Time and time again, you see articles in the paper and on the news about motorcycle accident deaths. Usually, part of the story revolves around whether or not the biker was wearing a helmet. I don’t know if you recall this or not, but famous Hollywood actor Gary Busey, a motorcycle fanatic, was involved in a very serious accident in December 1988 in which his head hit a concrete curb. He was not wearing a helmet and he fractured his skull. To this day he still talks about the effect of brain damage and the fact that he nearly died.
What does this have to do with you? It has to do with all motorcycle riders and it’s coming from my perspective as a motorcycle accident attorney. I have seen and heard about some incredibly awful accidents. I have handled numerous crash cases in my capacity as a motorcycle accident attorney, and I would like to “not” see you in my office because you were badly injured and debilitated to the point where your quality of life is questionable.
Motorcycles are dangerous and any practicing motorcycle accident attorney will tell you that if you ask about motorcycle accident statistics and the number of cases we handle. My answer to that is frequently a fervent wish that bikers take more care and wear a helmet, because as trite as it may sound, it can and does save lives.
Of interest is the fact that motorcycles make up just 2% of all the registered vehicles in the US. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but, consider this; just about 5% of highway fatalities every year involve bikers and/or their riders. It goes without saying that injuries and death stalk more bikers than other vehicles, just because of their nature. When I prepare for a case, the motorcycle accident attorney in me always prompts me to search for valuable statistics to use in cases.
One statistic I found is an eye-opener for everyone, and that is that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that for every mile ridden, the number of deaths on bikes is about 35 times higher than in cars. Thirty five times higher. All the more reason to make sure the rider uses as many safety precautions as possible to lessen the chance of serious injuries or death, and a helmet is just one other safety feature that makes sense. I can say this with authority given the nature of my job as a motorcycle accident attorney.
I likely don’t need to reinvent the wheel and tell you that bikers have zero for protection but for their safety gear. As an auto accident attorney as well as a motorcycle accident attorney, I have seen many car crashes too, and most of the people were able to get out alive, thanks to that steel cage that provides a layer of protection for them. They also have seatbelts and airbags. A biker has their leathers (if they’re wearing them), a helmet and that’s about it. They don’t even have the same stability as a four-wheeled vehicle does.
Do I believe in helmets? Given the fact that my job is a motorcycle accident attorney, I would say without hesitation that helmets “do” reduce the death toll in these kinds of accidents. They also cut down on the number of traumatic brain injuries, thus reducing the costs of medical care. Just to refer to the NHTSA once again, they reveal that wearing the right kind of helmet (safety rated and properly fitted) reduces the chance of the bikers and the passenger’s death by 37%. That’s a significant number.
Another fact that I ran across the other day while I was talking to another motorcycle accident attorney, is that in every state with universal helmet laws or where they have reinstated a previous law, helmet use has gone up dramatically. The good news is this: motorcycle accident deaths and injuries have decreased as a result. The bad news? The other motorcycle accident attorney told me that states with weakened helmet laws, or that repealed the law, have much higher death and injury tolls.
California has a helmet law. As a motorcycle accident attorney, I strongly urge you to follow it, for safety’s sake.