Should Motorcycle Helmets Be Mandatory In All States?

by gclatworthy on December 6, 2012

[US Law and General] Motorcycle riding can be a fun and exhilarating hobby and an exciting means of transportation, but it can also be deadly. As a result, many states have enacted helmet laws in an attempt to lessen the amount of highway fatalities involving motorcycle riders that occur each year. While these laws are meant to protect, some people believe that they are a hindrance to the freedoms of Americans and the very spirit of motorcycle ridership.

The Purpose of Helmet Laws

As mentioned, motorcycle riding can be dangerous. Unlike cars and other traditional motor vehicles, motorcycles are exposed to an open environment when being operated or ridden, and this means that an accident can turn tragic very quickly. For instance, most modern motor vehicles include safety elements such as air bags to protect drivers and passengers, but in a motorcycle accident, an operator or rider may be thrown directly onto or into hard surfaces. Because the head is one of the most important and sensitive parts of the body, damage occurring in this area can cause serious and permanent damage and even death.

The Debate Over Helmet Laws

As a result of this increased potential for injury, lawmakers in many areas have decided that all motorcycle operators and riders must wear helmets. Helmet laws have been passed in an attempt to limit the possibility for injury, and proponents claim that helmets save lives. Conversely, opponents of helmet laws claim that such laws limit the freedoms of motorcycle operators and riders to oversee their own safety. Essentially, opponents point out that no law should violate the ability to take a chance with one’s own life.

Why Does It Matter?

Aside from the personal safety aspect, many accident and injury attorneys, from Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer firms to auto accident attorneys based in New York, point out that helmet laws also call into question the liability of motorcycle operators in accident cases. For example, if a motorcycle operator is involved in a collision with another vehicle and the operator was not wearing a helmet, is the operator still due compensation for his or her head injuries, even if he or she was not at fault? What if the operator was at fault in the accident, but he or she was not wearing a helmet? These kinds of situations form the basis for the debate over helmet laws, as the issue runs much deeper than simply allowing someone the freedom to take chances with his or her own health.

If You’ve Been Injured

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries due to a motorcycle accident, regardless of helmet usage, it’s important for you to speak with a personal injury attorney to find out more information about seeking compensation. As mentioned, helmet laws and helmet usage may create a difficult legal situation when trying to seek compensation, and a personal injury attorney may be able to clarify where you stand.

Finally, no matter where you fall on the issue of helmet laws, it’s important to remember that helmets often save lives. Even if you operate a motorcycle in a state that doesn’t require a helmet to be worn, you still might want to consider wearing one. Additionally, responsible motorcycle operators and riders are encouraged to wear other safety gear, including long, durable pants and jackets as well as boots and gloves. These articles of clothing may seem like a hassle at times, but they may ultimately end up saving you a great amount of pain and suffering if an accident occurs.

Georgina Clatworthy is a legal writer whose husband is a keen motorcycle rider. For those injured in motorcycle accidents, the Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer firm of Steinger, Iscoe and Greene warn against thinking you can handle a claim yourselves. Many insurance companies view motorcyclists as dangerous and reckless riders and may exploit claimants who do not have the benefit of an experienced attorney working to protect their rights.

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