Each year, hundreds of motorcycle riders are injured or killed in the State of Tennessee. While there are many reasons for casualties in motorcycle collisions, one thing that a person can do to prevent more serious injuries, is to wear an state approved helmet. Under Tennessee state statutes, all motorcycle riders, or riders of any motorized, two wheel conveyance, are required to wear a helmet at all times while operating the vehicle. However, not all helmets sold are approved for use in the State of Tennessee. Therefore, all motorcycle, moped and scooter operators should be aware of what type of helmets are approved.
Specific Helmet Requirement
The laws of Tennessee, concerning helmets for motorcycle operators are specific in requiring crash helmets that meet federal safety requirements as covered under Tennessee statute 49 CFR 571.218. This includes passengers as well. Unless the operator/passenger is over 21 years of age, in which case the crash helmets must meet the same federal standards as listed in 49 CFR 571.218 but are allowed to have ventilation airways that do not exceed one and one half inches and are passed through the protective shell of the helmet. Additionally, all helmets are required to bear an appropriate sticker designating that the helmet is approved by the American Society for Testing Materials, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Southern Impact Research Center or approved by the Snell Foundation.
Helmet Law Exceptions
Motorcycle operators and passengers are excepted from the helmet laws, if in a parade in which the speed does not exceed 18 miles per hour. Additionally, a helmet is not required for a motorcycle with an enclosed cab that has three wheels in continual contact with the surface of the pavement. Furthermore, helmet laws do not apply to those in operation of a golf cart.
Motorcycle riders should always take the time to research the laws in their area or areas they will be traveling through, in order to be sure to stay in compliance with the laws and regulations of both county and state. As always, safe and proper operation of any vehicle will help protect your life and the lives of others.