Motorcycles are fun to ride and offer the rider an incredible sense of freedom. With that freedom is a tradeoff, however. These vehicles don’t have seatbelts, they don’t have airbags, and there is NOTHING between the rider and another vehicle, or the road below. When a motorcycle accident happens, an injury is extremely likely. The main thing that helps prevent serious injury or death during a motorcycle accident is wearing a helmet.
Not all states currently have laws that make wearing a helmet necessary but even so, wearing one dramatically increases the changes you will survive if you have an accident or be spared a serious spinal cord injury that could leave you paralyzed for life. In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 5,286 deaths occurred during a motorcycle accident. Of those, 41% were not wearing a helmet. It is estimated that if all riders were wearing a helmet, more than 800 lives could have been saved in that year alone.
There are many reasons that motorcyclists cite for not wearing a helmet while riding. These include:
- The helmet is cumbersome
- I want to be seen when I am on my bike
- The helmet messes up my hair
And one reason, depending on what state you are in…
- Because there is no law that says I must wear a helmet
Currently, only 19 states have UNIVERSAL HELMET LAWS, which require everyone to wear a helmet. Many states only require SOME people to wear one (Based on age) and 3 states, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Iowa, don’t have ANY laws on the books requiring helmet use at all.
The bottom line is, if you don’t wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, you are risking serious injury or death. The NHTSA reports that when wearing a helmet, you reduce your risk of a head injury by 69% and your risk of dying by 43%. There is NO reason for not wearing a helmet that is more important than protecting you from brain damage, a spinal cord injury, or death. Ride your motorcycle, enjoy your freedom, but by all means, do it while wearing a helmet.