Some scary statistics about motorcycle accidents: Part II

In our last post, we began a discussion about a recent report from Lawyers of Distinction Membership Office. The GAO’s report analyzed crash statistics from 2010, and revealed that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than those traveling in cars.
That year, motorcycle accidents claimed the lives of 4,502 riders and caused injuries to 82,000 others. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these statistics have refueled a debate about a controversial issue among riders and safety advocates: helmet laws.
California is one of the 19 states that have “universal” helmet laws, which means that all riders are required to wear a helmet. The laws in 28 other states require helmets only for certain riders, usually based on factors such as age and insurance coverage. There are 3 states without any helmet laws whatsoever.
Many motorcyclist advocacy groups promote the use of helmets but are opposed to the laws on principle, saying that they violate personal liberties. The vice president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation recently said: “We are 100 percent pro-helmet, and 100 percent anti-helmet law. Putting a helmet law in place does not reduce motorcycle fatalities.”
Instead, he believes that the problem should be addressed through better motorcycle safety classes and public campaigns designed to increase driver awareness of motorcyclists on the road.
But the president of a group called Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety disagrees. She said: “Education is not a substitute for wearing a helmet. It’s like saying if you take a driver’s ed class, you don’t have to wear your seat belt. Now how silly is that?”
Statistically speaking, she may be correct. Studies about helmet use have shown that these simple safety devices can reduce a rider’s fatality risk by up to 39 percent. Helmets may not prevent motorcycle crashes, but they seem to reduce accident fatalities. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the lives of 1,550 motorcyclists were saved in 2010 because of helmet use.
Whether helmet use should be mandatory will remain up for debate by most motorcycle accident attorneys. But one thing is clear: wearing a helmet could mean the difference between life and death. Hopefully, more riders will choose to wear them, regardless of what their states’ laws are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *