It’s been proven through several studies that motorcycle helmets save lives by decreasing the risk of having a fatal head injury if you are involved in a traffic accident. If you ride without a helmet, you increase your chance of a fatal head injury from an accident by approximately 40%. You also increase your likelihood of having a nonfatal injury by about 15%.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration strongly stands behind having motorcycle helmet laws be mandatory in all 50 states. It estimates that motorcycle helmets can decrease your chances of having a fatal crash by 37%. A University of Southern California study indicated that if you wear a motorcycle helmet, this is the most significant factor that will help ensure you survive a motorcycle crash. A Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System study, also known as a CODES study, showed that motorcycle helmets were 67% effective in preventing brain injuries when crashes occurred. The CODES study also showed that riders who didn’t wear helmets were three times more likely to have brain injuries than riders who wore helmets did. Those states that have enacted motorcycle helmet laws show a decrease in rider fatalities, while those that have weakened or repeal motorcycle helmet laws have shown an increase in rider fatalities.
Motorcycle helmets’ construction and technology has greatly improved over the last 15 years. Today, helmets are much more comfortable and provide much more protection than they did earlier. Today, it’s no longer true that helmets limit a rider’s field of vision and hearing. In addition, the face shield protects the rider from forceful wind blasts, debris, and bugs. The ears are also protected in the helmet, which limits wind noise.
Today, motorcycle helmets are usually made from fiberglass, polycarbonate plastic, carbon fiber or Kevlar. The helmet’s structure lets the shell compress on impact. When the helmet compresses, the impact’s force is dispersed throughout the helmet, which means that there’s much less pressure on the head. The helmet’s inner lining, which is usually composed of expanded polystyrene, works synergistically with the shell so that the impact is absorbed. Most motorcycle helmets also have additional padding so that the fit is both snug and comfortable. When fastened correctly, the chin strap ensures that the helmet remains on the head in case there is a crash.
Despite improvements to motorcycle helmet designs and improved public awareness of the dangers caused by riding motorcycles without helmets, many motorcyclists still choose to ride without a helmet if given the option. In February 2008, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters introduced legislation that would allow states to encourage motorcycle helmet usage using federal motorcycle safety funding. This federal funding can currently be used only for motorcycle safety training and awareness programs. In fact, Peters was involved in a motorcycle crash in 2005; she believes her motorcycle helmet prevented from being fatally injured. She stated, “We know helmets save lives, and I want states to be able to join in urging riders to take personal responsibility for their safety by wearing a helmet every time they ride.”
John Daniele is an expert on motorcycle helmets. For information or to purchase a handcrafted, light-weight, fiberglass novelty motorcycle helmets [http://helmetsrus.com/] see [http://www.helmetsrus.com]
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