Currently, only 19 out of 50 states require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. By contrast, 28 states require only some riders to wear helmets, and three have no helmet laws at all. If you live in a state where you're not required to wear a motorcycle helmet, you may think that it's not worth the expense of buying a helmet, or you may prefer to ride without one. But the fact is, even if you're not required by law to wear a helmet, it's a good idea to do so—for more reasons than you may think. Take a look at some of the top reasons why you should always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.
Helmets Prevent Injuries and Fatalities
The biggest and most obvious reason to wear a helmet is simple: the helmet may save your life, or protect you from serious injury. Statistics show that helmets are highly effective in preventing motorcycle crash deaths. Helmets reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle crash by around 42%.
Helmets also reduce the risk of injury by around 69%. Head injuries can have serious, and even life-altering consequences. The after effects of a traumatic brain injury can range from headaches to memory problems and cognitive impairment to comatose states. Treating such injuries is difficult and expensive, and the injuries can follow you for the rest of your life, impacting employment, relationships, and general quality of life.
Helmets Can Help Other Drivers See You
Wearing a helmet also increases your visibility while on the road, which not only helps to prevent accidents, but also improves the driving conditions when you're on the road among other vehicles. The better other drivers can see you, the less likely you are to be cut off in traffic by drivers who didn't notice you.
Helmets help other drivers notice you because they increase your mass; the helmet is larger than your head, and the bigger you appear, the more visible you are. Many helmet designs also incorporate reflective paint or stickers that also help improve your visibility, especially at night when you're most likely to be overlooked.
Helmets Are Evidence After an Accident
Another thing that you may not realize is that if you're in an accident, your helmet can be an important piece of evidence in a lawsuit. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by distracted or careless drivers, and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from a driver's insurance company—or from the driver personally, in some cases—if you're hit by a driver that wasn't paying attention. It's important that your helmet, if you were wearing one, be preserved after an accident, because the marks and scratches on it can be used to help determine the facts of the case. Without a helmet, you're missing this piece of evidence.
When determining how much your injury is worth, the helmet may also be taken into account. If you received a head injury while wearing a helmet, the fact that you had the helmet on in the first place proves that you were taking responsible steps to protect yourself, and are probably not liable for your own injuries. However, if you were not wearing a helmet, a jury may find you partially responsible for your injuries because you failed to protect yourself. If you sustain a head injury and weren't wearing a helmet in a state that did require you to wear one, it can be difficult to get any compensation for that injury at all; your attorney would need to prove that you would have had the same injury even with a helmet.
Even if you didn't sustain a head injury, if you file a claim for other types of injuries, the presence of a helmet can still help your claim.
If you're injured in a motorcycle accident, with or without a helmet, contact a local motorcycle accident attorney for more info on how they can help you file a claim for compensation for your losses and injuries.