In South Dakota, only those under 18 years of age have to wear a motorcycle helmet by law. This is quite unlike the other 20 or so states that demand that everyone wears a helmet. South Dakota’s laws are not as strict as this.
The law in South Dakota states that no-one under the age of 18 should operate a motorcycle or travel as a passenger on one without wearing a motorcycle helmet.
If you would like more information about South Dakota’s motorcycle helmet law, please read section 32-20-4 of South Dakota’s Codified Laws.
If you are under 18 years of age and you are not wearing a helmet, you will be in violation of the law. If you are a passenger on a motorcycle and you’re under 18, you must wear a helmet, if you do not both you and the operator of the motorcycle could be issued with a class 2 misdemeanor. An offense such as this could mean that you end up spending a maximum of 30 days in jail, or you could be faced with a $500, or both. While these are the maximum penalties that you’re likely to face, you may just end up with a $100 fine, or thereabouts.
Please note that if you require more information about safety regulations and motorcycle licensing, you should read the South Dakota Department of Public Safety’s Motorcycle Manual.
Now let’s imagine that you decide not to wear a motorcycle helmet, and you are involved in an accident. Let’s also imagine the accident was the fault of another driver, and you want to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. A jury could find you negligent because you failed to wear a helmet, even if you happen to be more than 18 years of age at the time of the accident. What this means in terms of compensation is that it’s likely to be reduced by the percentage of blame that the jury assigned you. What this means is that if your personal injury case is worth $40,000, for example, and the jury finds you 20% responsible for your accident, you could lose 20% of your compensation. So, in a $40,000 personal injury case, you could come away with just $32,000. If you had worn a helmet at the time of the accident, you could walk away with 100% of the compensation.
If you are currently suffering from a personal injury and are unable to read ‘South Dakota’s Motorcycle Helmet Law’ please watch our Injury Pedia video so you can gain the Personal Injury Information and Answers you are seeking.