Helmets and Motorcycle Accidents: Does it Make a Difference?

Although it might seem like an obvious facet of motorcycle accident safety, only 19 states in the District of Columbia currently require motorcyclists to wear helmets. That’s in comparison to the fact that every state except New Hampshire has a law on the books requiring people to wear seatbelts and federal law has mandated airbags since 1998.

It’s important to wear a helmet every time you’re on your bike, because you can’t always predict when an accident will happen that could change your life.

Some of the people pushing back against mandatory motorcycle helmet laws argue that this form of safety gear actually increases the chances of a neck injury in a crash. However, a University of Wisconsin Health neurosurgeon looked at the outcomes of more than 1,000 motorcycle crash accidents between 2010 and 2015 and found out it wasn’t the case. Fewer than one-third of the crash victims who arrived at the level one trauma center who were included in the study had been wearing helmets when the crash occurred. The surgeon found that riders who did not wear helmets had twice as many injuries to their neck or cervical spine. Ligament injuries to the neck were much more common for crash victims who had not been wearing helmets at the time of the accident. The study suggests that wearing a helmet would be one positive way to reduce the risk of cervical spine injuries in motorcycle crashes. Unfortunately, far too many people skip out on wearing a helmet even though it is relatively clear that it could significantly reduce the chances of severe injuries and accidents.

Motorcycle accident injuries are often more severe than those affecting car crash victims. Car crash victims have the benefit of advanced technology inside the cars such as airbags, seatbelts, and other safety gear whereas a person on a motorcycle has a very high chance of being thrown from the bike and suffering catastrophic injuries.