While incredibly fun to ride, motorcycles are one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that motorcyclists in accidents were 29% more likely than passenger car occupants to die. The likelihood increases when the motorcyclist isn't wearing a helmet. For this reason, states across the country have established various laws to protect motorcycle riders. In this article, we'll discuss motorcycle laws in New Mexico and discuss how not wearing a helmet may impact personal injury settlements.
If you've been hurt in an accident, call our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers today at (602) 345-1818. You can also text us at that number or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free initial consultation.
For more information on motorcycle laws and safety, please visit the following resources on our website:
- Motorcycle Accident FAQs Part I
- Motorcycle Accident FAQs Part II
- How Not Wearing a Helmet Impacts Your Personal Injury Case in Arizona
New Mexico Motorcycle Safety Laws
When operating or riding a motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle (ATV), New Mexico law mandates that everyone under the age of 18 wear a helmet. The helmet must meet the U.S. Department of Transportation standards. Additionally, anyone riding or operating a motorcycle must wear legally approved protective eyewear, including goggles, safety glasses, or helmets with face shields. Note that the eyewear law applies to motorcyclists of all ages.
But You Should Still Wear a Helmet & Other Protective Gear
Even though a helmet isn't legally required for New Mexico motorcycle riders over the age of 18, it's highly recommended that you do wear a helmet while enjoying your bike. According to the NHSTA, about 1,872 lives are saved each year by helmets. NHSTA also states that helmets effectively prevent fatal brain injuries for motorcycle operators (37 percent effective) and passengers (41 percent effective). Wearing a helmet, though not legally required, could very likely save your life.
Other protective gear like heavy-duty jackets, pants, gloves, and boots are also recommended. Protective gear from head to toe could protect you from rocks and flying debris, road rash, etc. Here are a few motorcycle safety tips to keep in mind while cruising New Mexico roads:
- Make yourself visible - Wear bright colors and use reflective materials
- Ride in visible locations - Avoid blindspots, maintain space between other vehicles in case of sudden stops or emergencies, use turn signals, and proceed with caution when switching lanes
- Don't share lanes with cars - Drivers are not typically conditioned to see motorcycles, so they may not be aware of your location. Always be in a visible spot
- Be aware of left-turning cars and red-light runners - these are leading causes of fatal motorcycle accidents
Compensation in a No-Helmet Accident?
If you have been found to be in violation of any New Mexico motorcycle law, you may still be entitled to compensation in a personal injury suit, depending on your case. If you have broken your arm in an accident that was the fault of the other driver, your lack of a helmet or protective eyewear is likely irrelevant to the damages so they shouldn't be factored into your settlement either. However, if an at-fault driver caused injury to you, whether you had on a helmet or not, you could receive compensation. It's important to discuss your specific case with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to understand your legal options, according to the facts of your case.
Contact a New Mexico Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Your personal injury settlement depends on the specific facts of your case. It's important to consult a lawyer to understand what you're up against. If you did contribute fault in the accident, your case could be more complex. In that event, hiring a lawyer is especially advisable. If you contributed to the fault in an accident or received a ticket for breaking the law, compensation is still possible. Call or text Impact Legal today at (602) 345-1818. We provide free in-person or online initial consultations, and we're ready to fight for you.