With the coronavirus pandemic raging around, the role of the CDC has been on everyone’s mind because of the guidelines they have established to deal with it. However, the CDC is also concerned with the safety of people riding motorcycles without helmets, and here are some of the statistics they have compiled in that regard:
- In 2016, helmets saved over 1,800 lives
- If all motorcyclists wore helmets every time, the United States could save over a billion dollars in economic costs
- Wearing a helmet means you reduce your risk of death by 37% and of having a head injury by 69%
Additionally, the NHTSA has estimated that helmets saved over 1,870 lives in 2017 and that the number of motorcycle fatalities linked to crashes has more than doubled since 1997
Just by looking at the above statistics, anyone can conclude that adequate head protection is essential when riding a motorcycle. And if you need further proof, here are some more interesting figures:
- There are more than ten times fatalities due to motorcyclists not wearing a helmet in states that do not have or have rescinded universal helmet laws when compared to states that do have those laws in place
- When looking at miles traveled, motorcyclists tend to be killed 28 times more frequently in traffic accidents than drivers or passengers riding in cars
- Despite representing about 3% of all registered vehicles, in 2017 motorcycle accidents represented 14% of total traffic fatalities
Since one of the leading causes of death and disability in the entire United States are head injuries, it is imperative that motorcyclists have proper head protection every time they ride, regardless of whether they live in a state that requires helmets to be worn or in one that does not have these laws in place.
Why do people love riding motorcycles despite these data?
It would seem counterintuitive that people would like to ride on a moving vehicle that is less stable and less visible than most cars. Also, when in a crash, motorcycle riders are not afforded the protection that an enclosed vehicle would provide its riders, resulting in more injuries and more lives lost. However, their high-performance capabilities seem to offer an attraction that is hard to resist.
The data shows that the size of the engines of the motorcycles whose drivers are killed in accidents has increased dramatically. The numbers compiled in 2018 show that 34 percent of motorcycle drivers killed that year had engines larger than 1,400 ccs while those engines accounted for less than 1 percent of motorcycle deaths in 1999.
And if you add to these numbers crashes were drugs and alcohol were involved, the picture is even grimmer. As an example, twenty-six percent of motorcycle drivers that resulted in fatally injured in crashes in 2018 had a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08 percent.
Why are helmets so important?
In short, helmets are important because they can prevent fatal injuries. Their usefulness extends to preventing some of the most catastrophic injuries by protecting the outer layers of a rider’s head. Also, they are a barrier to protect the mouth, nose, eyes, and cheeks of people wearing them.
Is wearing a helmet a guarantee that no injury will occur?
Sadly, no. When a crash takes place, a motorcyclist can withstand significant head injuries even while wearing a helmet. These can be concussions and hemorrhaging, among others. That is why the most important safety feature any motorcycle driver needs to have in place is a commitment to riding with safety in mind. By driving defensively and wearing safety gear, motorcycle riders can definitely move the odds of a catastrophic crash in their favor.
Here’s How to Ride with Safety in Mind
Nobody can predict with accuracy what another person will do at any given moment. And as motorcyclists, that definitely holds true from the people around you on the road. This means that, no matter how careful you are, there are always hazards that can jump at you unexpectedly at any given time.
This means that every time you take to the road you have to keep this truth in mind and ride safely. Here are some ideas to get started:
Drivers of cars and other vehicles sometimes swerve from lane to lane. They may be physically impaired, driving under the influence, texting, and driving, or simply too tired to really bee driving. As motorcycle riders tend to ride between lanes or lane split, it’s extremely important to look out for drivers who are displaying that kind of behavior. If you don’t, you may be forced to swerve suddenly and potentially lose control of your bike.
Even with a top sign clearly ahead of them, there may be cars that speed through them or simply fail to notice them and drive without stopping. Anyone that drives through an intersection irresponsibly, not only put themselves at risk, they endanger all the drivers and riders around them. Even when you think it’s safe to cross, take a few seconds to verify that you are making the right decision to move forward.
There’s no reason to believe that people who tailgate do so only to other cars in front of them. It can feel very threatening to have someone tailgating you when you are on a motorcycle but you need to keep your nerves in check. Otherwise, you’ll soon find out how easy it is to make mistakes. Take the safe route and pull to the side of the road to let them pass. Your life is worth more than getting to your destination a minute sooner.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and were injured, don’t wait to receive medical help to recover your health. Additionally, secure the right legal representation to fight for your rights and get the compensation you deserve. 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service that will put you in touch with a motorcycle accident attorney when you need it most. Reach out to them today.