While helmet laws vary from state to state, the numbers remain consistent. Those who wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, bicycle, or scooter are much less likely to suffer a serious head injury in a crash. You have probably heard the reason that people don’t wear helmets is because they mess up their hair, they are uncomfortable, they are too hot, or they really don’t help prevent injuries or save lives. Or maybe you have heard that a helmet may save your life but leave you in a vegetative state.
The numbers don’t lie. Statistics show that helmets do save lives and reduce the risks of head trauma. Odds are that you are more likely to be left in a vegetative state if you get in a crash and you aren’t wearing a helmet. People not wearing helmets can cause a major economic impact and societal harm because of the medical treatment required and other resources needed because of a serious crash.
Why is Wearing a Helmet Important?
Wearing a helmet is important because it keeps you safe. The majority of fatalities in accidents related to bicycle and motorcycles are because of injuries to the head. By wearing a helmet, if you were ever to be involved in a motorcycle or bicycle accident, it can reduce the severity of the head injury because of the accident.
While wearing a helmet does not completely prevent a head injury, if you have a helmet on, it will provide a cushion for the blow. Wearing a helmet on your motorcycle or bicycle can also help your vision as well by providing protection from the sun's rays or the rain or snow.
Motorcycle Helmet Statistics
It is time to disregard the urban legends and myths and look at the facts. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report in 2012 that showed states that did not have an all-rider helmet law saw 59% of the motorcyclists killed not wearing helmets while only 8% of motorcycle fatalities in states with all-rider helmets.
Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of death by 42% and the chance of head injury by 69%. Recent statistics show that 80% of Americans favor state legislation that requires motorcyclists to wear helmets. Considered the most hazardous kind of motor vehicle transportation, 4,668 motorcyclists were killed in 2013 and another 88,000 injured that same year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 1,630 motorcyclist lives were saved by helmets that year and another 715 lives could have been saved across all states if helmets had been worn.
Bicycle Helmet Numbers
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 2% of those killed in motor vehicle crashes are bicyclists. The majority of bicyclist deaths involve serious head injuries, which emphasizes the need of wearing a bicycle helmet. Research shows that helmet use can reduce the risks of a head injury during a bicycle crash by as much as 85%.
The District of Columbia and 21 states have helmet use laws for young bicyclists with no laws applying to all riders. A few states require bicyclists of all ages to wear helmets. When looking at bicycle deaths, 84% of those killed are 20 years of age or older and no more than 17% of those who were fatally injured were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
Scooter and Skateboarding Safety
Children, teens, and adults enjoy bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, and riding scooters. Unfortunately, one of the most common and most serious injuries received when riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard is a head injury. The leading cause of death and disability from these kinds of crashes, head injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmet.
Helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85%. Since 1999, the number of bike related deaths has decreased by 54% with much of that being credited to helmet use. While many states have laws that require children to wear helmets when bicycling or skateboarding, only 55% of children reportedly wear helmets at all the times they should. Adults partaking of such activities should also wear helmets to make sure they are properly protected in the event of a crash.
Choosing the Right Helmet
You don’t just go pick up the first helmet you find. Instead, you should get the right helmet for your activity, make sure it fits properly and that it meets safety standards. Get a helmet that is approved by the correct agency for the activity, such as the Department of Transportation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Snell Foundation, or the American Society for Testing and Materials.
When the helmet is placed on the head, it should fit comfortably as well as snugly but not too tight. It should sit level on the head and not rock from side to side. There should be a chin strap and buckle to hold the helmet in place and they should be used when the helmet is worn. There should be a hard outer shell on the helmet and an absorbent liner about one-half inch thick.
You can use a helmet to help make you more visible to other traffic as well, by choosing a bright color or adding reflectors. You can personalize your helmet as well by adding stickers, lettering, or things that interest you or represent you such as athletic team names or numbers. Sometimes decorating a helmet or adding some personality can make one feel more inclined to want to wear it.
Wearing a Helmet is the Right Thing to Do!
Even if the laws where you live do not require you to wear a helmet, you should practice safety by wearing the proper helmet and protective gear. Adults set examples for children, and wearing helmets are an important part of protecting oneself when enjoying bicycling, skateboarding, motorcycles, or riding scooters. You want to be able to enjoy this activity for years to come, and by wearing a helmet, you are working to keep yourself in tip-top shape and away from debilitating head trauma and brain injuries.
Helmets are available in different price ranges and in different styles, so there is definitely a helmet that works for you! There is no need to put off buying a helmet any longer. Wearing a helmet can prevent a lot of pain, suffering and expense for you and your loved ones in the event of a crash. Helmets are available at various sporting goods retailers, bicycle and skateboard shops, and motorcycling and off-road stores. You can even order an affordable helmet online, but you need to make sure you choose the right size for a perfect fit. Get your helmet today!