Mandatory helmet laws do make a difference in saving lives
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 7, 2013 – Even though some bikers think helmets are a nuisance, statistically, they save lives.
“There is a new report just out that indicates if Michigan had not dumped their mandatory helmet law, 26 bikers would still be alive today,” pointed out Austin personal injury attorney Bobby Lee, of Lee, Gober and Reyna in Austin, Texas.
The research findings were presented by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Unit, and they revealed an 18 percent increase in fatal motorcycle accidents between 2011 and 2012. During that time frame, the study then separated out deaths that occurred after the helmet law was repealed. Similar risks were compared by grouping the fatalities, with one of the groups was riders not wearing helmets before their accidents. One group was those who had been riding under the influence.
“Alcohol was found to quadruple the chances of a fatal accident, which should come as no surprise. However, the other figure the researchers extrapolated was that riding without a helmet doubles the risk of death and increases the risk of serious injury by 60 percent. In further crunching the numbers, it turned out a 21 percent reduction in fatal accidents would have been possible had the helmet choice law not been passed,” explained Lee.
The choice to wear or not wear a helmet in Michigan was passed in April of 2012 and permitted any biker over the age of 21-years old to choose whether or not they wanted to don the headgear. They also have to have at least two years biking experience, be completely insured for medical care and any others riders.
In Texas, riders over 21-years of age are exempt if they show either proof of a medical insurance policy or that they successfully completed a biker training and safety course. It is reasonable to expect that the results found in Michigan would also apply in Texas, as the issues involved in biking are similar, no matter where one lives.
“I see bikers who are alive, but wish they had worn their safety gear, as they are struggling with traumatic brain injury —- something a helmet does help prevent. To be honest, depending on the circumstances of the accident, a helmet may not completely protect a rider from serious injury or death, but it may provide them with less serious injuries. Those who are ejected from their bikes tend to sustain other injuries that may kill them as well, aside from head injuries,” suggested Lee.
Laws mandating bikers wear helmets exist in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Laws that mandate only some bikers wear motorcycle helmets are applicable in 28 states and there are no helmet laws in New Hampshire, Illinois and Iowa.
Lee, Gober and Reyna
11940 Jollyville Road, Suite 220-S
Austin, Texas 78759