcycle accidents happen when the driver of a motor vehicle turns left into a motorcycle driver.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
What protective gear is recommended for motorcycle riders?
Regardless of the law, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends the following personal protective gear for motorcycle riders of all ages:
- DOT-approved helmet
- Eye protection, such as a face shield or goggles
- Hearing protection, such as earplugs
- Full-fingered gloves
- Leather or other abrasion-resistant clothing that covers the arms, legs, and torso
- Sturdy over-the-ankle boots
This gear can help protect you from head injuries (including traumatic brain injuries), road rash, and broken bones in the event of an accident.
Is lane splitting legal in Utah?
The terms “lane splitting” and “lane filtering” are often used interchangeably, but they are different in practice. Lane splitting is the practice of motorcycles sharing lanes with other motor vehicles while driving. This is illegal in Utah.
Lane filtering, on the other hand, is allowed in the state. Lane filtering is the practice of motorcycles filtering at low speeds between stopped cars traveling in the same direction (usually at a red light). When lane filtering, motorcycles may not travel faster than 15 miles per hour. It is also only allowed on roads with speed limits of 45 miles per hour or less.
How can operators of other motor vehicles drive safely around motorcycles?
Keeping Utah roads safe is a shared responsibility between drivers of all types of motor vehicles. In the event of an accident, motorcycle riders are far more vulnerable than those inside passenger cars or trucks.
Help keep motorcyclists safe by committing to doing the following:
- Always double-check your blind spots before changing lanes. Motorcycles can be much harder to see than other vehicles.
- Look twice before turning left.
- Allow motorcyclists full use of a lane. Do not attempt to share a lane with a motorcycle.
- Give motorcycle riders plenty of following distance. It can be difficult to judge the speed of a motorcycle because they are smaller than other vehicles. By giving them plenty of space, you can avoid rear-ending them if they slow down or stop.
When Should I Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, it may be time to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer. An attorney can help you access medical care, get your motorcycle repaired, negotiate with insurance companies, and obtain the compensation you deserve for your damages.
The motorcycle accident attorneys at The Advocates personal injury law firm have been representing accident victims for more than 30 years. We understand that every injury case is different, and we are here to ensure that your unique needs are met.
If you were involved motorcycle crash due to someone else’s negligence, contact The Advocates today for a free consultation. We’ll listen to your story and help you determine if you have a case.
You deserve an attorney who will do everything they can to get you back to doing what you love. You deserve an Advocate.