After laws requiring helmets were made laxer in Michigan, researchers at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and Spectrum Health began studying whether there would be an uptick in serious injuries. Lead author of the study, Dr. Nicholas Adams, has stated that his team found a correlation between the weakened motorcycle helmet laws and a decrease in the use of helmets resulting in more injuries. The number of skull fractures, head, and facial injuries has doubled in Michigan since this safety law was repealed.
In 2012, the State of Michigan repealed a universal motorcycle helmet law. All motorcyclists in Michigan who are over the age of 21 and meet certain training, experience, and insurance coverage requirements, do not need to wear helmets. Although many people might visualize the ideal of riding on the open road, the reality is not worth it. Motorcyclists are far more vulnerable to injury than passengers in ordinary cars, which are enclosed by a metal chassis. Cyclists involved in motorcycle accidents frequently wind up with severe trauma to their face and skull, including fractures, lacerations, and shattered bones.
The Michigan researchers reviewed data from the three-year period before the law was repealed and compared it to data collected during the three years after the repeal. Data included case information about 4,700 motorcycle accident trauma patients across nearly 30 trauma centers and hospitals across the State of Michigan.
Medical records revealed that the number of patients who were not wearing a helmet at the time of their crash more than doubled after the law was repealed, ballooning from 20 percent of all motorcycle trauma patients, to 44 percent. These findings corroborate earlier studies conducted by other researchers, which found that wearing motorcycle helmets reduces accident related fatalities by 40 percent and non-fatal injuries by about 13 percent.
Moreover, patients who did not wear helmets were two times likely to suffer head and facial injuries. After the laws were repealed, 28 percent more fractures occurred because of motorcycle accidents, and a 56 percent increase in soft tissue injuries. Fractures of the cheekbones, bruises, scrapes, and facial cuts were also seen with much more regularity. These results underscore the absolute necessity of wearing motorcycle helmets, regardless of whether the area where you are riding legally requires them or not. The study was published earlier this summer in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal.
The authors of the study urged lawmakers across the United States to enact or reinstate universal helmet laws. Currently, as many as one out of every three motorcyclists on American roadways are not wearing helmets. These figures are higher in states that do not require everyone to wear them. All motorcyclists should be proactive and wear protective gear.
New Jersey Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP Represent Victims Injured in Motorcycle AccidentsMotorcycle accidents often result in devastating injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured, call the experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Edison, Red Bank and Toms River, New Jersey, we proudly represent victims of motorcycle accidents throughout New Jersey.