Are Motorcycle Helmet Laws a Public Health Issue?
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Are Motorcycle Helmet Laws a Public Health Issue?

Thursday, April 06, 2017By Richard Alexander

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies many different public health concerns. From Zika and the Flu to various food and environmental illness and disease threats, they’re on top of all cutting-edge research relating to public health. It may or may not come as a surprise to many that they also study the impact of universal motorcycle helmet laws as they relate to public health and safety. The CDC’s data-driven research regarding how motorcycle helmet laws impact greater public health is an important study not just for motorcyclists, but also for anybody in transportation safety fields, especially those involved in the legislative process.

Motorcycle Crashes and Helmets

  • Helmets reduce the risk of death in a crash by 37 percent.
  • Helmets reduce the risk of head injury in a crash by 69 percent.
  • In 2013, helmets saved an estimated 1,630 lives and $2.8 billion in economic costs.
  • The U.S. could have saved an additional $1.1 billion of all motorcycle riders had worn helmets in 2013.

Universal Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Public Health

Universal motorcycle helmet laws can greatly improve public health on a variety of levels. First, these laws greatly increase helmet usage for motorcycle riders. Not only are riders more protected and less likely to become injured or killed in a crash, they’re also less likely to become a financial burden on family, friends or the local economy. In California, all motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets. Although there are critics who still believe helmets to be a matter of personal choice, the numbers speak for themselves. Seat belts aren’t a matter of personal choice or liberty, and neither are motorcycle helmets in the State of California.

Motorcycle Helmets Improve Safety for Riders

The CDC reports that helmets reduce motorcycle rider fatalities by 22 to 42 percent and brain injuries by 41 to 69 percent. There is no denying the fact that wearing a helmet improves personal safety for motorcycle riders. We also know that state universal motorcycle helmet laws are very effective in increasing helmet usage among riders. The costs of implementing such laws are minimal, and the results are astoundingly positive. Universal motorcycle helmet laws save lives and money.

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