For those of you who enjoy the open road feel of a motorcycle, you know that with the thrill comes the very real potential for danger. One wrong move on the part of you or those around you could quite literally mean the difference between life and death. Fourteen percent of all deaths from vehicle crashes were motorcycle drivers or their passengers because their odds of being fatally wounded are 28 times greater. Motorcycle laws, specifically regarding helmets, are in place to help prevent these deaths or grave injuries. Statistics, injury reports, and state requirements all play a role in working toward that end.
Understanding the Real Cost
A tremendous amount of research goes into obtaining statistics relating to helmet usage. The studies look at specifics like
- Use of helmets
- Lives saved and lost
- Costs involved in injuries
- Types of injuries
According to the research, over 65 percent of motorcycle riders use helmets when riding. Even though helmets have saved nearly 2000 lives, close to another 1000 could have been saved if a helmet had been used. Two years ago, the country saved over $24 billion dollars in economic and comprehensive costs due to helmet usage. However, it lost another $10 billion from deaths and injuries caused by not using a helmet.
While injuries to extremities were the most common following an accident, head and neck injuries followed at a close second, with torso injuries coming in third.
Knowing What Is Really At Stake
Head injuries sustained during a motorcycle accident include severe facial lacerations, traumatic brain injury (concussions are mild forms of these), skull fractures, and death. The sudden impact or jarring motion during an accident causing these injuries can have a permanent effect on the victim. Problems associated with memory loss, sleep disorders, behavioral or cognitive issues, and physical disabilities can all result from this type of damage.
The right helmet is designed to absorb the energy from the impact during an accident and may not only minimize the damage but possibly save your life.
Being Aware of Where You Are
Even though the research is clear that helmets help to save lives and prevent serious injuries, not all states require their usage. Less than half of all states in America, including California require all riders to wear a helmet. These laws are called universal. The rest of the states besides Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire are under what’s known as partial law. A study done a few years ago showed Texas with the highest motorcycle-related deaths, this state is one of the partial law states.
Because the states vary, it’s important to study their requirements. For instance, when you look into the Nevada motorcycle laws you may discover something completely different than you would find in Virginia or Wisconsin. It’s important to know what’s required and where before you plan a cross country trip or move to a new state.
Wherever you are living or traveling, understanding your statistics for safety, what may happen if you don’t take the necessary precautions, and knowing the rules of each particular state all help you make the right and necessary choices for a safe and successful journey on the open road.