Riding a motorcycle provides the thrilling sensation of pure freedom and an unrivaled adrenaline rush. But, like any other driver, motorcycle riders are subject to the same laws and same responsibilities of the road: heeding traffic signals, obeying speed limits, avoiding driving while under the influence, avoiding driving between lanes, paying attention and avoiding distractions. Unfortunately, however, motorcycle riders risk accident injuries at a much higher rate, particularly major accident injuries.
Deadly motorcycle accident injuries more common than in cars
Motorcycle riders are 35 times more likely to experience a deadly accident on the road than those in passenger cars.
Eleven percent of all roadway accidents that occur in the United States involve motorcycles. Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents. Helmets reduce the risk of death in motorcycle accidents by 37% and the risk of head injury by 69%. The United States saved $3 billion due to helmet use in 2010.
Motorcycle accident injuries decreased with helmet laws
In Louisiana, motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets. Since Louisiana re-enacted its universal helmet law in 2004, helmet use increased from 60% to 99%. Louisiana ranks #4 in the nation for lives saved and economic costs saved due to helmet use. Although opponents of mandatory helmet laws argue that universal helmet laws restricts one’s freedom, so do many other laws that are for the greater good of society, like drunk driving laws and cell phone use laws to name a few. The statistics are clear: a universal helmet law is the most effective way to reduce the number of people who are seriously injured or killed from motorcycle accidents. When a universal helmet law is enacted, helmet use dramatically increases, and states see an across-the-board decrease in deaths. If states repeal the law, they see an increase in deaths.
Motorcycle safety training helps riders avoid motorcycle accident injuries
While equipment such as helmets, gloves, sturdy footwear and other protective gear is encouraged, the American Motorcycle Association also endorses motorcycle safety training. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2007 that unlicensed or improperly licensed motorcycle operators are over-represented in fatality statistics. Their research shows that about 26% of motorcycle accident fatalities nationwide involve operators with no motorcycle license or endorsement. Regardless of the protective equipment worn, any motorcyclist involved in a crash is at considerable risk. This makes it all the more vital to avoid a motorcycle crash in the first place. Although, the benefits of motorcycle safety training are unclear, any steps to make our roads safer are vital to the greater good of our community.