Being in an accident is an experience no one easily forgets, and tends to make people more cautious while on the road. While there is a continued focus on road safety practices as a means of lowering the rate of accidents, these are not always widely followed. In some cases, such as for motorcyclists, following safety norms becomes even more critical given that a motorcycle accident can result in serious injuries and even death.
Every state has different legislation on what constitutes appropriate driver and passenger protection. As residents of Roanoke, Virginia, may know, motorcyclists are required to have some protection for their face and eyes, either through a windshield or a face shield and safety glasses, while pillion riders must wear a helmet. The only exception is where the motorcycle has a fixed roof or is otherwise completely enclosed; however, per Virginia law, not wearing such equipment does not automatically constitute negligence.
Also, there are specific guidelines on the type and design of safety equipment and selling and using other types within the state is illegal. The use of non-standard equipment can be risky, since the materials used may not offer adequate protection in an accident. On the contrary, there is also the chance that substandard gear will result in injuries to the wearer.
The use of safety gear may only take care of one aspect of injuries to motorcycle accident victims, but it does ensure that the potential for a fatal injury is lessened. Motorcyclists are more exposed than other drivers and, due to an accident, run the risk of catastrophic injuries. When accidents involving motorcyclists occur due to the negligence of the other driver, victims can seek compensation through legal avenues, which can sometimes be conditional on whether they were using safety equipment at the time of the incident.
Source: Virginia.gov, "§ 46.2-910. Motorcycle and autocycle operators to wear helmets, etc.; certain sales prohibited; penalty," Accessed Oct. 24, 2014