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Life-saving motorcycle helmets required in less than half of U.S. states

Motorcycle deaths in U.S. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys“Click it or ticket,” is the familiar slogan reminding us that, across much of the country, the law requires drivers to buckle up. It’s a law that makes sense, as seat belts are perhaps the most important factor in determining whether a driver will survive a car crash. So, why don’t we apply the same kind of logic when it comes to motorists 30 times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash?

Traveling at high speeds and almost entirely exposed, motorcycle riders are among the most vulnerable motorists on the road.  Motorcycles are also less stable and harder to see, compared with other large vehicles on the road. When accidents happen, the injuries are often serious or even deadly – this is why the NHTSA identifies motorcycles as the most dangerous form of motor vehicle transportation.  Wearing a helmet is one of the most important ways motorcyclists can increase their chances of surviving a crash. It seems like common sense that even the most experienced rider would always wear a helmet, and yet fewer than half of U.S. states require all riders to wear head protection.

Three states (Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire) do not have any motorcycle helmet use laws at all.

Nineteen states have universal helmet laws for all riders, regardless of age, or how long the rider has had his/her license. The remaining 28 states have partial laws, meaning that helmets are only required for riders under a certain age.

Check out this map from the CDC:
motorcycle_helmet_laws_us_05.2012

Thirty-one states, including Pennsylvania, once had universal (all riders) helmet laws, but had those laws repealed. This strikes us as highly illogical, as studies have found that as helmet laws are weakened, rider deaths increase.

The NYT looks at Florida, for example, where the universal helmet law was repealed in 2000. In the years following, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents nearly doubled.

The NHTSA also estimates that helmet use could have saved 721 lives in states without all-rider helmet laws, including 39 lives in Pennsylvania. The evidence in support of universal motorcycle helmet laws is overwhelming. While you might think that the possibility of traumatic brain injury or death would be enough to inspire most riders to wear a helmet, the number of riders killed who were not wearing helmets is significantly higher in states without mandatory helmet laws.

As the warmer weather approaches, we know that lots of avid riders look forward to taking their bikes to the road once again. We hope that every rider will take personal responsibility for his/her safety and wear a helmet, whether it is required by law or not.

If you are involved in a car accident with a motorcycle, the aftermath can be overwhelming both financially and emotionally. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we do not collect a fee unless we win your case. And, our initial consultation is free, so don’t hesitate to come speak with an attorney and learn about your legal options.  We can be reached at 855-866-5529.

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