Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

Study: Ending helmet laws for motorcyclists increases head injuries

A study by the University of Michigan provides a sobering example of what can happen when helmet laws change. Studies by various entities have found similar results; that helmet laws reduce motorcyclist deaths and serious head and brain injuries.

Michigan partially repealed its motorcycle helmet law in April 2012, and has seen a 14 percent increase in head injuries since. Emergency doctors and trauma surgeons have even seen a difference in the kinds of head injuries suffered since the law changed - concussions fell 17 percent, but skull fractures increased 38 percent during the same time period.

Michigan law change sees deadly consequences

Research has tended to agree with the results Michigan has seen since the helmet law changes: helmets decrease the risk of injury, fatal or non-fatal, by nearly 70 percent. Specifically on motorcycles, helmets reduce the risk of death on a motorcycle by 42 percent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also found that motorcyclists who don't wear helmets are 40 percent more likely to die from a head injury than those who wear helmets, and are 15 percent more likely to have a head injury that isn't fatal.

Currently, no one under 18 can operate or ride on a motorcycle in Connecticut without a helmet. However, after the age of 18, anyone in Connecticut has the freedom to choose to ride with or without a helmet. According to previous research, 94.6 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in 2014 were over the age of 20 - if risks continue even after the age of 18, does that mean helmets should or shouldn't be required for everyone, or not required at all? The debate continues, but it's good to have research on our side to help make decisions or examine previous laws to make sure everyone is being protected as best they can while providing rider's freedom of choice.

What happens after an accident?

The fact is, motorcyclists put themselves at risk every time they get on the road - and their own actions aren't always the cause of accidents or death. Often, other drivers aren't watching or paying attention to others on the road, and motorcycles tend to be ignored. Those who cause accidents should and can be held accountable for the harm they inflict on motorcyclists and their loved ones.

If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, it's important to flex your legal rights and contact an experienced, knowledgeable lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, wages lost, pain and suffering, funeral expenses and more.

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