Fact and Fiction: The importance of helmets

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 in Automobile Accidents | 0 comments

Many Americans dream of one day owning their very own motorcycle so they can travel the vast open roads and feel intimately connected to this beautiful country. It is a beautiful thought, but motorcycles are incredibly dangerous. Any traffic accident is magnified in severity when it involves a biker, so it is important to take all proper safety precautions, especially when there are so few. Many bikers refuse to wear helmets, claiming that they actually increase the risk of spinal injury, but that is just not the case.

According to this article on Medscape from this past May, a review study conducted over five years shows that the rate of severe cervical injuries decreases with helmet use. The primary author of the study, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, admits that the mechanisms are not explained by this study, but the correlation is a strong one. This review study was done because of push-back against mandatory helmet laws. Opponents claim that helmets restrict visibility, hearing, and overall freedom of movement of the wearer. There is also the claim that they increase spinal injuries, which this study aimed to address. A study conducted in 1986 claims that past a certain speed, there is a trade-off where helmets can cause more damage than their worth. Out of the 1064 patients in the review study, 10.8% of those who were not wearing helmets sustained major spinal injuries, compared to 4.3% who were, which is statistically significant. In addition, it was found that unhelmeted riders had longer hospital stays and the severity of their injuries was worse overall. The authors of this study conclude that wearing a helmet leads to decreased time in the ICU and the hospital in general and lowers mortality rate.

Given the evidence, there is no reason why a biker should ever refuse to wear a helmet. Especially since motorcyclists are difficult to spot and are often in accidents with distracted drivers, it is important that they are protected. According to, Habush Habush & Rottier, S.C there are lawyers in the Milwaukee area that focus on helping bikers get compensation when they are in an accident that is not their fault, but it would be impossible to make use of this help yourself if you die in the ICU. Bikers ought to support legislation that will keep them safe.

Even though the study in question is simply a correlational study, it clearly shows that wearing a helmet is better than not wearing one. A government mandate is tricky since many people might assume that a more hands-off approach that does not infringe on personal rights is the better way to go, but such a mandate could save countless lives. It would even free up hospital resources so they can assist other patients. This way, every American who dreams of owning a bike will have one less thing to worry about and will be able to feel at ease on the open road.

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