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Myths About Motorcycle Helmet Safety

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), members of the public often give different reasons for not wearing motorcycle helmets. However, many of these reasons are myths. If the public had more information about how motorcycle helmets can help protect motorcyclists in the event of an accident, riders might be able to avoid head injuries and other severe injuries that sometimes can result in death.

Some riders do not wear helmets because they believe that wearing them can result in a greater risk of neck or spinal cord injuries if a wreck occurs. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reviewed five different studies, all of which concluded that riders without helmets actually have a higher incidence of severe neck injuries. Furthermore, an Illinois study found that wearing helmets actually decreases the number of spinal cord injuries.

Motorcyclists often complain that wearing a helmet decreases their visibility and hearing, which compromises their safety. In fact, science does not support either of these claims. While helmets reduce the loudness of noises, they do not reduce the rider’s ability to distinguish between sounds. In fact, researchers at the University of Southern California investigated 900 different motorcycle accidents, and found that there was no case in which a helmeted rider was unable to detect a critical traffic sound. Additionally, given the federal safety standards that require helmets to provide 210 degrees of vision, and the fact that over 90% of crashes happen within a range of 160 degrees of vision, helmets clearly do not adversely affect an individual rider’s peripheral vision.

Finally, many motorcycle riders claim that mandatory helmet laws are unconstitutional and violate their individual rights. The fact is that the highest courts in over 25 states have upheld the constitutionality of motorcycle helmet laws, so there are no constitutional issues. Furthermore, all traffic laws require individuals to do certain things while driving or riding a motorcycle; you must stop at stop signs, drive on the correct side of the road, obey traffic signals, and use safety belts.

Regardless of the issues that led to the motorcycle or other motor vehicle crash that harmed you or your family member, you may very well have a personal injury claim under Wisconsin law. Call Boller & Vaughan today at (608) 268-0268, or contact us online at in order to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Wisconsin personal injury lawyers. Don’t give up on your losses without a fight for what you deserve from those responsible for your injuries.