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NC Motorcycle Helmet Law At Risk

As of January 1, 2008, all operators and passengers on motorcycles and mopeds in North Carolina have been required to wear a safety helmet. This helmet law had a single overriding purpose: To protect motorcyclists from severe injury or death in the event of a wreck.

Now, legislators are looking to reverse our successful helmet law. In our opinion, there is no logical reason to eliminate the helmet requirement, and some very important reasons to keep it. First, some background:

We’ve seen a lot of motorcycle injuries; they’re not minor…and they’re not pretty. But we fear that repealing the helmet law will result in more (and more severe) head injuries, an increased likelihood of death, and higher medical costs. Decades of research show that:

  • Motorcycle helmets reduce the likelihood of crash fatality by about 37%.
  • In the event of a crash, motorcyclists who don’t wear helmets are three times more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
  • In states without helmet laws, only about 55% of motorcyclists use a helmet.
  • Some states, such as Kentucky and Louisiana, repealed their helmet laws. The result? Motorcycle deaths increased by 50% in Kentucky and 100% in Lousiana.
  • Unhelmeted motorcyclists are 3 times more likely to suffer facial fractures, 36 times more likely to suffer skull fractures, and 6 times more likely to suffer severe brain injury.

There is no denying that motorcyclists risk injury every time they venture out of the garage. In hospital emergency departments across the country, doctors and nurses call motorcycles donor-cycles, a reference to the likelihood of a motorcyclist dying young enough to make a good organ donor.

Accidents happen…that’s why we have seatbelt laws, and car seat laws for children, and helmet laws for bicyclists and motorcyclists. Why would we want to repeal a law that saves so many lives?  In our opinion, it makes no sense.

If you agree that motorcycle helmet laws are important to North Carolina, please contact your representative. (You can find a list of contact numbers and email addresses here: NC House of Representatives Members

Resources

To read motorcycle information from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, click here: Important Notice of Changes to NC’s Motorcycle Safety Helmet Law

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Q&A on Motorcycle Helmet Use Laws from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

To read the bill, click here:  House DRH70088-MA-202

And to learn more about your legal options in the event of a motorcycle wreck, visit our website here:  HensonFuerst Attorneys website

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