Currently twenty states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet by law.
Online PR News – 30-March-2010 – – Motorcycle riders face special dangers when traveling on the road with vehicles that are heavier and more visible. Even with the best of safety precautions, serious injuries are an inherent risk. The Sam Bernstein Law Firm announces the release of a website especially for motorcycle accident victims: www.michigan-motorcycle-accident.com. The website includes important information about the legal rights of motorcycle accident victims and safety information.
One of the most important safety considerations for motorcyclists is the use of a safety helmet. Currently twenty states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet by law. Additionally, twenty-seven states require only some riders to wear a helmet, and three states do not have a motorcycle helmet law. Illinois, formerly of the latter, may soon join the other states in amending motorcycle law to include mandatory helmets, applicable to bicyclists as well.
The Illinois House Vehicles & Safety Committee recently heard testimony for and against a proposal, HB6114, that would require riders under the age of 18 to wear helmets. Fines would be set at $30 for the parents of riders without helmets.
Ultimately, the sponsor of the bill agreed to postpone the bill in order to address the concern that children over the age of 14 are less than likely to accept a helmet law, affecting the amount of young bikers willing to choose alternative forms of transportation. State Representative Julie Hamos plans to rewrite the bill in order to apply only to younger children.
In Michigan, a mandatory motorcycle helmet use law is in place for all riders and passengers. Michigan motorcyclists must also wear shatterproof goggles, a face shield or a windshield to protect their eyes while riding, whether they are riding on highways, roads, streets or other thoroughfares in Michigan.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, only three states lack a motorcycle helmet law of any kind, including Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire.
In 2008, 18% of the 316,057 total reported motorcycle accidents resulted in personal injury. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says motorcyclists were 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled in 2007. The NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmets reduce the likelihood of motorcycle accident fatality by 37 percent.
One key example of the affect of helmet laws on motorcyclist deaths and injuries is the case of California's all-riders helmet use law that took effect on January 1992. Helmet use jumped to 99 percent from about 50 percent before the law. During the same period, the number of motorcyclist fatalities in California decreased 37 percent to 327 in 1992 from 523 in 1991.
A trend of weakening helmet laws has occurred since the instatement of mandatory helmets, usually to apply only to younger riders. The Florida helmet law was amended in 2000 to exempt riders 21 and older with at least $10,000 of medical insurance coverage. An evaluation by the NHTSA found that motorcyclist deaths per 10,000 motorcycle registrations increased 21 percent during the two years after the law was changed compared with the two years before.
“If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a Michigan motorcycle accident, it’s important to know your legal rights," says Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer Mark Bernstein. “After a Michigan motorcycle accident, it is essential to consult a Michigan motorcycle accident attorney immediately. The legal claims of a Michigan motorcyclist are different -- and more complicated -- than the claims of an automobile driver, because Michigan law does not consider a motorcycle to be a ‘motor vehicle.’”