A law allowing Michigan motorcyclists to ride without helmets was passed on April 12, and ever since, there has been an increase in deaths and injuries involving helmetless riders.
The increase was reported a month after the law was passed from an analysis reported by MLive on Michigan motorcycle deaths and injury involving helmetless riders. The analysis reported there were 107 motorcycle accidents recorded in the month after Michigan’s mandatory helmet law was repealed, and 12 of them involved helmetless riders; those riders without a helmet were injured and killed at a greater rate than motorcyclists who were wearing helmets.
This analysis tells me the repealing of this mandatory helmet law wasn’t the greatest idea. On the other hand, someone with common sense shouldn’t need a law telling them to protect themselves from serious injury or even death.
I will provide a real-life situation of the consequences of not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle: This past summer, my mom’s cousin attempted to do a stunt on a motorcycle not wearing a helmet. Unfortunately, he lost control of the motorcycle, crashed and hit his head on the pavement.
Thankfully, he survived. However, he sustained some traumatic brain injury and it devastated my family. He will never be the same because he didn’t wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.
Here’s another real-life situation: An old friend of mine told me her dad’s friend was visiting their house one day. He rode over on his motorcycle and no, he was not wearing a helmet. After he left their home, he was killed an hour later after losing control and crashing.
Not only is it common sense to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, it is the right thing to do. When someone decides to take a cruise on their Harley and chooses not to wear a helmet, they are not thinking of their loved ones; how selfish it is to put your own life at risk and leave your family and friends devastated because of your poor choice?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets prevent 37 percent of crash deaths among riders and 41 percent among passengers. They also prevent 13 percent of serious injuries and eight percent of minor injuries to riders and passengers.
Additionally, annual costs saved from helmet use in terms of medical, productivity and other costs range from state to state with a high of $394 million in California, which has a universal helmet law (a law that requires all motorcyclists age 21 and older to wear a helmet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Currently, 20 states and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws. Right now, 28 states have partial helmet laws requiring that only certain riders, such as those under age 21, wear a helmet.
CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden said, “In 2010, more than $3 billion in economic costs were saved due to helmet use in the United States. Another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”
I am extremely disappointed when I see motorcyclists flying down the highway at 70 mph or higher not wearing a helmet. I wish they would think of the potential, often inevitable danger they face.
For those of you who are motorcyclists: Don’t be selfish, wear a helmet.