Protect Your Head? 5 Reasons New Helmet Laws Miss the Mark

by melaniedfleury on August 10, 2013

In 1967, the federal government encouraged states to put mandatory helmet laws in place by making it a requirement in order to qualify for highway construction aid and some federal safety programs. This plan worked, and most states had helmet laws in place by the early 1970s.

Unfortunately, Congress halted these requirements in 1976, and helmet laws have been weakening across the nation ever since. At this point, there are only 19 states that require every motorcyclist to wear a helmet, and studies have proven that this has led to an increase in medical claims and serious injuries.

Five Reasons to Wear Your Helmet

Even if you live in a state such as Florida that does not legally require motorcyclists over the age of 21 to wear a helmet as long as they have the proper insurance policy, there are still several reasons to strongly consider protecting yourself.

1. The Fatality Rate is Rising – According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the fatality rate for motorcyclists rose 14 times over a 15 year time span from 1997 to 2012. During this time, several states weakened or repealed their helmet laws, including Michigan. There are currently more than 5,000 deaths associated with motorcycles each year in the U.S., and that represents approximately 14 percent of all traffic accident deaths.

2. Your Odds of Dying Increase Significantly – If you are involved in an accident on a motorcycle without wearing a helmet, you have a 40 percent higher chance of dying and a 15 percent higher chance of suffering a serious injury than other motorcyclists who choose to protect themselves.

3. Head Injuries are Extremely Common – More than 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2006, and head injuries were the most common issue. Unless you are wearing a helmet that fits properly, you are taking a huge risk with your life. Even if you manage to avoid dying, you could end up disabled.

4. Single Vehicle Accidents are Frequent – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicated in 2009 that almost half of all motorcycle accidents do not involve any other vehicles. In other words, your odds of losing control of your bike are much higher than the odds of having the same issue with a passenger vehicle, so you should take the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe.

5. Insurance Rates will Spike – According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, medical claims related to motorcycle accidents have increased by 34 percent in the last two years in Michigan, and this data is consistent with other states that have changed their helmet laws. If this trend continues, it is not going to take long for motorcycle insurance premiums to spike, and health insurance providers may also begin to pay closer attention to the driving habits of their customers.

All of this data makes it clear that wearing a helmet is the wisest decision that a motorcyclist can make. After all, even if you live in a state such as Florida that enables you to forego wearing a helmet, the risks are far too great to leave this important safety protection at home.

Melanie Fleury has enjoyed riding a motorcycle both as a driver and passenger. She has found that wearing a helmet does not interfere with the thrill of the ride and is a simple way to ensure your safety. The attorneys of Williams Law Association, P.A., at, stress that dangers and risks are always there, but that having a plan of action can relieve the stress of not knowing what to do after an accident.



Melanie Fleury is a freelance blogger who enjoys writing on legal issues, especially those concerning family.

Latest posts by melaniedfleury (see all)

Previous post:

Next post: