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motorcycle helmet

Are Motorcycle Riders Required to Wear a Helmet in Iowa?

Wearing a helmet while riding on a motorcycle can protect motorcyclists from severe or deadly injuries. It would make sense that riders should be required to wear one at all times while operating a motorcycle. However, Iowa does not have any motorcycle helmet laws requiring motorcyclists to wear head protection.

Why Doesn't Iowa Enforce Motorcycle Helmet Laws?

In 1967, the federal government created a law that required all states to enact a universal motorcycle helmet law. Failure to do so resulted in the government retracting some state highway funds. However, in 1976, Congress abandoned the mandate and declared that states should implement helmet laws. After this new change was implemented, Iowa retracted its universal motorcycle helmet law in 1986.

There are in total three states that do not have motorcycle helmet laws, including:

  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • New Hampshire

Every other state has a motorcycle helmet law in place, and 19 states have instituted regulations requiring the use of a helmet while wearing a motorcycle.

The Benefits of Wearing a Helmet

In Iowa, it is legally up to you to decide whether you want to wear a helmet or not. However, it's essential to be aware that using a helmet while riding a motorcycle could prevent or reduce the severity of a head injury. In some cases, it could even save your life.

Additionally, wearing a helmet while operating a motorcycle can be beneficial for another reason. If you are in an accident, whether or not you choose to wear a helmet could be relevant if you decide to file a claim against a negligent driver who caused your accident.

Can Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet Affect an Accident Claim?

Although Iowa doesn't require a motorcycle helmet legally, it could still impact comparative negligence should you suffer a head injury in an accident. This applies even in cases where you didn't cause the accident.

For example, say another driver had merged into your lane and ran you off the road. You then suffered a head injury as a result of the crash. However, by not wearing a helmet, you could be held partially liable for the injury.

Therefore, your settlement could be reduced if a portion of the percentage of fault is assigned to you. For example, if you are assigned 15 percent of the fault of the accident, and you suffered $10,000 in damages, you would only be able to collect $8,500 rather than the entire $10,000.

While your attorney may argue that wearing a helmet wouldn't have prevented or reduced the severity of your injury, it could be challenging to prove.

If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the Des Moines personal injury attorneys at Hope Law Firm by calling our team today at (515) 298-5056.