Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law

Twelve motorcycle riders filed a class action lawsuit over mandatory helmet law against Nevada Clark County and five cities within it—Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Mesquite and Boulder City. The bikers are suing the county and the cities for violating the Fourth and the 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Nevada’s current law stipulates that wearing a motorcycle helmet is mandatory for motorcyclists.

This lawsuit could represent more than 40,000 motorcycle riders in the county, if certified as class.

In the official documents, the charges go like this “defendants, through their agents, have an ongoing pattern and practice of issuing helmet tickets to the class members that are not supported by constitutionally sufficient probable cause, thereby violating the civil rights of the class members.” According to the lawsuit, this violates the Fourth Amendment that forbids unreasonable search and seizure.

The suit also alleges violations of the 14th Amendment that protects against arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.  It says that the defendants “have an ongoing pattern and practice of dismissing helmet tickets when contested in the courts or appealed to the courts, thereby denying the class members their due process rights to challenge enforcement of the Nevada Helmet Law.”

Another allegation says that there’s a disparity in fines for helmet law violations and there’s no rational basis for that disparity. The plaintiffs also claim that the Nevada helmet law is enforced “as a pretext for invading” their civil rights.


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