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Motorcycle Helmet Law

By Evan L. Kaine

Spring has sprung!

And, motorcyclists everywhere are donning their motorcycle gear and they’re ready to R-I-D-E!  Many of our readers are experienced riders, while some of you may be new to this adrenaline-fueled activity.  Regardless of whether you are old enough to remember “Easy Rider”, or barely old enough to remember “Wild Hogs,” it is always a good idea to take a moment to reflect on the Georgia laws that are in place for your safety.

For the rider, it is important to remember that D.O.T. approved helmets are required in Georgia.  As with every sport or hobby enthusiast, there are purists who want to experience their sport or hobby in the least restrictive means possible.  We can appreciate that.  However, the law is the law.  And, in Georgia, the law is governed by O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315 which states in part:

 (a) No person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear, which complies with standards established by the commissioner of public safety; and

 (b) The commissioner of public safety is authorized to approve or disapprove protective head gear and eye-protective devices required in this code section and to issue and enforce regulations establishing standards and specification for the approval thereof.  The commissioner shall publish lists of all protective headgear and eye-protective devices by name and type, which have been approved by it.

Before you start looking for “the list” – there isn’t one.  With no official list, the statute had to be interpreted by case law and the standards proposed by the Georgia Board of Public Safety.  Rather than bore you by briefing the cases and a laborious recitation of the rules and regulations, we’ve created this nifty list to assist in helmet shopping:

  •  Hard, smooth outer surface;
  •  Minimum level of shock absorbency
  • No rigid projections inside the helmet and limited projections outside the helmet;


  • Secure fastening to keep the helmet on the rider’s head during an impact; and
  • No interference with peripheral vision with the standard minimum clearance of 105 degrees to either side of the middle of the face.


 Wait.  In addition to the helmet, Georgia statute O.C.G.A. §40-6-311 requires that any one operating or riding upon a motorcycle wear footwear in addition to, or other than, socks. 

Tune in next time in our series on motorcycles to learn about the requirements for passengers on motorcycles.

For more information about this article, contact Kaine Law.


Published March 26, 2014


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