How Necessary Are Motorcycle Helmets? Really Necessary.

How Necessary Are Motorcycle Helmets? Really Necessary.When riding on the open Nevada roads on a warm day, all a motorcyclist may want to do is feel the wind in their hair. Maybe they’re an experienced rider, with years of riding under their belt. Maybe, with no other drivers around them on a single-lane road, they don’t see the big deal in removing their helmet — or even leaving it home before their next trip.

It may not be the advice you want to hear, but the fact of the matter is every single motorcyclist should be wearing a helmet every single time. The experienced Las Vegas motorcycle accident attorneys at Claggett & Sykes Law Firm are well-versed in personal injury and accidents of all sorts, so we know what we’re talking about when we say helmets save lives, period.

Common causes of motorcycle crash-related injuries

The rumors are true – motorcycling is the most hazardous and dangerous form of transportation. In fact, a motorcyclist is 29 times more likely to die in a crash than passengers or drivers of cars and other vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While training and experience can make a rider safer on their bike, it’s still a vulnerable and open vehicle, especially as many drivers don’t respect the rights of riders on the roads. Riders and their passengers can be critically injured if:

  • Drivers fail to notice riders while they are turning
  • Drivers tailgate or attempt to intimidate motorcyclists
  • Drivers and rear-set passengers open doors into traffic without looking to see if there is a rider nearby
  • City, county, and federal agencies fail to address road defects, such as potholes, road erosion, or blind curves

Of course, any negligent or reckless driving behavior – such as speeding, driving under the influence, or driving distracted – puts a motorcycle operator at risk. Unlike cars, trucks, and other passenger vehicles, motorcycle are not equipped with seat belts (for safety reasons, really) or any type of steel frame which can protect them in a crash. In the most devastating of collisions, riders may be thrown from their bikes, dragged across roadways, or crushed under the weight of the vehicles or their own bikes. Even a low-impact collision can cause a rider to fall of a bike.

Alongside broken bones, road rash, and crush injuries, two of the most severe (and common) consequences of motorcycle accidents, no matter the cause, are spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injuries. Spinal cord damage can lead to a lifetime of paralysis of varying degree and traumatic brain injuries can impact every aspect of your life and how you live it. Neither are injuries you want to risk experiencing, and both may be prevented by using a helmet.

Will a helmet prevent a traumatic brain injury?

It can. There have been countless studies about helmet usage, and they all agree that wearing one is the safest way to ride. Consumer-safety group Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety (AHAS) says that, based on the data, a helmet reduces the risk of a head injury by 69% – more than two-thirds.

Helmets prevent deaths, too. AHAS cites a 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report claiming that “laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proved to be effective in reducing motorcyclist fatalities,” and 2017 data that shows “there were 10 times as many unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities in states without universal helmet laws as in states with universal helmet laws.”

This data, coupled with Nevada’s universal helmet law for public roads (and the various fines you may face if you’re caught without one – currently $208 in Las Vegas) should mean that all riders out here wear helmets. It is the best thing you can do to protect yourself.

What if my motorcycle helmet is defective?

If your helmet is defective, you can file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, retailer, and/or any other potentially liable parties for damages. Under the law, you could have a claim, provided:

  • The helmet, or one of its parts or components, had a dangerous defect that caused you harm.
  • You were wearing your helmet in the way it was intended to be worn, and
  • The helmet wasn’t significantly changed or altered from its original condition.

What kind of motorcycle helmet should I get?

Under Nevada’s helmet law, which you can find in Nevada Revised Statute 486.321, you are required to wear a motorcycle helmet that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. You are also required to wear goggles, glasses, or face shields if your “transparent windscreen” does not meet certain standards. As a general rule, you should wear a helmet that fits securely on your head, and does not have any cracks or damage.

We cannot recommend a helmet to you – you need to pick the right one for your needs that complies with Nevada law – but we can tell you that motorcycle helmet technology is changing every day. In fact, a Swedish helmet lab is working on a safety system called MIPs, which – when incorporated into a helmet – acts as an extra layer of liquid protection that allows the skull more movement and cushion in the case of impact. It’s based off the natural liquid between our brains and our skulls that protect us from concussion. While tests are still being run and it is not yet available for wide-spread sale, it shows the positive direction of the industry.

So yes, always wear a helmet when you ride your motorcycle, even if you’re a passenger. Make sure your gear is safe and maintained, and take the dangers of your passion seriously. If you do get into an accident on your bike, especially if you or your passenger has sustained serious injuries, know that you need and deserve representation that puts your health and recovery first. Here at Claggett & Sykes Law Firm, our Las Vegas motorcycle accident attorneys know how to hold negligent drivers accountable and get you the compensation and damages you’re owed. To schedule a free consultation with us in Las Vegas or Reno, please call 702-333-7777 or fill out our contact form today.