General Safety and Bikes, Scooters, Motorcycles, and Helmets

There is a certain freedom associated with riding a motorcycle, a bicycle, or a scooter. Feeling unconstrained riding down the road or trail can be a joyful experience. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that motorcycle riders are almost 40 times as likely to die from accidents per mile driven than automobile drivers are. They also estimate that helmets make death 40% less likely.

In many states the question of whether to wear a motorcycle helmet is moot. Twenty states have mandatory helmet laws for all ages. Others have age-related laws, requiring people under a certain age to wear helmets. Many states also have bicycle helmet laws, although these are mostly for people under the age of 18. Laws for scooters and mopeds vary and tend to be less restrictive than regulations on either motorcycles or bicycles.

The lack of regulation in some instances is no excuse for forgoing helmet use. Riders should learn how to ride their vehicles under safe, traffic-free conditions. They should wear helmets designed for the use of the two-wheeled vehicle they are riding. Bike helmets should be adjusted to fit tightly. Motorcycle riders should carry motorcycle insurance and health insurance.

There are many arguments against the use of helmets. Some claim that they reduce peripheral vision. Others say they lead to an increase in neck injuries. Most research suggests these claims are smoke screens for people that dislike regulation of any kind. The truth is that, if worn properly, a helmet can save your life.


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