Importance of Motorcycle Helmets

Posted On December 6, 2023 / By Manning Law / Motorcycle Accidents

Riding a motorcycle is much more inherently dangerous than driving a standard motor vehicle. Motorcyclists are not protected by the same safety features as drivers, such as airbags and seat belts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the fatality rate for motorcyclists was almost 24 times the passenger car occupant fatality rate in 2021. A motorcycle helmet is the best piece of protective equipment available to motorcyclists.

Motorcycle Helmets Usage Has Decreased

Statistics published by the National Safety Council show that helmet use has decreased among motorcycle operators and passengers over the last few years. From 2018 to 2021, usage decreased by 8.6 percent. There was a 4.1 percent decrease from 2020 to 2021 alone. However, usage rates increased slightly from 64.9 percent in 2021 to 66.5 percent in 2022. Helmet usage is significantly higher in states with universal helmet laws compared to states with weak or no helmet laws (86.1 percent and 53.4 percent, respectively). 

What Type of Protection Does a Motorcycle Helmet Offer?

It is incredibly important for motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear motorcycle helmets at all times. Experienced Denver motorcycle accident lawyers suggest a helmet is the most effective way to prevent fatal head and brain injuries in a motorcycle accident. A helmet provides a buffer between the victim’s head and the road or a fixed object, potentially protecting it from substantial injury.

The human skull is just 6.5 to 7.1 millimeters thick. Without a helmet, blunt-force trauma to the skull is much more likely to result in an open or closed traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury can refer to a concussion, swelling, bleeding, bruising or any other damage to one or more parts of the brain.

In addition to preventing potentially deadly brain injuries, wearing a motorcycle helmet can also protect a rider from severe facial injuries. These may include deep lacerations, road rash or traumatic tattooing, permanent scarring and disfigurement, orbital fractures and eye damage, and broken or missing teeth.

Statistics Demonstrate the Importance of Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet 

Studies have consistently shown that a properly fitting and Department of Transportation (DOT-compliant helmet is the most important piece of motorcycle safety equipment. When a motorcyclist crashes, he or she is significantly more likely to be injured or killed without a helmet.

The following statistics demonstrate the efficacy of wearing a motorcycle helmet:

  • Studies have shown motorcycle helmets to be around 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries in motorcyclists and 41 percent effective for motorcycle passengers.
  • Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of serious head injuries – including fatal traumatic brain injuries – by about 69 percent.
  • The NHTSA estimates that during a 15-year period, over 25,000 motorcyclists’ lives could have been saved by wearing motorcycle helmets.
  • Annually, the United States would save an estimated $1.5 billion in economic costs if all motorcyclists wore helmets.
  • In states without universal helmet laws, 55 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2021 were not wearing helmets. In states with universal helmet laws, the rate of motorcyclists without helmets killed was just 9 percent.

Colorado is not a universal helmet state. Motorcycle riders over the age of 18 are not required to wear helmets in Colorado. Wearing a helmet regardless of the law is critical for the protection of the motorcyclist and his or her passengers.

Protect Yourself and Your Rights by Always Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet

Before you ride a motorcycle in Colorado, put on a properly fitting helmet. Wearing the proper protective headgear could save your life in a motorcycle accident. It could also make it easier to recover financial compensation from an insurance company after a crash. The failure to wear a helmet could potentially be used against you by an insurer to deny coverage.  

Protect yourself physically and financially by always wearing a helmet when you ride. If you get injured in a motorcycle crash in Denver, contact the attorneys at Manning Law to discuss your legal rights and options during a free consultation.