The freedom associated with riding a motorcycle is one of the biggest attractions of this form of transportation. Four-wheeled vehicles tend to represent the daily grind and the trappings of adult responsibility. They get stuck in traffic jams and primarily serve a practical purpose. Motorcycles are practical in that they provide very efficient and reliable transportation, but they may create a very different mindset.
Motorcycle riders often experience a sense of exhilaration and freedom with the wind in their face. Many riders want to enhance that sensation and also to cultivate a specific personal aesthetic while they are out for a ride. Unfortunately, that means that many motorcycle riders forego a helmet because of how it looks or because of how it affects the feel of riding on a beautiful day. While there is something thrilling about riding without a helmet blocking the wind, a rider is also at significantly elevated risk when they make that choice.
Helmets are someone’s last line of defense
Ideally, someone riding a motorcycle will have the skill and observational focus to avoid a collision. However, other drivers in traffic may make poor decisions that end up having serious consequences for someone on a motorcycle nearby. It is not always possible to prevent a crash, which is why it is of the utmost import to wear a helmet even on the shortest of rides in low-speed areas.
A helmet reduces someone’s risk of severe injury and death in car-motorcycle collisions. Federal statistics indicate that helmets can prevent fatal injuries 37% of the time in riders and 41% of the time for passengers. A significant portion of those who die on motorcycles every year do not have protective headgear in place at the time of the crash, which means that they may have survived if they had made a different choice.
The impact of injuries is also hard to ignore
People sometimes defend their decision to ride without a helmet by saying that they will die quickly doing what they love, but that is not always what happens. Helmets also protect people against traumatic brain injuries, which might potentially leave them dependent on life support or in need of around-the-clock medical support.
Those with severe brain injuries may require millions of dollars of medical care before they die, which place an immense burden on their loved ones. Given that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of both death and severe brain injury by protecting someone’s most precious and vulnerable organ, wearing a helmet in good condition every time someone rides is perhaps the easiest way to reduce their risk.
Investing in a DOT-approved helmet and consistently using it may benefit those who enjoy two-wheeled transportation. Making this effort can also help to ensure that someone is not held partially accountable for their own harm in the event of a crash.