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Bicycle Helmet Laws in Georgia
In contemporary society, it is common knowledge that wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle is a good idea. However, Georgia bicycle helmet laws only require bicyclists to wear helmets if they are younger than 16. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident and were not wearing a helmet, a bicycle accident attorney knows the law may work to your advantage or disadvantage.
There is a chance you could claim that because helmets are not required by law, your claim should not be affected by your choice not to wear one. Conversely, the jury could decide that you should have known better, regardless of the law. If your helmet was worn out or needed to be replaced prior to your accident, it may be almost as bad as not wearing a helmet at all.
How Often to Replace Bicycle Helmet
Bicycle helmets should generally be replaced every 5-10 years, even if they haven't been in a crash, due to wear and material degradation.
When to Replace a Bicycle Helmet
It's essential to regularly inspect and, when necessary, replace a bicycle helmet to ensure it continues to provide the best protection. Here are some guidelines on when to replace a bicycle helmet:
After a Crash
You should always replace your helmet after a crash, regardless of whether you were seriously injured or if your helmet shows signs of cracking. Helmets can be weakened by any impact, and some cracks are too small to see. If your helmet is weakened, it won’t protect you as well in the next crash.
Similarly, you should always replace a helmet that shows signs of damage. If you notice any visible signs of damage such as cracks, dents, or a broken strap, it's time to replace the helmet. These can weaken the helmet's structure and reduce its effectiveness.
Manufacturers typically recommend replacing a helmet every five to ten years, depending on the materials used and wear and tear. Check the manufacturer's guidelines for your specific helmet.
Loose or Damaged Straps
If the helmet straps are frayed, worn, or no longer hold securely, they should be replaced. Proper strap adjustment is essential for the helmet to stay in place during an accident.
Fading or Discoloration
Exposure to sunlight and environmental factors can weaken the helmet's materials over time. If you notice significant fading or discoloration, consider replacing it.
Lack of Proper Fit
If your helmet no longer fits securely or comfortably on your head, it may be time for a replacement. Proper fit is crucial for effective protection.
Change in Weight or Materials
If your helmet has become noticeably heavier or the padding has deteriorated significantly, it may no longer provide adequate protection.
Outdated Safety Standards
Helmets are continually improved to meet or exceed current safety standards. If your helmet is outdated and does not conform to the latest safety standards, consider replacing it with a newer model.
Additionally, any helmet that is not certified by the following agencies should be replaced:
The condition of these helmets is irrelevant. Helmets that are not certified by any of these agencies are not legal or safe under Georgia bicycle helmet laws.
Odor or Hygiene Issues
Helmets can become smelly over time due to sweat and bacteria. If cleaning no longer helps, and it affects your comfort and hygiene, it might be time to replace it.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, whether you were wearing a helmet at the time of your accident or not, you should contact a bicycle accident attorney.
At Shane Smith Law, our attorneys are familiar with traffic and bicycle helmet laws. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case. Call (980) 246-2656.
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