Recent Study on Motorcycle Helmet Use and Injuries

motorcycle helmet, motorcycle accident
Photo from Bikebandit.com

A recent study by the Journal of American Medical Association was conducted on motorcycle accidents with and without helmets. The study concluded that riders wearing helmets are less likely to suffer head injuries in an accident but end up with more injuries to other parts of their bodies.

Researchers concluded this may be because helmet wearing riders are more likely to survive high impact crashes versus those that do not wear helmets (fatality rates were not factored into the study).

Motorcycle Studies and Helmets

Data was collected from 2007 through 2010 from 86,000 motorcycle related accidents. Research confirmed that motorcyclists not wearing helmets were more than half as likely to end up with head injuries versus those that were wearing helmets. Riders wearing helmets were also less likely to die in an accident.

Researchers also believe that increased injuries to other parts of the body might be because riders wearing helmets may ride at higher speeds and feel more secure versus those that do not. In my experiences, I don’t believe this to be true.

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One fact that was mentioned in the article and which I agree with, is that policymakers need to consider the long term financial impact of those involved in accidents not wearing helmets. Fact is, while I personally believe riders should be free to do as they wish, as a bankruptcy attorney I can tell you more than fifty percent of personal filings are because of medical bills.

This was confirmed in a Harvard Study in 2010 which concluded that 62% of personal bankruptcy filings were due to outstanding medical bills. Of those that file bankruptcy, 78% have medical bills listed on their creditor’s list.

Motorcycle Helmets- Yes or No?

There is a fine line to cross when it comes to infringing on our rights not only as bikers, but also as citizens. Regardless, the issue of healthcare cannot be overlooked or ignored.

In Florida, if you do not have health insurance, you have to wear a helmet, but the fact is, that is a secondary offense that has no bite. There are no “points” assessed to your license so it does not affect your insurance rates or your driver’s license. Add to that the minimal auto insurance policy required in Florida is $10,000 PIP (personal injury protection) and property damage, but BI (bodily injury) is not required.

There is nothing more difficult than having to explain to a client that while I understand they have suffered substantial damages whether physical, psychological, even financial, the most I can recover is $10,000 minus medical bills and attorney’s fees. Lawsuits are rare (Florida is a bankruptcy haven) because a homeowner’s primary residence is protected and regardless, a bankruptcy would eliminate the debt obligation.

The fact is, policymakers should create a trust fund for bikers involved in accidents where if it is at no fault of their own, a percentage of the fine from the traffic ticket that was issued to the at-fault party is disbursed to motorcycle accident victim(s) after undergoing a thorough application process.

That may help reduce the amount of bankruptcies including reducing the ever increasing costs of health insurance. I will also advocate much stricter laws on accidents especially for those involved in motorcycle accidents.

For the motorcycle helmet laws in your state, click this link.

Please, be safe and watch out for motorcycles!

MC Atty

6 thoughts on “Recent Study on Motorcycle Helmet Use and Injuries

  • July 16, 2016 at 11:42 am
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    Klara, I’m sure you have heard the dumbest excuses possible. It is beyond my understanding. Then, they are not consistent- they won’t wear a helmet but wear gloves. Huh?

  • July 15, 2016 at 6:24 pm
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    I have no idea why people ride without a helmet.It’s a fact that a helmet could save you from any type of risky position when you are ride on the street. Helmet is very essential for main part of your body that is head.

  • June 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm
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    Ryder White- from day one, I used mine, so I feel awkward without it.

  • June 4, 2016 at 4:42 am
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    Safety is important while bike riding, I always prefer wearing helmet while my rides. Thanks for sharing

  • April 5, 2016 at 8:15 pm
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    I have no idea why people ride without a helmet. Someone posted on my facebook page the other day that he had accident with and without, so really it depends on your guardian angel. I didn’t reply. It’s a fact a helmet could save your life, but others argue that because of the position of your head when it hits the floor with helmet on, could cause other injuries. Ok…. but I still have my head intact. So go figure.

  • April 4, 2016 at 9:50 am
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    This is a very interesting report. Here in Europe helmets are a legal requirement everywhere – with the access we have to statistics today I can’t believe that anybody would ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Just as driving a car without using a seat belt is stupid. It’s not merely a question of human rights but of the wider impact of potential injury on family and the wider community.

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