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Should Ohio pass a mandatory helmet law for motorcyclists?

Many motorcycle enthusiasts contend there is nothing more thrilling than hitting the open road on their bike. Every spring as the ground begins to thaw; thousands of motorcyclists around Ohio take advantage of the mild temperatures and enjoy riding their motorcycles and mopeds. While statewide safety campaigns have helped raise awareness of motorcycles amongst other motorists, motorcycle accidents are still a common occurrence.

When a motorcycle is involved in an accident with a car or truck, it's likely the motorcyclist will sustain serious injuries or even fatal injuries. Because motorcycles lack doors, airbags and protective metal; a motorcyclist's body is typically the first point of impact when involved in a car accident.

Injuries commonly experienced by those involved in motorcycle accidents include broken bones, spine and back injuries, road rash and tissue damage. The most deadly and common injury, however, is that a rider's head and brain. Thankfully, motorcycle helmets have been proven effective in preventing traumatic brain injuries and saving lives.

A report released last year by the Centers for Disease Control proved that states that have mandatory helmet laws have fewer fatal motorcycle accidents. In fact, in states with mandatory helmet laws only 12 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents were attributable to head and brain injuries. This compares to states that have partial helmet laws, including Ohio, where nearly 65 percent died as a result of head and brain injuries.

Despite overwhelming evidence proving that helmets help save lives, currently only 19 states have mandatory helmet laws. Those who oppose helmet laws often contend that helmets are dangerous and obstruct a motorcyclist's vision. This stance, however, is proven false by the thousands of motorcyclists who regularly wear helmets and avoid being involved in accidents.

Source: The Olympian, "Editorial: Ride without a helmet? Not at public's expense," Feb. 5, 2013

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