Wearing a helmet whilst riding a motorcycle is one of those regulations that varies from country to country and it is often difficult to know what the laws are.
Montevideo is no exception, walking around the city you will see a large number of small motorcycles and scooters on the roads with riders in varying safety dress, so far I have seen riders in the following states:
- Helmet worn on head (fastened under the chin) and protective clothing
- Helmet worn on head (fastened under the chin)
- Helmet worn on head (unfastened under the chin)
- Helmet perched on top of head (like a baseball cap)
- Helmet perched on top of head (like a baseball cap) over baseball cap
- Helmet worn on elbow
- Helmet perched on handlebar
- No helmet at all
So exactly what are the regulations here?
After discussion with a couple of motorbike vendors I have managed to ascertain that wearing a helmet in Uruguay is a legal requirement. The law requires it be fastened securely however there is no requirement for the helmet pass any safety regulations – one vendor joked that you could wear a plastic bucket as long as it was tied to your head.
Whilst wearing a helmet is a legal requirement there appears to be very limited enforcement of the law and I would estimat 30-40% of riders do not adhere to it from my observations.
Regardless of the regulations the more reputable motorcycle dealers I spoke to all made it very clear that they do wear a helmet and they always opt for reputable North American, European or Japanese brands that have passed the relevant safety regulations. In addition to the helmet the author would also recommend the wearing of protective clothing on the body as a course of good practice after discussion with emergency room nurses that have seen the results of riders falling in jeans!
* Note this information is intended as a guideline only and no warranty is offered as to its accuracy, the author offers no legal advice and reminds readers that laws can change at any time.