With May being Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we are all encouraged
to watch out and be aware of motorcyclists while we’re driving,
and to share the road with all other drivers, regardless of the sizes
of their vehicles.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also highlighted a specific concern related to motorcycle helmet
use. While fatalities from motorcycle crashes have increased, the number
of motorcyclists wearing helmets has decreased, with 60 percent donning
helmets in 2012 compared to 66 percent in 2011.
A decline in helmet use raises serious concerns, as head injuries are the
leading cause of death when it comes to motorcycle accidents. According
to the NHTSA, in 2012 alone, 1,699 lives were saved because of motorcycle
helmet use, and another 781 motorcyclists could have been saved if they
had worn helmets.
Only nineteen states – among them, California – have universal
helmet laws that require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since the implementation of the universal helmet law in California
in 1992, the number of motorcycle fatalities in California decreased by
37 percent. California is currently ranked 15th in the United States for
lives saved and economic costs saved as a result of helmet use.
Helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent and the risk of head injury
by 69 percent. These statistics, provided by the CDC, illustrate the importance
of helmet use in reducing the fatalities and injuries resulting from motorcycle
crashes. The NHTSA also sponsored a study to address the concerns of motorcyclists
that helmets interfered with vision and hearing. The study found that
motorcycle helmets do not interfere with either the rider’s vision
or his or her hearing.