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Georgia Motorcycle Helmet Law

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash


Georgia mandates protective headgear for both motorcycle riders and passengers, irrespective of age or insurance coverage, unless 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 issued regulations establishing standards for headgear, specifying technical requirements for retention systems, impact durability, penetration, coverage, rigid projections, labeling, size, and more.

These standards detail testing conditions and results in areas such as impact attenuation, penetration, and retention systems.

Georgia’s helmet law has withstood appeals court cases, and while it lacks a precise description of protective headgear, Georgia courts may determine compliance based on applicable standards (DOT).

Helmet Accessories: Federal motorcycle helmet standards state that a helmet should not have rigid projections inside its shell, with those outside limited to essential accessories not protruding more than 0.20 inch (5 mm). The status of a helmet-mounted GoPro-style camera as an essential accessory or a rigid projection is unclear, potentially leading to citations.

Reverse Trikes: Reverse trikes without an enclosed cab, featuring steering wheels and side-by-side seating like the Polaris Slingshot, are classified as motorcycles in Georgia. Hence, Georgia’s helmet law applies to them. Different states may interpret the classification of such vehicles differently, requiring independent research for states where operation without a helmet is desired.