We discussed New Jersey motorcycle helmet law in a recent blog post (December 2), noting that the state is among a small minority of states overall that require both riders and bike passengers to wear helmets at all times. We also noted the distinction between federally approved helmets and so-called “novelty” helmets that lack many of the former’s protective features.
That distinction was tragically demonstrated last week in a fatal motorcycle accident that occurred in Florham Park, when a 29-year-old Randolph man was struck by a vehicle and thrown from his bike. He died at the scene. Authorities say that the man was wearing a novelty helmet, which is not approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”).
As we noted in our earlier post, the DOT approves helmets only when they have a hard outer shell, an impact-absorbing liner and other features that help to protect the head and brain in an accident. Novelty helmets typically fall short of most, if not all, of these requirements.
In New Jersey, some riders wear approved helmets, and some still favor novelty helmets. We previously informed readers that motorcyclists participating in an official New Jersey safety course or testing for a license must wear a federally approved helmet.
Additionally, a bill has been recently introduced that seeks to impose tougher safety standards on motorcyclists. All indications are that novelty helmets may soon be a thing of the past in New Jersey.
Related Resource: www.dailyrecord.com “Randolph, NJ, man dies in motorcycle crash in Florham Park, NJ” December 20, 2010