How Much Does a Helmet Improve Survival in a Motorcycle Crash?


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Woman About To Ride Motorcycle

Does Wearing a Helmet Help You Survive a Motorcycle Crash?

The open road offers a thrilling and enjoyable experience for motorcycle riders. This sense of freedom comes with its own set of risks and dangers, however. To prepare themselves for potential accidents, motorcyclists should always wear the proper protective equipment as a safety precaution, especially a motorcycle helmet. But how much does a helmet improve survival in a motorcycle crash?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmet use remains the single most effective way to reduce fatalities and severe injuries caused by motorcycle accidents. Wearing a helmet reduces your risk of dying in a motorcycle accident by 37%. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmet use saved 1,859 lives of motorcyclists in 2018 alone.

Motorcyclists Are at Higher Risk of Accident Injuries

A majority of motorcycle accidents cause injury to the rider’s legs, feet, or pelvis. While you can often recover from these types of injuries, head injuries involving damage to the brain result in longer hospital stays and extensive rehabilitation.

In some cases, head injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes lead to permanent impairments or even death. By wearing a helmet, motorists can significantly reduce the risk of sustaining a disabling head injury in a motorcycle crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises helmet use as the best way for you to protect your brain in a motorcycle crash. Motorcyclists have a higher chance of being involved in accidents resulting in severe injuries or fatalities due to several risk factors, including:

  • Lack of protection on motorcycles compared to enclosed vehicles
  • Smaller size and lower visibility of motorcycles on the road
  • Higher vulnerability to road conditions during adverse weather compared to cars and trucks

The Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

While helmet use may not prevent all head injuries, it greatly reduces the chances of severe or fatal head injuries. In the event of an accident, helmets provide crucial protection for the brain. While some patients can recover from minor traumatic brain injuries (TBI), more moderate to severe cases often carry lifelong consequences.

According to the National Institute for Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, moderate to severe brain injuries only worsen with time. Victims experience lowered life expectancies, minimal recovery, and adverse health effects such as infections, weaker immune systems, and seizures.

Reducing Catastrophic Injury by Wearing Motorcycle Helmets

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also advocates motorcycle helmets for protecting a rider’s head during an accident. How much does a helmet improve survival in a motorcycle crash? Let’s look at the numbers.

In a study of motorcycle crash victims, the CDC reported that helmet use reduced the risk of death by 37%.

CDC research also indicates how much helmets have improved survival in motorcycle crashes:

  • Helmets reduce the risk of severe brain injury by 70%.
  • Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%
  • Helmets reduce the risk of neck injuries by 50%


Florida Helmet Laws for Motorcyclists

Despite the clear benefits of wearing a helmet, not all states have universal helmet laws. These laws require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet regardless of age or experience. In states without universal helmet laws, the individual rider makes the decision whether or not to wear a helmet despite the risks associated with accidents.

Florida state law requires riders and passengers below the age of 21 to wear helmets while riding motorcycles. If you are over the age of 21, you do not legally need to wear a helmet, but you must possess valid proof of motorcycle insurance if you choose not to wear one.

Types of Helmets that Florida State Law Requires

A helmet stamped with a Department of Transportation (DOT) certification sticker indicates that the helmet meets DOT standards and Florida state regulations. Helmet code in Florida must adhere to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218.

To qualify for DOT standards, motorcycle helmets must pass the following safety requirements:

  • Protection against collision or impact with large objects
  • Capability of fastening to a rider’s head using a chin strap
  • Overall stability and retention strength

Even when approved by DOT standards, motorcycle helmets cannot guarantee absolute safety during the event of a motorcycle crash. Flaws in the helmet due to wear or manufacturer defects can make them less effective.

How much a helmet improves survival in a motorcycle crash also depends on how well it fits the wearer’s head. The DOT recommends wearing full-face helmets that fit appropriately to increase protection for the wearer.

Liability Regarding Helmet Use During an Accident

The state of Florida judges liability for auto accidents based on the driver at fault. If the driver causes the accident, it does not matter whether or not a motorcyclist wore a helmet or not. Motorcyclists still retain the legal right to seek compensation for medical expenses incurred due to head injuries caused during the accident.

In some cases, drivers claim negligence for an accident they caused. Insurance companies often point to the lack of helmet use as a tactic to avoid responsibility. If you or anyone you know suffered from a motorcycle accident and need help seeking compensation for damages, contact the Law Offices of Michael J. Herron.

Seek a Personal Injury Attorney Who Can Help

If you’re wondering, “how much does a helmet improve survival in a motorcycle crash?” the answer is that helmets can save your life and reduce your risk of severe injury.

After experiencing a motorcycle accident, call us at the Law Offices of Michael J. Herron. You need an experienced auto accident lawyer in Tampa, FL, to help you navigate the legal process and seek compensation for medical expenses and any property damage. Get a completely free case review by clicking the button below.