Despite State Laws, All Motorcycle Riders Should Utilize Helmets
It is an undisputed fact that the use of a helmet when riding a motorcycle can monumentally change the outcome of an accident. Despite that, there are only 19 states in this country that have helmet laws in place for all riders; another 28 others have laws for novice riders while New Hampshire does not have any law in place as of May 2012, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Even though there may not be a law established in your state that says you must wear one, all riders need to take control of their own safety by wearing a helmet, or, better yet, a full-face motorcycle helmet. This safety measure is the best, most effective way to prevent injury and even death if you are involved in an accident.
Helmets Save Lives, Reduce Seriousness of Injuries
Over the last 40 years, traffic data and studies have carefully observed helmet use with motorcycle riders and how effective they can be. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2006 that more than 1,600 lives were saved by helmets that year alone, and another 752 people could have been saved if they were all wearing helmets, according to TrafficSafety.org.
Why Are Riders Hesitant?
If the data is so clear-cut and true, why is it that motorcycle riders still choose to get on their bikes without helmets? TrafficSafety.org explained that one of the biggest arguments against helmet use is that laws requiring helmets are an interference with their freedom and right to choose what is best for their own well-being. This sounds more like defiance than rational thinking, as not wearing a helmet can translate into many costs on those left behind. Families of those who pass because they chose not to wear a helmet have to deal with the emotional and financial impacts of that decision to not wear a helmet as to not be controlled by ‘the man.’
Another argument is that helmets, such as the full-face motorcycle helmets required in some states, interfere with the rider’s sight and hearing. These, however, are also erroneous assertion as studies have shown helmets, even full-face ones, do not inhibit either hearing or vision. TrafficSafety.org explained that studies have shown helmets limit less than three percent of peripheral vision, and this can easily be combated if the rider turns their head slightly more to check traffic. Further, the U.S. Department of Transportation found that helmets can actually improve the hearing of riders, and that they do not negatively impact the rider’s ability to hear.
No Excuses—Take Control
No matter what reason for not utilizing helmets, the excuse most likely holds no weight. Ask yourself: what is more important to you, showing defiance or keeping your life? That is the choice you make every time you decide to wear a helmet or not.
Chuck Stevens is an avid blogger always looking to share his experiences and recommendations. He is an advocate for safe-riding in New Hampshire. You can follow him on Twitter @chuckstevens12.