The Impact Of Mandatory Helmet Laws On The Consequences Of Motorcycle Accidents [Part 1]

The force of impact generated by thousands of pounds of metal colliding with a fixed object or another vehicle at speeds up to seventy miles per hour makes any motor vehicle collision dangerous. Rollover accidents that leads to a vehicle ejection generally pose the most dangerous risk of catastrophic injury like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, loss of limbs and even wrongful death. Because a motorcycle offers limited stability and lacks the protection of a steel chassis, seatbelts and airbags, virtually every motorcycle accident is the equivalent of a vehicle ejection rollover accident that poses the greatest danger to occupants of other passenger vehicles.

Since motorcyclists are more prone to being involved in an accident caused by a negligent or inattentive driver and more likely to suffer life-altering injuries or the loss of a loved one, it is important to understand the significance of the relationship between motorcycle helmets and motorcycle crash claims because they essentially provide the only form of safety protection against injury in a motorcycle accident.

Is the risk involved in riding a motorcycle really that much greater than when traveling in other types of motor vehicles?

Unfortunately, the risk associated with motorcycles is far greater because motorcycles provide a range of disadvantages including a lack of protection, less visibility and tendency to eject a rider. The enhanced risk associated with motorcycle accidents is evidenced by a litany of motorcycle crash, injury and fatality statistics. During a recent one year period, 55 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycles were involved in a fatal collision whereas only 9 out of every passenger cars were involved in a fatal crash during the same period according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The federal agency also reports that the risk of a fatal crash while riding a motorcycle is thirty times greater than that faced by passenger vehicle occupants. The risk of injury is five times greater for those riding a motorcycle. Unfortunately, the motorcycle accident fatality rate has increased in recent years despite the fact that overall motor vehicle fatality rates have declined.

Does Kentucky have a mandatory motorcycle helmet law?

While many states have enacted universal motorcycle helmet laws, Kentucky law only imposes a mandatory helmet requirement for novice riders under the age of 21 and those holding an instructional permit.

Do laws that require universal motorcycle helmet use by all riders provide any safety benefit compared to partial requirements like those imposed in Kentucky?

During the two year period after Kentucky repealed its universal helmet ban for motorcyclists, the number of motorcycle accident fatalities spiked upward by 58 percent compared to the two years prior to the repeal according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC). The CDC also estimates that states with universal helmet laws have three times the number of lives saved by helmets than states with partial helmet laws and almost quadruple the savings in economic cost associated with motorcycle crashes.

What specific consequences of a Kentucky motorcycle accident are helmets effective at preventing?

The CDC reports that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head trauma by almost seventy percent while reducing the risk of death by a third based on national motorcycle accident statistics. The agency also estimates that the annual financial savings could be as high as $1.4 billion if all motorcyclists wore helmets when riding

If you have been injured in a motorcycle collision, our experienced Kentucky motorcycle accident attorneys work diligently to get our clients the compensation they deserve. We encourage you to schedule a FREE consultation and contact us or visit our website at We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you with your legal needs!


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