Bicycle Helmet Laws and Compensation

Does Riding Without a Helmet Affect Your Liability in a Bike Accident?

Numerous studies support the notion that helmets are the difference between life and death for cyclists, as almost all traumatic brain injuries could be prevented by wearing them. A cyclist who isn’t wearing a helmet is also 3 times more likely to die in a crash compared to one that is.

Studies show that 700 cyclists die each year, and wearing a helmet could keep you from becoming one of these numbers. You may be surprised that wearing a helmet can help you beyond safety reasons.

Riding your bike on a roadway without a helmet may be deemed negligent by California courts and Newport Beach bicycle accident lawyers. California laws regarding helmets vary, but our accident injury attorneys explain more before.

California’s Helmet Laws

Per California law, all children under the age of 18 must wear a bike helmet. Violating this rule, may result in fines, civil liability, and other penalties. If your child is 17 or younger, you need to ensure that they don’t leave the house without a helmet.

It’s illegal in California for a vendor to sell bicycle helmets that don’t meet safety standards, so any bicycle helmet you can buy will probably protect you just fine. To be sure, helmets will be specifically labeled as complying with bike safety standards.

As an adult, there’s no state law requiring that you wear a helmet, but any bicycle accident lawyer in Newport Beach will tell you that it’s a good idea for both your safety and bank account should you get in a wreck.

How Wearing a Helmet Might Affect Your Bike Crash Settlement

Bike riders cite many reasons for not wearing helmets, such as their feelings that helmets are uncomfortable, are not socially acceptable, or are unnecessary because they are skilled cyclists. Some would see riding without a helmet as negligent, which means you failed to exercise a reasonable standard of care for the safety of either yourself or others.

Since other cyclists can be seen on the road wearing a helmet, the other side’s Newport Beach injury attorney will argue that you are below the standard level of care, which means you are negligent.

However, any accident injury attorney in Newport Beach will cite California’s shared fault laws in any argument surrounding helmet use. California is a shared fault state that follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence.

Pure comparative negligence means that each party in the lawsuit is given a percentage of fault for the accident depending on their actions. This keeps one party from bearing the burden of all the expenses from the accident. Each party’s percentage of fault directly corresponds to the amount they have to pay.

Wearing a helmet shows that you care about your safety, and your lawyer for bike accidents in Newport Beach can use this as a testament to your duty of care. If you were safe enough to wear a helmet, you were likely riding safely, unlike the car that hit you.

Not wearing a helmet can be seen as negligent by the parties involved in your bike accident lawsuit. The other side will argue that because you chose not to wear a helmet, you don’t value your own safety. It’s possible that you will be found fully or partially liable for your own damages should you injure your head or neck area while not wearing a helmet.

For example, under the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, if you are deemed 40% at fault for the accident and the total damages are $10,000, you need to pay $4,000 worth.

Navigating the compensation battle after an accident requires an aggressive approach and should never be navigated alone. You should hire the best accident injury lawyer Newport Beach has to offer.

About Accident Lawyers Firm

Accident Lawyers Firm is a Newport Beach-based law firm that wins our clients maximum compensation for their personal injury lawsuits. Our attorneys work tirelessly to add up your bodily damages, emotional damages, property damages, and overall pain and suffering that the negligent party should pay for. We also tap into our network of accident and health experts to gather thorough research and evidence to make your case for compensation as strong as possible. Contact us if you were injured in a:

  • Car accident
  • Motorcycle accident
  • Bike accident
  • Rideshare accident
  • Dog attack
  • Construction accident

You don’t need additional stress while you recover from your injuries, so leave the legal battle up to us. With our extensive connections and hard-working lawyers, you can focus on recovering physically, mentally, and emotionally. To set up a free consultation, call us at 949-203-5780 or email us at

Hazardous Road Conditions

In this scenario, Aaron is riding his bicycle in a bike lane along the highway. As he goes around a curve in the roadway, he comes up fast on a construction site. There is still loose gravel leftover on the bike lane from the construction work. The construction workers didn’t take the time to properly clean up after their work for the day. Aaron ends up sliding sideways as his bike comes out from underneath him due to the gravel that was left in the bike lane.

In this scenario, Aaron is able to file a state tort claim against the roadway construction crew for the injuries that he sustained. The failure of the construction company to properly clean up the bike lane after quitting their work for the day is considered neglect on their part. Aaron’s Newport Beach bike accident injury lawyer will likely work to get him a fair settlement from the government for his injuries from the accident.

Defective Bicycle Equipment

A personal injury lawyer can help you receive compensation from a manufacturer of bicycle equipment if the equipment is found to be defective by the user. In this scenario, Christy buys a new bike from a local bicycle dealer. About a month prior to her purchase of the bicycle, the dealer received a recall from the manufacturer about the possible failure of the front brake cables. The manufacturer even sent the dealership replacement cables to be installed.

The dealer was aware of the notice but didn’t act to replace the defect front brake cables. When Christy takes her new bike out for a ride, she finds that the front brakes fail. This causes here to crash into a telephone pool and sustains serious injuries. Christy can sue her local bicycle dealer for selling her a defective bike. She may even be able to sue the manufacturer for strict product liability.