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Motorcycle Helmets Reduce Injuries and Save Lives

Published January 23, 2015 by Bruce Millar
Motorcycle Helmets Reduce Injuries and Save Lives

As a motorcycle rider, you improve your chances of avoiding a serious injury in a crash by strapping on a certified helmet. Approved helmets have consistently been shown to be the best way for motorcycle riders to reduce traumatic head injuries in motorcycle crashes.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation contends that a helmet is the most important piece of safety gear a rider can use. Not only does it protect your head, face, and brain in a wreck by absorbing the blow, it cuts wind, noise, and deflects flying objects. It also shows that you are a responsible motorcycle rider.

Georgia Law Has Positive Impact

Georgia is among the states where laws requiring riders to wear helmets are reducing head injuries and saving lives. State law in Georgia provides that no person is allowed to operate or ride a motorcycle unless wearing approved protective headgear.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nine out of 10 riders wear DOT certified helmets in states that have universal helmet laws, compared to five out of 10 in states without such laws. Certified helmets have a thicker layer of padding to cushion the head in the event of a crash.

All properly certified motorcycle helmets manufactured after May 2013 are required to contain a label on the rear of the helmet with the model designation, DOT symbol, and the statement “FMVSS No. 218 Certified.” Helmets carrying the DOT label meet minimum safety standards. Have an extra helmet if you carry a passenger.

Motorcycles have become more popular in recent decades for transportation and recreation. As a result, the number of people injured and killed in motorcycle crashes has increased significantly, even as overall car accidents have dropped.

From 2009 through 2013, an average of 134 motorcyclists died each year in Georgia, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia. That is more than double the average number of motorcycle fatalities in the state 15 years ago.

Recent projections show Georgia’s universal helmet law saves an estimated 78 lives based on the current rate of use of helmets in the state. Five more lives could have been saved each year if every rider wore a helmet.

An analysis of that data by CDC found in the 20 states with universal helmet laws, only 12 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists weren’t wearing helmets when they crashed. This is compared to 64 percent in 27 states with partial helmet laws primarily for young riders and 79 percent in three states where helmets weren’t required.

The state’s universal law appears to be making a difference in saving lives.

Follow These Tips

  • Consider using a helmet that meets rigorous testing by the Snell Memorial Foundation, which exceeds standard requirements by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Use a helmet that covers your entire head and face, with protection for your eyes from debris.
  • Make sure your helmet has a snug fit and sits squarely on your head, so it won’t slip around while you’re riding.
  • Keep your helmet and the face shield clean. Use only mild soaps for cleaning and if the face shield gets scratched, replace it.
  • Replace your helmet if it is damaged in a crash or if dropped onto a hard surface, which could undermine its ability to protect your head.

Obeying the Law Is Important

Not only does Georgia state law require motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, but failing to wear a helmet at the time of a wreck could hinder your ability to collect damages to cover the cost of injuries.

If you are involved in a motorcycle crash caused by another driver, contact an attorney experienced with handling motorcycle related accidents. You will need someone to help you navigate the legal system to ensure you receive an award from the driver who caused the damage.

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