Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Begins Next Week: Motorcycle Safety Spotlight – CDC Argues Helmets Reduce Risk of Brain Injury by 69%


Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Begins Next Week: Motorcycle Safety Spotlight – CDC Argues Helmets Reduce Risk of Brain Injury by 69%

In less than two weeks, it will be time for the 72nd annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota – an American tradition, where motorcycle enthusiasts from all over Illinois, Indiana, the rest of the country and around the world travel to this small town for a week of motorcycle related fun.  According to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally website, celebrities like reality show TV American Chopper stars Paul Teutul Jr. and his crew will be attending. Almost a half a million riders are expected to participate in the 2012 Rally this year, based upon statistics kept by Rally officials over the past ten years.

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Has Something for Everyone: Spotlight on the American Motorcycle Rider

There are races.  There are stunts.  There’s lots of talk about motorcycles, there’s lots of booths selling stuff related to motorcycles, and there’s lots of talk about the state of motorcycle riding in America today.

Some of that is going to include motorcycle safety, of course, and there’s undoubtedly going to be talk about Helmet Laws. The Sturgis site, in answer to the Frequently Asked Question about helmet laws in South Dakota or neighboring states, refers the reader to the AMA-Cycle site, which provides a map of the United States with links to each state’s current motorcycle laws and regulations.

Go there, and you will discover that Illinois does not require a safety helmet, either on the road or off-road.  Indiana?  Safety helmets are required for those under 18 years of age as well as instruction permit holders on the road. In Indiana, no helmet is required for anyone off-road.

Many motorcycle enthusiasts do not like helmets – they argue that these helmets restrict their ability to see and hear while riding on the road, giving them a big disadvantage on roadways where other vehicles already disregard and discount motorcycles in traffic.  However, there are government studies that suggest otherwise, and have formed the basis of many state regulations on motorcycle helmets.

Motorcycle Safety Statistics- CDC Findings Are Motorcycle Helmets Reduce Head Injury Risk by 69%

According to the Center for Disease Control, the only effort that has been scientifically proven to protect motorcycle riders in crashes or accidents from serious injury or death is the wearing of a safety helmet by 69%.  That’s right:  SIXTY-NINE PERCENT.  From the CDC site (links added):

Helmets are estimated to reduce the likelihood of death in a motorcycle crash by 37%. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,544 motorcycle riders in 2010 alone.

Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of motorcycle crash death. Even when not fatal, these debilitating head injuries can mean a lifetime of costly rehabilitation and severe emotional trauma for family and friends. In fact, treating severe traumatic brain injuries costs times more than non-brain injuries.

Helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.

There are no negative health effects from helmet use. Helmets do not restrict a rider’s ability to hear important sounds, or to see a vehicle in the next lane. …  Unhelmeted riders are 40% more likely to die from a head injury than someone wearing a helmet.

CDC Image of Distribution of Impact On Motorcycle Helmets In Crash

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