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Do motorcyclists have to wear a helmet in Washington?

Motorcycles are a fun and economical way to travel. People not only enjoy the thrill of these bikes, but the excellent gas mileage as well. But, with these perks comes risk. Motorcycles are smaller and often ignored by larger cars and trucks. This can lead to motorcycle accidents. Because of lack of safety features on motorcycles, an accident can result in serious injuries or death for riders. Even minor accidents have the potential to cause serious damage.

The risk of riding a motorcycle can be limited through the use of safety equipment. In particular, helmets can go a long way in protecting riders from harm should an accident occur. Washington residents may wonder if motorcyclists have to wear helmets in Washington.

Under RCW section 46.37.530 motorcyclists are required to wear helmets while on Washington roadways. This includes any city street, county road or state highway. Not only does the helmet have to be on the person's head, it has to be securely strapped under the person's chin. In these cases, the helmet must also be endorsed and meet certain federal safety standards. To be endorsed, the helmet must have the correct labeling, thick inner layer of foam and a Department of Transportation sticker on the back.

A person is only excluded from wearing a helmet if the person is driving certain antique automobiles.

Even when riders wear a helmet, serious injuries can occur. In these cases, a personal injury lawsuit can help motorcyclists recover damages that occurred as a result of another driver's negligence. Specific legal advice -- which this post cannot provide -- is often necessary for riders to determine if they should bring a suit. Therefore, speaking with an attorney can be helpful.

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