I learned that the U.S. Government agency that studies injuries and fatalities published an article on June 15, 2012, that confirmed my point all along, that wearing a motorcycle helmet should be required by law:
The main points of this study are as follows:
In states with universal (meaning, they apply to all riders) laws, 12 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet. In contrast, states with partial helmet laws saw 64 percent of the fatally injured motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet. In states without a helmet law, that rate climbs to 79 percent.
Looked another way, from 2008 to 2010, 14,283 motorcyclists were killed in crashes, and 6,057 (42 percent) of them were not wearing a helmet.
What do I think about this?
I have long been an advocate for wearing a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet each and every time I ride, and for all riders — regardless of whether the state where one is riding requires it.
The data from this official report (source) confirm it — chances of dying in a motorcycle crash when not wearing a helmet are significantly higher.
The report’s findings support a position that states without mandatory helmet laws should adopt them, and states that have them should keep them.
Unfortunately, one of the largest motorcycle advocacy organizations in the U.S. disagrees. That organization’s President said in response to the release of the above-quoted report, “Historically, the enforcement of helmet mandates has siphoned away scarce funds from effective crash prevention programs such as rider education and motorist awareness.”
Where is the data to support such a statement? There is no evidence that the money that governments allocate to law enforcement agencies, nor within an agency, is broken down by what laws are being enforced. Cops stop people for all sorts of infractions. There is no “savings” incurred that automatically would go toward rider education and motorist awareness if mandatory helmet laws were not enforced. To me, this argument is specious.
Sorry, AMA, you’re absolutely wrong about that one. You take the “let the rider choose” position so you won’t piss off your members who do not want to wear a helmet when they ride, and thus potentially lose members.
Readers of this blog have heard me rant about people (mostly men) who are dumb enough to ride big, heavyweight motorcycles while wearing shorts and sneakers. Not wearing a helmet is just as silly, and as this study confirms — more possibly deadly.
And that’s how I feel. Rant over.
Life is short: and could be shorter if you don’t wear a helmet each and every time you ride!