In 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported
that 4,810 motorcycle riders died due to accidents, a statistic which
represents a 127 percent increase over motorcycle fatalities in 1997.
By 2008, the number of fatalities from motorcycle accidents had risen
to 5,290, and the number of injuries was approximately 96,000. Although
motorcycles account for less than 2 percent of all registered vehicles
on the roads, motorcycle fatalities account for over 9 percent of total
traffic fatalities. Of these fatalities, head injuries, often caused by
the rider not wearing a helmet, were the most frequent cause of motorcycle
At the same time, states continue to repeal helmet laws, and the use of
helmets by motorcycle riders continues to decline. In one study conducted
from 2000 to 2002, helmet use by motorcycle riders nationwide dropped
drastically, from 71 percent to 58 percent. This trend is due in part
to the fact that states have begun to repeal or amend mandatory helmet
laws. 63 percent of the fatalities from motorcycle accidents in 2007 occurred
to riders not wearing helmets in states without mandatory helmet laws,
whereas only 14 percent of those fatalities occurred to riders wearing
helmets in states with mandatory helmet laws.
The Benefits of Helmet Use
Although helmets obviously do not prevent all injuries sustained that a
rider may sustain in amotorcycle accident, they do have a significant
impact on the severity and cost of any injuries to the rider. NHTSA estimated
that in 2003, motorcycle helmets saved the lives of 1,153 motorcycle riders,
and if all riders had been wearing helmets, they would have saved another
640 lives. Riders who did not wear helmets were 40 percent more likely
to suffer a fatal head injury than those riders who wore helmets and 15
percent more likely to suffer non-fatal injuries. Furthermore, the medical
costs for treating victims of motorcycle accidents who were not wearing
helmets were almost triple the costs of those victims who were wearing
helmets. Between 1984 and 1999, motorcycle helmet use saved an estimated
$13.2 billion. If all motorcycle riders had worn helmets, it would have
saved an additional $11.1 billion.
When a motorcycle accident causes serious injuries or fatalities, you may
have a legal claim forpersonal injuries or wrongful death. An experienced
Sarasota accident attorney can advise you as to all of your available
options and assist you in gathering information to support your claim.
Contact aSarasota injury attorney today for answers to all of your questions
about personal injury and wrongful death claims in the event of a motorcycle accident.