As the price of gasoline hovers around the $4/gallon mark, more and more people across the country are turning to motorcycles as a more economical means of travel. According to the US Department of Transportation, the number of registered motorcycles has increased from just less than 4 million nationwide to almost 7 million in the last 10 years.
In the meantime, fewer and fewer states are retaining mandatory helmet laws for motorcycles. Only 20 states today (New York included) mandate the use of helmets, as compared to 47 states in 1975. For whatever reason, many people only use safety devices when they are mandated. In the case of motorcyclists, many refuse to wear helmets even when they are mandated, preferring instead to pay the fines rather than protect their brain. As a result, more and more motorcyclists are cruising the road with the protection of a helmet.
The result of all these unprotected brains cruising the highways at 60 mph+ is predictable. In the last 10 years, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents has tripled from approximately 2,000 per year to more than 6,000 per year.
The point of this article is not to blame motorcyclists for the problem. They have as much right to use the highways as anyone. On any given day of the week there are usually one or two motorcycles parked in our employee lot. I have to admit that riding a motorcycle back and forth to work sounds pretty appealing every time I fill my tank.
My point is that if you choose to operate a motorcycle, no matter how great an operator you may be, the chances of you avoiding a VERY serious injury are substantially increased if you wear a helmet. Here in the Twin Tiers, we represent motorcyclists from New York who are required to wear helmets, as well as our Pennsylvania neighbors who are not.
My personal observation from a very busy motorcycle practice is that helmets save lives. Isn’t that reason enough to wear one?
Thanks for reading,
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
New York and Pennsylvania Personal Injury and Malpractice Attorney
Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901