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Georgia Motorcycle Helmet Law


Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

D.O.T. APPROVED HELMETS ARE REQUIRED IN GEORGIA.


Georgia requires protective headgear for both passengers and riders of motorcycles and trikes, regardless of age or insurance coverage, unless they are riding within an enclosed cab. According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) §40-6-315 (sections a and d):

(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.

(d) The commissioner of public safety is authorized to approve or disapprove protective headgear and eye-protective devices required in this code section and to issue and enforce regulations establishing standards and specifications 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.


It appears that no list of approved protective headgear to guide Georgia motorcyclists exists, thus the statute must be interpreted by case law and the rules and regulations proclaimed by the Georgia Board of Public Safety.


Helmet Standards:

The Georgia Board of Public Safety has publicized rules and regulations that establish standards for headgear. These regulations identify technical standards that acceptable headgear must satisfy.


These standards include specific requirements for retention systems and straps, impact durability, penetration, coverage over the head and skull, rigid projections inside and outside the protective shell, labeling, size, and other factors.

The standards outline specific testing conditions and testing results in the areas of impact attenuation, penetration, and retention systems.


Georgia’s helmet law has survived appeals court cases, though it does not give a precise description of protective headgear. The Georgia courts may decide if protective headgear equipment complies with the applicable standards (DOT).


The federal motorcycle helmet standards state that a helmet shall not have any rigid projections inside its shell. Rigid projections outside any helmet's shell shall be limited to those required for operation of essential accessories, and shall not protrude more than 0.20 inch (5 mm). Whether a helmet-mounted GoPro-style camera would be considered an essential accessory and/or a rigid projection is unknown and up for interpretation, so be aware that you could receive a citation for having one on your helmet. Whether that citation would be upheld in court is unknown.


Reverse trikes that are not equipped with an enclosed cab, and have steering wheels and side-by-side seating such as the Polaris Slingshot are considered motorcycles in Georgia and thus Georgia’s helmet law applies to them. Other states may have differing interpretations as to whether this unique type of vehicle falls under their helmet laws and we suggest that you independently research any state where you wish to operate this type of vehicle without using a helmet.

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Charles Watwood
ATTORNEY AT LAW
chuckwatjd@aol.com

425 East Crossville

Road, Suite 101 

Roswell Georgia, 30075

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