Warm weather and sunny skies mean that motorcycles will become a more frequent sight on the roadways of America. The sound of two-stroke engines will echo in the atmosphere of suburbs and neighborhoods as weekend riders set off on their two-wheeled machines to fulfill their sense of adventure. This also means that there is more at risk for all drivers if appropriate gear and precautions are not taken.
Helmets Save Lives
According to saferoads.org,“Motorcycles are the most hazardous form of motor vehicle transportation.”
Motorcycle riders are 26 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than people in cars or trucks. Motorcycle crash statistics have been decreasing over the last 3 years, but that doesn’t mean that they are acceptable numbers.
In 2013, 4,692 people lost their life in a motorcycle accident, and that number went down to 4,586 by 2014. Motorcycles represented 14% of traffic fatalities in 2013! Experts speculate that the leading factor separating an injury from a fatality comes down to a motorcyclist’s helmet.
Head injuries are one of the leading causes of death and disability in America, so having the correct head protection is vital for anyone riding a motorcycle. How much of an impact does a helmet have on motorcycle accidents?
According to Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, motorcycle helmets currently prevent $17 billion in societal harm per year! They say another $8 billion could be saved if all motorcycle riders wore their helmets.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Texas
Every state has a different helmet law. In Texas, you are only required to wear a helmet if you are 21. Any rider over 21 does not have to wear a helmet if they meet 2 requirements. They have to complete a motorcycle safety course and be covered by a $10,000 insurance policy for accident and medical. Basically, if you are old enough, and have the necessary training and coverage, you are free to make your own decision about wearing a helmet or not.
The Helmet Debate
If all states require drivers to wear a seat belt by law, then why don’t they all require riders to wear helmets? Since 1967, there has been an ongoing helmet debate on whether or not the federal government should encourage states to pass helmet laws for motorcycle riders.
Today, 20 states require that all riders must wear a helmet, 27 states (Texas included) have helmet laws that are only mandatory to certain riders. Illinois, New Hampshire, and Iowa are the only states that have no helmet laws at all.
The main argument for having a helmet law is that it can save lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of death in an accident by 29%. Helmets can lower the risk of head and neck injuries.
There is also a legal benefit to helmet laws. They say that a helmet law can reduce the number of stolen motorcycles. Claiming that most bike thieves often do not wear a helmet, which can be a suspicious red flag to law enforcement. The Texas Department of Public Safety stated that motorcycle theft dropped by 44% in two years for 19 cities after Texas passed a mandatory helmet law.
On the other side of the debate you have people who are just as passionate about not being pressured by law to wear a helmet if they choose not to. They feel that the federal government has no right to go over a state’s head and force all riders into wearing helmets. They are not completely against helmet laws however. Laws that require minors to wear a helmet is something they do agree with since they feel younger riders may lack the skill and maturity to make a proper decision about using a helmet.
The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), feels that education is the best solution for safety, not legislation. The AMA actually encourages riders to wear helmets, out of common sense safety, but feel that the decision should be left to each individual biker. Their view is that a helmet laws will not prevent an accident, but education on safe riding can.
Helmets and Freedom
Motorcycles have always been seen as a symbol of freedom ever since the film “Easy Rider” became a cult classic that capture a moment in American history. Now that the weather is starting to warm up and the days are longer, bikers everywhere want to get their motor running and hit the open road on an adventure. It is up to everyone to practice safe driving and riding by staying focused on the road and avoiding distractions from smart phones. The roads are big enough for bikers and drivers to share. Remember to look twice for bikes and give them safe distance on the road. Together we can keep decreasing the number of fatal motorcycle accidents.
Jeff is Here 4 You!
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, Jeff is here for you! Davis Law Firm is standing by 24/7 to listen to your case. Our team of legal representative offer free consultation, so don’t suffer another day and contact us today!