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How helmets help prevent serious head injuries and deaths in motorcycle crashes

Lana Bandoim's picture

Do you always wear a helmet to protect yourself as you ride a motorcycle? If the answer is no, then you may want to pay attention to the following research results.


A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma found a significant difference among motorcycle riders who were wearing helmets during crashes compared to those who did not wear helmets. Researchers noted that riders without helmets are 2.5 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident. In addition, they are 3.5 times more likely to have a serious brain injury. If you are not wearing a helmet, there are important points you need to consider.

Serious Head Injuries and Motorcycles

One of the biggest concerns after a motorcycle crash is the possibility of a serious head injury that can lead to ongoing medical problems and disabilities. Motorcycles make riders more vulnerable to injury in accidents because they do not provide the same level of protection as cars. From concussions to brain damage, head injuries tend to be common problems in motorcycle accidents.

“As an attorney that has represented persons injured or killed in motorcycle crashes for over 20 years, I can tell you that head trauma is the number one cause of serious life-altering injuries and death in these cases. While helmets are not a 'cure-all,' they certainly increase your chances of surviving a motorcycle wreck,” said Steven M. Sweat.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) points out that a helmet’s ability to prevent a brain injury is 67 percent. This protective head gear is able to both prevent injuries and reduce the severity of damage in serious cases. Helmets can protect your head from cuts, scrapes and other superficial wounds. In addition, they can offer protection from skull fractures, brain damage, brain bleeding and other problems.

Death and Motorcycles

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also mentions that helmets can reduce the risk of dying in a motorcycle crash by 37 percent. A serious head trauma can be deadly, but helmets can prevent fatalities. A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that laws requiring the use of helmets by motorcycle riders are a crucial strategy to reducing the number of deaths in accidents. The GAO points out that 59 percent of the riders who died in motorcycle crashes did not use helmets and lived in states that do not require motorcycle helmets.

Head injuries are one of the main causes of death in motorcycle crashes. However, motorcycle helmets are designed to protect the brain and skull, so you have a greater possibility of survival. Most helmets are made from several components including impact-absorbing liners, padding and shells. The liner is meant to provide a cushion and absorb impact while the padding increases comfort. The outer shells are used to disperse the impact and keep the other materials together. Motorcycle helmets can also reduce outside noise and keep debris out of your eyes, but their main goal is to protect your brain.

Many motorcycle crash victims end up with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can lead to death in serious cases. An estimated 50,000 deaths occur every year because of TBI. Extensive brain injuries can occur that lead to permanent, irreversible damage and death.

Studies show that helmets can help prevent serious head injuries and deaths in motorcycle crashes, but they are not a requirement in every state. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, then you must seek immediate medical help and consider contacting an attorney.