Motorcycles accidents result in over 5,000 deaths every year in the United States. Compared to automobile drivers, motorcycle riders are 30 times more likely to be killed in a crash. The main reason for the high rate of motorcycle accident fatalities is that motorcycles provide virtually no protection in the event of a crash compared to a car. As a Chicago personal injury lawyer, I am all too familiar with risks of catastrophic injuries from motorcycle accidents. However, there is one simple measure that can drastically reduce the risk of a fatal motorcycle accident. That simple measure is to wear a helmet.
Motorcycle helmets prevent 37% of motorcycle rider fatalities and 41% of passenger fatalities. Thus, helmets increase a motorcycle rider's (and passenger's) chance of survival by over one third. In addition, motorcycle helmets help prevent serious personal injury including brain damage. Indeed, motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of serious head injuries by 69%.
Currently, twenty states require motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear helmets. Twenty-seven other states require helmets for certain riders such as those under age 18. Three states have no motorcycle helmet laws: Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire.
Some argue motorcycle helmets should be required in every state. Others say such a law violates their freedom of choice. Regardless, the fact is motorcycle helmets save lives and reduce the risk of serious injuries. In the end, this should be the main reason why a rider should wear a helmet.
Centers for Disease Control & Safety Website, Motorcycle Safety: Helmets Saves Lives, Last Updated June 28, 2011.
Wikipedia, Motorcycle Safety, January 12, 2012.
Reason.com, The Case Against Motorcycle Helmet Laws, November 25, 2010.