Mandatory Helmet Law


Louisiana



STATUTE:

SUB-PART G. OPERATION OF MOTORCYCLES,
MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLES AND BICYCLES

§190. Safety Helmet
s

A.(1) No person under the age of eighteen years shall operate or ride upon any motorcycle, motor driven cycle, or motorized bicycle unless the person is equipped with and is wearing on the head a safety helmet of the type and design manufactured for use by operators of such vehicles, which shall be secured properly with a chin strap while the vehicle is in motion. All such safety helmets shall consist of lining, padding, visor, and chin strap and shall meet such other specifications as shall be established by the commissioner.

(2) Any person eighteen years of age or older who chooses not to wear a helmet as provided for in Paragraph(1) shall be covered by a health insurance policy with medical benefits of at least ten thousand dollars for bodily injuries and shall furnish proof of such policy to any law enforcement officer upon the request of such officer.

FINE:

Title 32. Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation. Chapter 1. Louisiana Highway Regulatory Act. Part IV. Traffic Regulations. Subpart G. Operation of Motorcycles, Motor-driven Cycles and Bicycles. Section 190. Safety Helmets. :

STANDARDS:

Title 32. Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation. Chapter 1. Louisiana Highway Regulatory Act. Part IV. Traffic Regulations. Subpart G. Operation of Motorcycles, Motor-driven Cycles and Bicycles. Section 190. Safety Helmets. :

COURT DECISIONS:

"Ordinance requiring all cyclists to wear helmets while operating motorcycles within city limits was neither unconstitutionally vague and indefinite nor violative of the equal protection clause. Everhardt v. City of New Orleans, Sup.1968, 253 La. 285, 217 So.2d 400, appeal dismissed 89 S.Ct. 1775, 395 U.S. 212, 23 L.Ed.2d 214.


CURRENT ACTIVITY:

August 10, 2004 - The Louisiana State Police issued a bulletin stating that all bikers and their passengers must wear DOT Approved helmets to comply with the new helmet law. Like chicken teeth, "DOT Approved" helmets don't exist. But I'm sure their are many running around looking for some. NHTSA/DOT is VERY clear that they do not approve or disapprove equipment. Here are 16 quotes taken from various NHTSA documents along with contact info if you still have your doubts...

July 06, 2004 - HB 109 passed the Senate and was signed into law by Governor and requires any person who operates or rides upon a motorcycle to wear a safety helmet. Effective: 08/15/04. See Louisiana ABATE for more info.

June 18, 1999 - Governor Mike Foster signed SB 86 to amend Louisiana's mandatory helmet law to allow freedom of choice for riders 18 and older who carry $10,000 in medical coverage. Foster is a rider and member of ABATE of Louisiana. The helmet mod will be effective August 15, 1999.

May 17, 1999 - SB 86 Goes to House Transportation Committee.

Apr 29, 1999 - SB 86 - Passed out of Senate 22 to 12 after being amended to 21 with $10,000 medical insurance.

Mar 29, 1999 - SB 86 - sponsored by Senator Ron Landry, chairman of the Senate Trans Committee, is a Freedom of Choice bill for 18 and over for next session which opens March 29.


HISTORY:

by Patty Davis, State Vice President of ABATE of Louisiana reporting:

September 19, 1996 - Joe Davis was stopped and ticketed by the Lafayette City Police for his "beanie" helmet last year. We took it to court and won. Not guilty. The judge could not find reason why the helmet did not comply with our (rather vague) law. About 6 weeks later, Joe was stopped and cited again for the same helmet. The cop from the first citation was present but did nothing to stop the citation. We got that one dismissed.

About 4 weeks later, the same cop from the second stop stopped and cited Joe again! The cop got in Joe's face and told him he didn't give a shit about the judge's decision, we were going to have to take it to court again. Fine with us!

We took it to court, this time with an attorney. However, this time we had a different judge. After all the evidence was presented, it was clear that we had proven our case. Louisiana has never adopted FMVSS-218. The "list" of approved helmets is 13 years old! Even the City Prosecutor agreed that we should be found not guilty. The judge reserved judgment for 2 weeks. When we returned in 2 weeks, we had a bunch of ABATE members there for support. It was great.

However, the judge said "guilty"! Can you believe! The reason he gave was that "The helmet in question, in his opinion, did not meet what the legislators had in mind when they wrote the law."

What a cop-out! It was clear he did not want to take the hear from the city cops who are very adament about enforcing the law. The judge told the attorney that he did not feel making the decision on a city level would solve the problem, and asked if we would apeal if found guilty. Of course we said "Yes".

We have filed an appeal with the district court and are waiting to hear something, as we speak.

October 15, 1996 - We got a sponsor for our bill, which seeks to amend the helmet law for freedom of choice for 18 and over. It'll be introduced in Nov.

Also our Gov. Foster just bought a Harley and took the rider education course last weekend.

October 23, 1996 - We just received word that the Lafayette's City Court ruling was upheld by the district court. This was not a big surprise. It was a necessary step to get to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. Wish us luck!

Oh, yeah, our govenor, Mike Foster, just bought a 1997 Road King and he and his staff completed the Rider Ed program. It was all over the news! Great publicity!

November 8, 1996 by Patty Davis - ABATE of Louisiana, Inc. is proud to welcome its newest lifetime member, Governor Mike Foster! He was invited to become a member of ABATE, and promptly responded with a completed application and dues for a lifetime membership. Welcome, Governor Foster! You're the best thing to happen to Louisiana motorcycling since paved roads!

February 1, 1997 - Helmet Case Update: case has gone to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Lk. Charles. No news yet.

Freedom Bill Update: We mailed out letters to all members of the House and are receiving replies daily. We have 7 co-sponsors so far, and about 14 legislators have requested further information, which we will provide. Only about 5 Representatives have replied negatively, stating that they will not support the bill. One said he would not support the bill unless "anyone who suffers a head injury while riding without a helmet agrees to waive all rights to lawsuits or insurance claims". (Yep, he's an insurance man!). But overall, the responses are positive, and we feel very optimistic that we will be a free state soon. Louisiana riders need to contact their legislators and ask them to support the Freedom Bill.

March 26, 1997 - Great news! Senator Ron Landry, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, has agreed to sponsor our bill in the Senate! It is being pre-filed at this moment and will be listed within a few days.

Everyone must call or write their Representative and Senator and tell them to vote for the Helmet Modification Bill HB 673 and SB ?? (As soon as we have a bill # on the Senate side, I will let you know.)

July 15, 1997 - Our helmet law modification legislation passed unanimously out of the Senate Transportation Committee, complete with Governor Foster there at our side, testifying for personal freedom. The bill, SB 1150, hit the Senate floor about two weeks later (mid-May), and a very hot-n-heavy debate ensued. The final result was that the bill got put back on the calendar. We needed 20 votes to pull it back to the floor, and subsequently pass it. We had 15. Given the time constraints and not enough calls to Sentors, the bill never made it back on the floor.

The good news is, this is the farthest we've gotten with helmet legislation in this state in over a decade! And we did not get our butts kicked. We had almost half the Senate! But we need more involvement from the bikers across the state.

No news from the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals yet. We are looking into going with the "No List No Law" avenue. I am currently in the process of contacting the Commissioner of Public Safety. He has sent me a "list" of "approved" helmets, not revised since 1983!

December 13, 1997 Update...

WEBSITES:


-- DISCLAIMER --

The foregoing is provided as educational information only and is not legal advice.