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The Impact of Motorcycle Safety on Society

Dolman Law Group out in sunny Florida has this to say: With the state of the current economy, it is not surprise that motorcycles have become grown in popularity as the primary source of transportation. While a motorcycle can be cost underlying factors to consider before purchase a bike and your decision on opting to wear a helmet. A motorcycle offers no protection in an accident and is a leading cause of disability and death, especially from head injuries.

Survivors of head injuries often suffer from a traumatic brain injury, which can result in permanent loss of cognitive function, which can result in tremendous financial hardship to the victim’s family. These injuries may decrease a person’s ability to earn a living and may require a lifetime of personal care. At Dolman Law Group we have dealt with a number of motorcycle accidents that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.

A motorcycle lacks the crash-worthiness and features of an automobile such as airbags and seatbelts. A motorcycle itself provides absolutely no head injury protection. When a motorcycle comes to a sudden stop, ejection is the general injury causing result as its rider forcibly strikes objects in its path as well as the ground.

The kinetic forces caused by the rider’s head halting instantaneously when striking another object travels directly to the brain, where the shock wave wreaks havoc on the soft matter within. Research by The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows the simple act of wearing a motorcycle helmet can reduce the occurrence of a traumatic brain injury by 68%.

Helmets may reduce the risk of death in an accident by up to 29 percent and may reduce the severity of other injuries such as injuries to eyes, ears, and face. Helmets certified by the Federal Department of Transportation reduce injuries in two stages: first, spreading the force of an impact over and across its exterior, which is constructed of a rigid thermoplastic or composite fiberglass shell. Second, a polystyrene foam liner absorbs any remaining kinetic energy, preventing it from reaching the motorcyclist’s brain, where it can cause damage.

Orthopedic surgeons, the medical specialists often relied on to treat motorcycle injuries; believe a significant reduction in fatalities and head injuries could be effectuated through the implementation of laws mandating the use of helmets by all motorcyclists. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) endorses laws mandating the use of helmets by motorcycle drivers and passengers, as well as bicyclists.

The AAOS believes that issues of personal freedom should be seen in the perspective that the public incurs a major portion of the cost for injuries to motorcycle riders. Studies have examined the impact of safety helmets or helmet laws and found that helmet use reduced the fatality rate, the probability, and severity of head injuries, the cost of medical treatment, the length of hospital stay, the necessity for special medical treatments and rehabilitation, and the probability of long-term disability. The government through Medicaid pays a majority of medical costs for individuals who lack health insurance.

The elimination of helmet laws in many states was based on issues involving a large number of motorcyclists claiming that the government infringes on their right to personal freedom. While it can be argued that the states’ laws requiring that motorcyclists be licensed to operate the vehicle are a similar invasion, the more important issue is the cost borne by the public when a motorcyclist is injured in an accident.

Society must evaluate the claim of infringement on freedom versus the funding of these costs. The AAOS believes that the current diversity of state helmet laws provides too little protection for motorcycle riders and for society at large.

Even with the best prevention efforts, crashes will occur. During a crash, the most important factor in reducing injury is personal protection for the motorcyclist. Leather jackets, gloves, trousers, proper footwear, eye protection, and helmets provide additional protection. Helmets are by far the motorcycle riders most important and simplest safety equipment because they protect against injuries to the head and brain. As Tampa Bay motorcycle injury attorneys, driver safety is a message we preach to our clients every day. Safe and cautious driving would prevent many easily avoidable accidents.