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Motorcycle Accident Death Rate Doubles Without Helmets

motorcycle-helmetColorado is one of 31 states in the nation that does not currently require motorcyclists to wear a helmet when riding or operating a motorcycle. However, a 2006 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that in states without helmet laws for all riders, 65% of motorcyclists who experienced fatal injuries were not wearing helmets, compared to just 13% in states that require a helmet for all riders. Clearly, helmets make a life-saving difference.

In fact, a new study released by the University of Michigan and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that in the year after Michigan repealed its all-rider helmet law, deaths of motorcycle riders who weren’t wearing helmets were double that of riders who were wearing helmets during an accident. Michigan’s new law excuses riders aged 21 and up from wearing helmets; here in Colorado, the age at which helmets become optional is just 18. All riders are required to wear appropriate eye protection, however. Eye protection can include eyeglasses with lenses made of safety glass. Goggles are also acceptable.

Colorado’s Live to Ride campaign from the state Department of Transportation encourages helmets, among other precautions, for all riders as a way to prevent fatalities – even though the law does not require riders or drivers to wear helmets. The DOT’s website included motorcycle helmet recommendations, noting they are the most vital piece of equipment motorcycle riders can wear.

Follow these tips to ensure a proper fit for your motorcycle helmet:

  • The helmet must fit your head securely, without sliding or moving around.
  • The chinstrap should fit comfortably and secure without pinching.
  • The helmet should fit tightly against your forehead and have no room to slide in a finger between you and the motorcycle helmet.
  • The helmet should provide clear vision, both vertically and laterally (from side to side).

Even though Colorado law doesn’t require helmets for motorcycle riders 18 and older, wearing one could literally be the difference between life and death if you’re involved in an accident. If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, invest in a high-quality helmet to keep you safe, and as the DOT’s campaign states, “live to ride.”

Learn more about Motorcycle Accidents.

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