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University of Michigan Study: Fatality Rate for Helmetless Nearly Three Times Higher

April 17, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

A University of Michigan study recently that found the fatality rate for riders who didn’t wear a helmet in crashes was nearly three times higher than for those who wore helmets.

ABATE, what’s it going to take?

I know, your motorcycle riding experience just isn’t the same with a helmet. Then there is the “liberty” thing. You don’t like the idea of other people – even the people who have to pay all of your medical bills – telling you what you can and can’t do.

So, we tried it your way. And now we have the results. People who don’t wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle are nearly three times as likely to be killed in a motorcycle accident.

I’ve also heard the arguments that wearing a motorcycle helmet is not a sufficient method of protecting against brain injury and the risk of death caused in a motorcycle accident. Does the new U of M study contradict that argument? Sure, educating motorcycle riders to avoid dangerous riding situations makes a lot more sense. But is that really an argument against wearing a helmet?

If you want to live your life with reckless abandon, that’s your choice. The problem is when those decisions impact the rest of us. You live in a society. And whether you like it or not, your decisions have an impact on the rest of us.

It is the rest of society, as taxpayers, that are forced to pay the price for your recklessness when you suffer catastrophic brain injury or spinal cord injury and require lifetime medical care.

And if you’re killed in a motorcycle accident, who is going to feed and shelter your kids? The rest of us. Deflates a bit of the exhilaration of the wind blowing through your hair, maybe?

And speaking of kids, what are you choosing to teach them by not wearing a helmet? Are we telling them that it’s okay to take unnecessary risks with their lives and that the consequences to those who love you most should be disregarded as well? Is it really so much to ask? I’m curious to hear your thoughts of motorcycle riders. Is wearing a helmet really that burdensome? Especially when weighed against the increased risk of death?

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