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 fatalities.
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 a motorcycle 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 for personal 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 a Sarasota
personal injury attorney today for answers to all of your questions.