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How effective are motorcycle helmets in preventing brain injury?

Motorcycles are the most dangerous kind of transportation on the road. On our nation’s highways in 2019, 5,014 motorcyclists were killed and 84,000 were injured. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets saved the lives of 1,870 motorcyclists in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available. Approximately 750 more lives could have been saved in all states if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.

Since a low of 2,116 motorcycle crash deaths in 1997, the number of fatalities has more than doubled. Motorcycle helmet legislation improves helmet wear, reduces deaths and injuries, and saves money for taxpayers.

Injuries to the head account for half of all fatalities in motorcycle accidents. As motorcycle accident lawyers we know one of the most serious injuries that can occur in a motorcycling collision is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI is one of the most common injuries when the rider is not wearing a helmet. TBIs can leave a victim with serious, long-term damage and possibly lifelong disability, if the rider survives the incident.

Wearing a motorcycle helmet can minimize the chance of TBI

The first step to avoiding getting hurt when riding a motorcycle is to reduce the chances of a crash. It’s far better to avoid crashing than it is to crash and rely on your helmet for head protection.

Not all helmets offer the same level of protection in the event of an accident. No helmet can protect against all potential impacts, and the impact may be greater than the helmet’s ability to protect. Ornamental or novelty helmets that do not fulfill safety requirements are unlikely to be as successful.

Many motorcycle helmets are made to prevent skull fractures in a collision. Unfortunately, only a few models are capable of reducing brain damage in the event of an accident. An accident can cause your brain to spin inside your skull due to the force and violent movement. TBI and mild TBI (concussion) can be caused by these brain movements, often known as rotational or angular acceleration.

Effectiveness of Motorcycle Helmets

Motorcycles are clearly more vulnerable than other vehicles in a collision. The frame of the automobile protects car drivers, as do airbags, which reduce head injuries in many incidents. A motorcycle, on the other hand, provides little protection for its riders, and in the event of a crash, the rider’s head all too often crashes onto the pavement or another vehicle.

Are motorcycle helmets, then, effective for the purpose for which they were designed? The answer is a definite “yes.” Helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing fatalities in motorcycle accidents and 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Helmet wearing has been found to lower motorcycle crash-related injuries and deaths on a consistent basis. The use of motorcycle helmets, according to reviews and research, provides significant evidence of effectiveness and concludes that:

(1) When compared to non-helmeted motorcyclists, helmeted riders have a lower overall death rate from motorcycle accidents.

(2) When compared to non-helmeted motorcyclists, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of lethal brain damage in motorcycle accidents.

(3) When compared to non-helmeted riders, wearing a helmet reduces the severity of non-lethal head injuries in motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle helmets have been demonstrated to reduce the risk of death and head injury by 42 percent and 69 percent, respectively, among motorcyclists who crash.

Selecting the Right Motorcycle Helmet

It’s just as vital to choose a well-made, protective helmet that satisfies all safety criteria as it is to tune your bike to keep it in top shape. The exterior shell of the helmet is tough, but it’s engineered to collapse when you hit it, dispersing energy away from your skull. Inside the shell, a thick cushioning layer takes in the impact and compresses, deflecting energy away from your head.

Wearing a helmet is a wise option; picking which helmet to wear is a very personal decision. This Motorcycle Safety Foundation brochure has more information on helmet selection and proper fit.

We can help if you’ve been in a motorcycle accident

Contact Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers right away if you or a family member has been injured in a motorcycle accident or any other sort of personal injury. Our skilled legal team will fight for the compensation you are entitled to.

You can reach us at (619) 550-1355 to schedule a free consultation.


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