Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Motorcycle Helmet Laws

From the St. Pete Times 08/09/05 summarizing a study on motorcycle injuries and helmet laws.

"Consider the study's results: In the three years before the helmet law was repealed on July 1, 2000, 9 percent of the 515 motorcyclists killed in crashes were not wearing a helmet.

In the three years after the repeal, 61 percent of the 933 fatally injured motorcyclists were not helmeted.

Of the 35 motorcyclists younger than 21 killed in crashes in the three years before the repeal, 26 percent were not wearing helmets.

Of the 101 riders younger than 21 who were killed in the repeal, 45 percent were not wearing helmets.


Jeff said...

If you read the story, what they don't include in the graphic (but they do in the text) is that the number of licensed motorcyclists actually increased 91 percent in the same time period. Statiscally, that means the death rate actually went down because the pool of riders was greater.

I also enjoyed how their lead person at the top of the story didn't die of car-on-cycle contact or some motorcycle malfunction. The guy flipped the ride doing a wheelie.

I'm not saying the helmet law is good or bad or that motorcycles are safe. But, I mean, come on.

tim said...

It costs the taxpayer (me) far more to clean up after a crash involving a a non-helmeted rider than it does to clean up after a crash involving a helmeted writer. Not to mention hospital costs, insurance, etc.

I am fine with repealing helmet laws, as long as all costs associated with motorcycle crashes are charged directly to the rider or his/her family instead of being absorbed by the public. I'm not paying for stupidity. It's amazing that alleged "conservatives" don't agree with me on this.

jason said...

As someone who has had motorcycles and scooters before, I can not understand why anyone would not voluntarily wear a helmet. Even in Florida, it is not that uncomfortable or hot.

Tim...when do "conservatives" ever make sense?

Devon said...

I work as a paramedic/firefighter and I would have to say from experience, without any statistics to back me up, that the "clean up" costs associated with wrecks involving non-helmeted riders are actually lower because the fatality rates are so much higher. Additionally the hospital and insurance costs are less because disability and life-long rehab are for survivors i.e. helmeted riders.

I do however think that the original statistic is bogus because, prior to the repeal of the helmet law, probably only nine percent of riders rode without helmets. Today easily 61 percent are helmetless, so where is the change. The true statistic would be the percentage of motorcycle accidents resulting in fatalities pre and post repeal.

I am not advocating helmetless riding, in fact I'm not advocating riding motorcycles AT ALL, but from a purely fiscal standpoint maybe this makes sense. The "conservatives" obviously think so.

P.S. Tim, it is my understanding that in Florida to legally ride helmetless you must have a certain amount of insurance that other riders are not required to carry. Therefore, the taxpayers shouldn't be affected as, theoretically, the insurance companies bear the burden of your reckless behavior.

Perhaps this is just Darwinism at work.


Nereia said...

Perhaps one point not being addressed is the extent of injuries that a rider may incur by not wearing a helmet. Have critical injuries from motorcycle accidents also increased? If a rider's injuries are made much worse by the failure to wear a helmet, then the physicians and hospital staff will have to spend extra time and resources on that patient, taking time away from other patients. The possiblity that wearing a helmet would have lessen those injuries, thus taking away any undue strain on hospital resources, is, in my opinion, reason alone to have helmet laws.

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