The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that the number of motorcycle deaths increased 55 percent between 2001 and 2008. The agency reports that the death rate is much lower in states that require helmet use. Conversely, five times as many motorcycle deaths occur in states with lax helmet laws. Out of 14,283 motorcycle deaths between the years 2008 and 2010, over 6,000 of those riders were not wearing a helmet.
The CDC also reported that three states do not have any helmet laws, while 27 states have helmet laws specifically targeting teenagers.
In related news, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted an advisory last week recommending that riders discontinue wearing Tank Sports, Inc.’s 5X5 brand, SA-08 model helmet. The company allegedly filed for bankruptcy without following a government-issued recall of 14,000 helmets that failed to meet safety requirements.
Aside from wearing a helmet, what can you do to protect yourself from a motorcycle accident?
- Give your bike a tune-up, so you aren’t stuck fixing it on the side of the road where other drivers can run into you
- Buy good gear, including a helmet that meets federal safety requirements
- Pay attention not only to what you’re doing but to what others are doing – always take distracted driving into account
- Be aware of your bike’s limitations
- Follow the speed limit
- Use your turn signals
Of course, other drivers should look out for motorcycles as well. Hence all the “Look twice, save a life – watch for motorcycles” bumper stickers on the back end of cars these days. Let’s all be safe out there!