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Motorcyclist Killed in Fatal Accident during Mandatory Helmet Law Protest

July 27, 2011

Despite the proven record of motorcycle helmets in reducing catastrophic head injuries and fatalities, many still oppose state laws that mandate use of motorcycle helmets. Those who oppose mandatory helmet law usually have objections based on individual liberty.

Unfortunately, individual liberty sometimes comes at a high cost. A motorcycle enthusiast in New York who was involved in a motorcycle ride to protest mandatory helmet laws was killed when he crashed and suffered fatal head injuries.

The debate over mandatory motorcycle helmet laws typically pits public safety advocates against those who view the laws as a paternalistic intrusion on their personal choice. All motorcycle riders are required by state law to wear motorcycle helmets in 20 states including Georgia, and 27 additional states make helmets mandatory based on the age of the rider.

There is little dispute that motorcycle accidents typically result in far more serious injuries and a higher likelihood of wrongful death than those involving passenger vehicles. The accident fatality rate for motorcycle riders is 550 percent greater than for passenger car occupants per registered vehicle based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Based on other data from the NHTSA, motorcycle accidents account for approximately 14 percent of all fatalities although they constitute a mere 3 percent of all registered vehicles nationally.

While there are a fair number of motorcycle enthusiasts that oppose mandatory helmet laws, there is a fairly substantial body of evidence that helmets do save lives and reduce catastrophic head injuries during motorcycle crashes. The NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmets save almost 2,000 lives per year and predict that if all motorcycle riders wore helmets in excess of another 800 motorcycle accident fatalities per year would be prevented. These numbers are hardly surprising when one considers that over 40 percent of all riders killed in motorcycle accidents are not wearing a helmet.

Regardless of which side of the debate one comes down on, it is also hard to argue that the cost of not wearing a motorcycle helmet is substantial. NHTSA data suggests that helmet use saves about $3 billion in costs per year and that universal use would result in another $1.2 billion in savings.

Those who oppose mandatory helmet laws are critical of the data produced by the NHTSA because the organization advocates mandatory universal use of motorcycle helmets. Critics of mandatory helmet laws argue that there are fewer motorcycle riders since the passage of mandatory helmet laws but that there has not been a substantial decline in motorcycle accident fatalities. Those who oppose mandatory helmet laws also claim that there is no public health issue because the motorcycle accident victim must pay their own health care costs. However, this does not account for the drain on public health resources associated with anyone who receives any form of publicly subsidized health care.

At Montlick and Associates, we believe in public safety and preventing avoidable tragedies. Sadly, we see many people who suffer catastrophic life-changing injuries and wrongful death in fatal motorcycle accidents in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. While we fight hard to protect the rights of those involved in Georgia motorcycle accidents in Atlanta and throughout the state, and to obtaining compensation for injuries or the loss of a loved one, we would prefer that fatal Georgia motorcycle accidents be avoided entirely. If you or your loved one has suffered catastrophic injuries or wrongful death in a Georgia motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss.

Our Georgia motorcycle accident injury attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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