The most common injuries sustained by motorcyclists in fatal accidents are multiple head injuries, injuries to both the head and thorax and injuries to the head and neck.
Motorcyclists face a far greater risk of injury than drivers and passengers of other types of motor vehicles, largely because motorcyclists have very little to protect themselves from sustaining serious or fatal injuries in the event of an accident. Injury or death is seen in more than 80 percent of all motorcycle accidents.
In the University of Alabama’s most current traffic crash fact statistics, 17,184 motorcycle crashes were reported in Alabama between the years of 2002 and 2011. As a result of these accidents, 12,525 injuries were sustained and 780 people lost their lives.
Research from the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration indicates a direct link between head injuries and motorcycle accidents and helmet use.
The potential for head injury increases by up to 16 percent for those who opt not to wear helmets when riding a motorcycle. Further study revealed that less than 1/3 of helmeted motorcyclists who sustained fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident had single or multiple head traumas. In comparison, more than half of those not wearing helmets at the time of the accident sustained at least one or more substantial head injuries.
Alabama’s Universal Helmet Law, enacted in 1967, requires all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets. According to a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmets have been proven to be “about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.“
Despite the dangers that not wearing a motorcycle helmet may pose, there are motorcyclists who still prefer not to wear helmets. These motorcyclists often argue that helmets:
Proponents of motorcycle helmets have no doubt about the benefits this type of safety gear provides. Helmets for motorcyclists have been compared to seat belts for drivers and passengers of motor vehicles. They not only make sense, they are proven to save lives.
One of the first tips for any motorcyclist who wants to lower the risk of sustaining a serious head injury is to wear a helmet at all times while riding. Traumatic brain injuries are far less likely to occur when a motorcyclist takes precaution to protect his or her head.
It is also important you do not buy a motorcycle bigger or more powerful than you can easily handle. Riding a motorcycle is not the same as driving a car. Take the time to hone your skills. Many motorcycle safety courses not only teach basics but can provide more advanced, evasive maneuver techniques as well.
As with driving a motor vehicle, it’s important to anticipate the maneuvers and actions of other drivers. This is especially important for a motorcyclist since drivers of cars, trucks and other vehicles often do not see motorcyclists before attempting to pass or make a turn. Learn how a motorcycle accident lawyer can help.