Man putting on motorcycle helmet

Helmet Laws Save Lives

There is no way to avoid it. Motorcycles are simply and inherently riskier to drive than cars. This is due, in large part, to the basic structural difference between these two modes of transportation. Motorcycles are less stable than cars when braking, particularly in emergency braking situations, and swerving to avoid something such as an object or other obstruction on the roadway. Furthermore, motorcycles are smaller and, thus, less visible on the road. They also lack basic safety features like seatbelts, airbags, and the strong structural protection afforded by the walls and roof of a car. Taking this all in totality, it may not be too surprising to find out that the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), has found that, per mile, the number of motorcycle fatalities in 2019 was almost 29 times greater than that of car fatalities.

We are by no means advocating for motorcyclists to put away their bikes and opt for only car and other passenger vehicle transportation. After all, there are few experiences like that of riding a motorcycle. The freedom that comes with being on a motorcycle on the open road is unparalleled. There are, however, certain precautions motorcyclists should consider taking in order to prevent accidents from occurring and to minimize the chances of death or serious injury in the event of an accident. For instance, helmet use can be critical to avoiding death or serious injury in the event of a motorcycle accident.

Helmet Laws Save Lives

The NHTSA reports that wearing a helmet can reduce the chances of dying in a crash by 37 percent. A study conducted by the NHTSA also shows that riders without helmets are three times more likely to sustain traumatic brain injuries in the event of a crash than helmeted riders. The numbers speak for themselves. Helmets save lives. In fact, it is no stretch to say that a properly fitted helmet is the most critical piece of motorcycle safety equipment. 

When talking about the life-saving powers of motorcycle helmets, it is important to understand that we are referring to those helmets that meet federal performance standards. After all, there are novelty helmets that may be stylish or offer fun aesthetic features, but they do not meet the stringent federal safety standards of those helmets designed to reduce the threat of head trauma in the event of a motorcycle crash. Certified helmets come in a variety of styles. Some cover the upper half of the head, above the ears, some offer full coverage. Some are open-faced and others offer full-face coverage. Generally speaking, full coverage helmets offer greater protection.

Despite the statistics clearly showing the effectiveness of helmets in safeguarding motorcyclists, only 18 states, and the District of Columbia, have universal helmet laws in place. There are 29 states that have helmet laws pertaining to a select group of riders, such as those riders who are younger than 18, but that’s it. There are currently three states—Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire—that do not have any helmet requirements in place. Despite the lack of legislation in place across the U.S., it has been shown that universal helmet laws that require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets are very effective. Most people tend to comply with these laws. More use of helmets, in turn, leads to more lives saved.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

At Cooper, Schall & Levy, we know that the road is a dangerous place. Stay safe out there. Motorcyclists, wear helmets and other safety gear. You might just be saving your life. Contact us today.