In 2013, approximately 4. 8 million motorcycles were actively on the road; of those 4. 8 million, about 90,000 of those riders were involved in an accident of some sort. Accidents and death rates of motorcycle riders are increasing every year due to reckless driving by both cars and motorcycles. Famous actor Hugh Laurie once stated, “But unlike many folks at the wheel, I am occupied with getting where I’m going and keeping myself safe. Most people are applying makeup, texting, and checking out the beauty in the next car”.
Being more vulnerable during accidents, riders should be influenced to wear protective gear such as a helmet to decrease their chance of a fatal or serious accident. Motorcycle riders should be required to wear a helmet nationwide due to benefits in safety, cost, and ease of riding. The first reason riders should be required to wear helmets is because it provides a greater margin of safety for the rider. Helmets add protection to the rider and therefore reduces the chance of fatal accidents.
To illustrate, in an article, it stated that the struggle between passing helmet laws is still present such that only 20 states require all riders to wear helmets. It continues to state that the NHTSA or National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, said that if the accidents that occurred from 1984 to 2004, had occurred with the circumstances that all riders were wearing helmets, then about 10,800 lives would have been saved; it includes the actual motorcycle riders and their possible passengers (Jones).
Less than 50 percent of the states require a helmet giving a majority of the riders the choice to wear one. It is also shown that riders without helmets are more prone to fatal injury due the abundant amount of injuries to the head for riders and passengers on motorcycles and it proves that helmets do in fact decrease the chance of a fatality within an accident. The second reason helmets give a benefit to safety is because it reduces the chance of a serious injury that can have a long term effect on a person.
For example, “Malaysia experiences a high number of motorcycle-related crashes and fatalities, with 120,156 reported crashes and 4,036 deaths in 2010 (In the same year, there were 6,260 fatalities, 6,002 serious injuries and 10,408 light injuries involving all road users” (Ramli). Also, in an article by the American College of Surgeons, it gives a statistic that states motorcyclists without a helmet are three times more likely to suffer from a serious brain injury than helmeted riders.
It continues to say that states that repeal helmet laws, shows more riders that refuse to wear a helmet and therefore the costs and amount of injuries increase. The statistic shows that not all accidents that occur are fatal and can leave a person in a crippled state and proves that helmets reduce the chance of a serious brain injury. Helmets provide more safety for the rider but the amount of safety is often challenged. A statement that is made is that although helmets do provide more safety, they do not protect riders as much as it is stated.
For example, “Although riding a motorcycle is much riskier than driving a car, helmets are considerably less effective at preventing injuries than seat belts are… Helmets cannot protect the rider from most types of injuries. ” (Sullum). It is stated that helmets do not protect riders from most accidents which would also affect the cost aspect of motorcycle accidents, however, there is a sufficient amount of research that demonstrates the amount of safety a helmet produces.
To illustrate, in an article, it states that in Arkansas and Texaz, the amount of helmeted riders decreased significantly and the result of that was an increase to head injuries. It also stated that fatalities rose by 31 percent while head injuries rose by 21 percent (Jones). Therefore, helmets do provide a greater margin of safety for riders and significantly reduce that chance of serious injury or death; it shows that the claim that helmets do not provide a sufficient amount of protection false. Not only does helmets provide a greater margin of safety, but it gives a benefit to costs associated with accidents.
The second reason helmets should be mandatory nationwide is because of the costs associated with an accident. First, it eliminates certain costs with injuries associated with motorcycle accidents. To illustrate, “Costs saved were estimated to be $1,212,800 per fatality, $171,753 per serious injury, and $7,523 per minor injury (in year 2010 dollars)” (Naumann 426). The article also states some of the states that have saved a tremendous amount of money such as California which saved approximately 394 million dollars.
The costs associated with the accidents are not only the costs to the riders, but the costs to the taxpayers that would have to pay for the incident in the case of an uninsured rider or fatal injury. The next reason it provides benefits to costs is because it can lower costs of insurance and therefore making insurance more affordable to every rider. For example, “Riders who do not wear helmets also are less likely to have health insurance, and therefore are more likely to require publicly funded health care” (Naumann 428).
With the high rates of insurance, any discount helps insurance become more affordable to every rider; helmet use decreases the cost of insurance therefore allowing more riders to afford it and eliminate the need for a publicly funded health care. It is often argued that motorcycle helmets is a matter of personal freedom or choice. It is stated that although they provide benefits, it should ultimately be the rider’s choice to wear a helmet or not due to the fact that they are the only one affected.
For example, “It should be the decision of the rider whether to put on extra safety equipment. ” He describes the attitude of helmet law opponents this way: “Let me decide what is right for me, instead of the government jamming regulations down my throat” (Sullum). It is true that many issues such as this should be a personal choice as it seems to only affect the rider, however, a majority of accidents involving the death of a motorcyclist, results in taxpayers having to pay for the injuries and costs associated with the accident.
As shown, “Medical costs among helmetless riders increased 200% compared with helmeted riders, and in some states, helmetless riders were more likely to be uninsured” (Gerdes 124). As a result, the statement that riders’ injuries affects only themselves is false as it is shown that taxpayers are also factored in as they have a significant probability to pay for some of the costs associated with an accident. Helmets not only eliminate or decrease the costs associated with an accident, but it eases the riding experience.
Another reason helmets should be mandatory is because it makes the riding experience easier. First, helmets benefit the riding by protecting them from outside distractions. To illustrate, “the users of the added-on visors and helmets without a visor had less odds of sustaining facial injury in all division compared to the integrated visor users” (Ramli). Helmets, particularly full faced helmets with a visor, offered an extra layer of protection to the face which can prevent things such as dust and wind to enter the eyes.
Helmets also protect riders’ ears as it decreases the intensity of the sounds that come from the motorcycle and outside environment. The second reason helmets make riding easier is because of the advancements in technology within helmets. For example, a new company is in the process of making a new, innovative helmet, the Skully AR-1; it has technology such as cameras that view all around the rider and then provides the live video through a heads up display within the helmet.
The Helmet allows the rider to be aware of their surroundings at all times without having to sacrifice moving their heads and possibly endangering themselves from the front. As shown, “Say hello to Skully, a smart helmet equipped with a head-up display (HUD) to deliver a 180-degree rear view, GPS directions, smart-phone pairing, and will someday even communicate with your motorcycle to put important data a mere glance away (Devine). Technology such as the Skully improve the riding experience and make the whole process significantly easier.
Helmets should be mandatory nationwide for all motorcyclists because of the benefits it provides in safety, costs, and ease of riding. Safety is an important factor when riding and helmets provide a greater margin of safety as it decreases the chance of a serious injury and even a fatal accident; it is proven that helmets do in fact provide greater safety and it makes that claims associated with the opposite false. Helmets also eliminates or decreases costs associated with accident; it saves the riders and taxpayers money in case of an accident while it also decreases insurance rates for the riders.
Claims stating that helmets is a matter of personal freedom as the rider is the only one affected by an accident is false; many of the accidents that occur must be paid by the money of innocent taxpayers making the statement false. Lastly, helmets allow the riding experience to be significantly easier as they provide a layer of protection for the head for not only impacts, but for factors such as noise, dust, and other outside hazards. Helmets allow for overall greater protection and saves the lives of many family members, friends, and all acquaintances that risk their lives being on a motorcycle.