Motorcycle helmet laws are often controversial. It seems like they should be a no-brainer. Helmets have been proven to protect motorcyclists and passengers from traumatic brain injuries or fatalities that are caused by catastrophic head injuries. But, there is often a resistance to these types of laws from some motorcyclists who believe the government is infringing on their personal rights by telling them what safety gear to use.
Rhode Island Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Rhode Island does not have a universal motorcycle helmet law. It does have laws that protect young motorcyclists. The state’s helmet law requires those 21 years of age and under to wear helmets while riding a motorcycle. However, older motorcyclists are not required under the law to wear a helmet. The law does require all motorcycle operators, regardless of age, to wear helmets during the first year of having their motorcycle license. It is important to note that neighboring Massachusetts has a universal helmet law, making it mandatory for all motorcyclists to wear helmets.
How Do Helmets and Helmet Laws Help?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets saved the lives of 1,630 motorcyclists in 2013 and 715 more lives in all states could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. All-rider helmet laws increase motorcycle helmet use and decrease deaths and injuries, numbers show. According to a 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proved to be effective in reducing motorcyclist fatalities.
In states without a universal helmet law, 59 percent of the motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets as opposed to only 8 percent in states with all-rider helmet laws in 2013. Also, motorcycle helmets are currently preventing $17 billion in societal harm annually. Take the example of Michigan, which repealed its universal helmet law in 2012. Officials estimated that there would have been 26 fewer motorcycle fatalities had the law been in place. Here’s the most telling statistic of them all: Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent and the risk of death by 42 percent.
Choosing the Right Helmet
Whether or not Rhode Island ends up passing a universal helmet law, our Rhode Island motorcycle accident lawyers would encourage all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear a safe, certified helmet while riding. Choose a Department of Transportation-approved helmet that covers the entire head and face. Your helmet should fit snugly and comfortably while strapped. If your helmet has been damaged, replace it right away. Do not buy a used helmet.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Our motorcycle accident attorneys can help fight for your rights and secure fair and full compensation for all your losses. Call 1-800-992-6878 for a no-cost consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.