If you wish to operate a motorcycle in the state of North Carolina—or even ride on the back of someone else’s motorcycle, you are required to wear a helmet. North Carolina is just one of many states that mandate the use of a helmet for anyone who operates or rides on a motorcycle. The debate over helmet laws is one that continues among motorcycle riders, lawmakers, and the public at large, but there are several compelling reasons for such laws.
Motorcycle riders and their passengers are already at increased risk for personal injury or death, whether or not they are wearing helmets. When injury-causing accidents occur in North Carolina, our skilled North Carolina motorcycle crash lawyers are equipped to help injured riders seek the compensation they need to start rebuilding their lives. Even so, we actively encourage riders throughout the state to educate themselves about the safety and effectiveness of always wearing motorcycle helmets.
Helmets Do Not Meaningfully Restrict Vision or Hearing
Many riders object to the idea of being forced to wear helmets because they claim that their helmets will restrict their vision or ability to hear. These are certainly legitimate concerns. A rider’s safety would certainly be compromised if they could not see or hear as well, in which case wearing a helmet could be counterproductive and, in fact, could cause an accident.
However, research has shown that these fears are not supported or well founded. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated, a person’s range of vision, including their peripheral vision, usually covers between 200 and 220 degrees. Helmets provide up to 210 degrees of vision—resulting in a very slight impairment, if any at all. Further, more than 90 percent of accidents happen within a 160-degree range, which means that vision impairment caused by a helmet will not contribute to most collisions. A rider can easily counter any slight restriction in their peripheral vision by simply moving their head just a little bit more.
Helmets also do not significantly reduce the ability of a rider to hear important sounds. True, the helmet might reduce the sound of the wind, but the helmet will not impede the ability to hear critical traffic sounds like car horns.
Helmets Reduce Brain Injuries and Save Lives
If helmets do not impair riders, do they actually improve safety? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets significantly reduce the likelihood of suffering a brain injury—by between 41 and 69 percent. There have been over 50 studies that have looked at whether helmets reduce injuries, and the highest quality studies show the most benefit.
The fatality rate is also much higher for riders who are not wearing helmets, as high as 6.2 out of every 1,000, compared to only 1.6 per 1,000 for those with helmets. This is almost a 400 percent increase in risk. With the right helmet, a biker is far more likely to walk away from a serious accident and to live to ride another day.
Should You Put on a Helmet?
The CDC also found that universal helmet laws were effective at getting people to actually put one on. Unfortunately, some states have taken a different path, allowing riders to decide if they want the added protection. Safety experts generally agree that wearing a helmet is a simple but effective way to reduce the likelihood of a serious injury in the event of a crash.
Of course, no helmet provides 100 percent protection from serious injury. However, riders who want to reduce the chances of suffering disability or death should look for a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation and wear it whenever they ride.
Contact a North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Motorcycle accidents often leave victims in considerable pain and in need of expensive medical treatment. Fortunately, victims can receive compensation when someone else is to blame—even if they were not wearing a helmet. The good news is that the experienced North Carolina motorcycle crash attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. We will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve—just as we did in securing a $975,000 settlement for our client who was injured when his motorcycle hit by a commercial delivery truck driver. Call our office at (833) 997-1774 today to schedule your free consultation.