How effective are motorcycle helmets?
As a personal injury attorney in Riverside, California, I’ve unfortunately seen a fair share of motorcycle accident cases. During these tragic events, many riders suffer life-altering injuries, often to the head.
When discussing motorcycle accidents and injuries, I often find the question of helmet-effectiveness comes into play. Are they worth the discomfort? Do they really protect that much?
In an effort to answer these questions (and advocate the use of helmets), I’ve found some data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
According to the IIHS site, helmets decrease the severity of head injuries, the likelihood of death, and the resulting costs of medical treatment and care. Helmets are highly effective in preventing brain injuries, which could result in a lifelong disability.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that motorcyclists without helmets are three times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries than helmeted riders. Helmets also reduced the likelihood of fatality by 37 percent.
Regardless of the practicality of motorcycle helmets, riders are still required to wear them by law in California. Any passengers on a motorcycle must also wear a helmet. California motorcyclists also must wear a helmet that meets the requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218.
If you still aren’t convinced that wearing a helmet when riding is right for you, consider these facts: after California introduced its mandatory helmet law in 1992, health care costs associated with motorcycle-related head injuries declined. The rate of motorcyclists hospitalized for head injuries declined 48 percent in 1993 compared to 1991. That also correlates with the total costs for patients with head injuries decreasing by $20.5 million during that span.
As a motorcycle accident attorney, I’ve seen the benefits of a motorcycle helmet and recommend to all my clients that they wear one whenever firing up their bike.
If you have any questions about helmet laws or personal injuries related to motorcycle accidents, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.