Helmet Laws



ARE HELMET LAWS EFFECTIVE?

The Safety Issue:

  • There is NO discernible difference in motorcycle accident or fatality rates between states with mandatory helmet laws and those which allow for freedom of choice. In fact, states which support voluntary use routinely achieve accident and fatality rates equal to or lower than states with mandatory helmet laws for all riders. (American Motorcycle Association, 1995)
  • Helmets are minimally effective in preventing most injuries. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report to Congress, the CODES Study, 1995)
  • There are no appreciable differences found relative to fatality rate, severity of injury, hospital stay, and discharge status between motorcycle accident victims who wore helmets and those who did not. (Arizona's Governor's Office of Highway Safety Study, 1990)
  • Relative to the number of registered motorcycles, states with mandatory helmet laws had 12.5% more accidents and 2.3% more fatalities than free choice states for the 14 year period 1977-90. (Accident and Fatality Statistics, analyzed by A.R. Mackenzie, M.D.)
  • “It is concluded that: 1) motorcycle helmets have no significant effect on probability of fatality; and 2) past a critical impact speed, helmets increase the severity of neck injuries.” (Dr. Jonathan Goldstein, Bowdoin College)

The Cost Issue or "Public Burden Theory":

  • Helmet use is not associated with overall injury severity, discharge status, or insurance status.(University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, June 1992).
  • Injured motorcycle operators admitted to trauma centers had lower injury severity scores compared to other road trauma victims. They accrued lower hospital charges. They were less likely to rely on Medicaid and Medicare, and they had about the same level of commercial or private insurance as other road trauma victims. (University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, June, 1992)
  • The average inpatient charge for a helmeted motorcyclist receiving a brain injury was equal to that of an unhelmeted motorcyclist receiving a brain injury. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report to Congress, the CODES Study, 1995)
  • The average inpatient charge for a helmeted motorcyclist not receiving a brain injury was approximately $1,000 more than that of an unhelmeted motorcyclist not receiving a brain injury. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report to Congress, the CODES study, 1995)
  • Helmet use has no impact on the cost of injury after it has occurred. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report to Congress, the CODES study, 1995)
  • Motorcyclists are no more dependent upon public sources for medical costs than motor vehicle operators. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report to Congress, the CODES study, 1995)

Helmet information

Above is a link to a web site which compiles a great deal of information from helmet manufacturers – as well as other links to various agencies and organizations. This information can be very helpful in our battle to achieve personal freedom of choice. The manufacturers themselves are less than enthusiastic about the ability of their product to protect motorcyclists at anything over DOT specifications which I believe is 13.9 MPH. In addition there are links off of this page to studies, statistics and reports that support our position. Please read up on this information as it is critical that we have the facts working for us whenever we can.

Be prepared to defend our rights with the truth.

Helmet Law Facts