What Are the New Mexico Helmet Laws?

There is no federal law about helmet use while riding motorcycles; rather, each state establishes its own requirements. New Mexico’s law is relatively simple:

  • Motorcycle riders under age 18 must wear a helmet

  • Passengers are included under the law

  • Helmets must meet the state’s predetermined requirements

  • When selling a motorcycle to a minor, the seller must confirm that the buyer owns an approved helmet

If a motorcycle rider or passenger is age 18 or older, he does not have to wear a helmet. Of course, it is a good idea to wear a helmet and other safety features for protection while riding, but New Mexico state law does not require it. If a motorcyclist suffers injury or death in an accident, an insurance company may not refuse to pay because he was not wearing a helmet.

What the New Mexico Helmet Law Means

In states with strict helmet laws, insurance companies may try to claim that, because a rider was disregarding his own safety by neglecting to wear a helmet, he partially contributed to his own injuries. In New Mexico, however, this strategy does not apply. In fact, the legal code stipulates that, even if a minor is not wearing a helmet, he should not be considered guilty of “contributory negligence.”

  • New Mexico drivers must take extra care to avoid colliding with motorcyclists because they may not be wearing helmets.

  • Many biking injuries in the state are more serious than they would be if helmets were required.

  • Riders and passengers under age 18 must wear an approved helmet in order to do everything possible to protect themselves in the event of an accident.

After a Motorcycle Accident

Whether or not a rider wears a helmet, a collision with another vehicle is usually disastrous. There are several disadvantages that motorcyclists have on the roads:

  • Lack of doors, windows, and walls to protect the rider during an accident

  • Small size of motorcycle makes it hard for drivers to see when changing lanes

  • Prejudice against motorcycling causes some drivers to act aggressively around bikers

  • Falling off a bike and coming in contact with the road is likely to cause serious injury, whether or not the rider is wearing a helmet

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