Washington Motorcycle Helmet Law

Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet LawWashington Motorcycle Helmet Law

STATUTE:

Title 46. Motor Vehicles. Chapter 46.37. Vehicle Lighting and Other Equipment. Section 46.37.530. Motorcycles, Motor-driven Cycles, or Mopeds–helmets, Other Equipment–Children–Rules. :“(1) It is unlawful:”(c) For any person to operate or ride upon a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or moped on a state highway, county road, or city street unless wearing upon his or her head a protective helmet of a type conforming to rules adopted by the state patrol except when the vehicle is an antique motor-driven cycle or automobile that is licensed as a motorcycle or when the vehicle is equipped with seat belts and roll bars approved by the state patrol. The helmet must be equipped with either a neck or chin strap which shall be fastened securely while the motorcycle or motor-driven cycle is in motion; . . .”

FINE:

Notice of Infraction, $66. The fine in Chelan County is $71.00

STANDARDS:

Title 46. Motor Vehicles. Chapter 46.37. Vehicle Lighting and Other Equipment. Section 46.37.530. Motorcycles, Motor-driven Cycles, or Mopeds–helmets, Other Equipment–Children–Rules. :“(2) The state patrol is hereby authorized and empowered to adopt and amend rules, pursuant to the administrative procedure act, concerning the standards and procedures for conformance of rules adopted for glasses, goggles, face shields, and protective helmets.”

COURT DECISIONS:

“State patrol regulation regarding safety standards for protective motorcycle helmets, adopted pursuant to Head Injury Prevention Act, failed to provide fair notice or ascertainable standards of types of helmets which would comply with Act and, thus, portion of Act requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets was unconstitutionally vague where ordinary citizen of average intelligence would not have known how to locate federal standard for helmets adopted by state patrol regulation and even if ordinary citizen could have found federal regulation, he or she would not have understood what was required to comply with Act.” State v. Maxwell (1994) 74 Wash.App. 688, 878 P.2d 1220, reconsideration denied.”Based upon the plain language of the regulation and on authority from other jurisdictions, we conclude the law is not unconstitutionally vague. The federal law, quoted in the Washington rule, requires that manufacturers certify that their helmets comply with the federal standards by applying a permanent label, reading “DOT,” in a prominent manner on the outside of the helmet. Several other states have held that a motorcyclist can avoid violating similar laws by buying any motorcycle helmet which is labeled “DOT” by the manufacturer. . . . In the current regulation adopted by the Washington State Patrol, the labeling requirements from the federal law are included so that a purchaser will know to buy a helmet which is so labeled. . . . We hold that the regulation adopted by the State Patrol is sufficiently clear to put a person of normal intelligence on notice of what conduct is prohibited.” Washington v. Spears (1998)

RELATED INFORMATION:

Unconstitutional in Spokane – May 2nd, Superior Court rules: helmet ticket “unconstitutional”.

CURRENT ACTIVITY:

July 27, 2003 SB 5335 – Defines “motorcycle” helmet. “Helmet is a Helmet” and goes into effect 7/27/03.

“For purposes of this section, “motorcycle helmet” means a protective covering for the head consisting of a hard outer shell, padding adjacent to and inside the outer shell, and a neck or chin strap type retention system, with a sticker indicating that the motorcycle helmet meets standards established by the United States Department of Transportation.”

HB 1080/SB 5230 – will modify the WA Helmet Law to allow choice of helmet use for adults 21 and over.SB 5335 – Defines “motorcycle” helmet. “Helmet is a Helmet”.SB 5457 – Posting hazards to motorcycles requiring “Motorcycle Caution” signs in road constructions sites in WA.SB 5229 – Separate training for two and three-wheeled motorcycles.

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