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Fact: Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

In California, the number of people being killed in motorcycle accidents dropped substantially in the years after mandatory motorcycle helmet laws were introduced in the State. The decline was as substantial as 40%. Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that motorcycle helmet laws save lives, many states around the country are actually considering repealing their helmet laws.

According to an infographic that was published recently in the New York Times, motorcycle fatalities seem to increase substantially in the months after the repeal of motorcycle helmet laws without any exception. The infographic specifically focused on Texas and Arkansas, which decided to repeal their motorcycle helmet laws in 1997. As soon as those laws were repealed, the state saw a substantial increase in the numbers of people being killed in motorcycle accidents. The laws were repealed as a result of pressure from motorcycle advocacy groups.

Several other states have also followed suit. For instance, Florida recently changed its laws to require that only riders below 21 wear helmets while riding. The number of fatalities in that state has increased since that change. Many of those new fatalities involved motorcyclists who were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident.

Similar changes occurred in Pennsylvania in 2003 and Michigan in 2012. Currently, there are 19 states in the United States that have universal helmet laws, and of these, at least eight are considering laws that will change the requirement that all motorcyclists wear helmets.

According to a study conducted by the University California-Los Angeles, motorcycle fatalities in the state of California actually dropped by 40.3% from 1991 to 1993. The state transited from the lack of a motorcycle helmet law to implementation of helmet laws for all riders during this time. It was estimated that 239 deaths were prevented as a result of the law.


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