Although they rub some bikers the wrong way, motorcycle helmet laws are designed to reduce injuries and save lives. Numerous studies have been done, and statistics support claims that motorcycle riders are safer when they wear helmets. Despite so much overwhelming evidence, many states don’t enforce the use of helmets. In fact, only 20 states currently have such laws on the books. In some states, riders who are below a certain age are required to wear them; in others, the law is universal, which means it applies to all riders regardless of age. To stay on the right side of the law, make sure you know whether or not helmets are required in your state. Regardless of the law, please consider wearing a helmet when riding. In spite of how good of a driver you are, you can not control other drivers on the road, and may end up in an accident at no fault of your own. If this ever happens, you will be much better off if you’re wearing a helmet.
Know the Law
If you live in New York, California, Missouri or another state that has universal helmet laws, you can be stopped and ticketed for riding a motorcycle without a helmet. Just because your state doesn’t have such laws on the books doesn’t mean you should ride without this type of protection. The truth of the matter is that helmets dramatically reduce the likelihood of serious injuries and death. In 2008 alone, helmets are credited for saving at least 1,800 lives. 800 additional lives could have been saved if those riders had been wearing helmets.
Helmet Use by State
Not surprisingly, helmets are widely used in states that have universal helmet laws. They are used a lot less frequently in states that don’t have such laws. In states that have universal helmet laws, helmets are used by 98 percent of riders. Only 48 percent of riders use them in states that don’t have tough helmet laws. Opponents of these laws claim that they do little to protect riders, but statistics show that motorcycle deaths drop when states enact these laws and rise when helmet use is no longer mandatory.
Always Wear a Helmet
While it pays to be educated about where helmets are required and where they aren’t, you should always wear one when riding a motorcycle. Make sure the helmet you use complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218, and keep a spare helmet handy for passengers too. Bikers are known for marching to the beat of their own drummers, but helmet laws aren’t design to infringe upon your freedom. They’re designed to save lives. By wearing a helmet, you could emerge unscathed from an accident that could otherwise take your life.
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