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Wear a helmet people!

One thing that I notice about motorcycle riders in Indiana is that they rarely wear helmets. I find it highly disturbing in a state with so many connecting roads, highways and interstates and with speed limits ranging from 15-70 mph (24-112 km/h) people do not seem to be concerned about getting injured in an accident. By my conservative estimates, less than 1 out of every 10 motorcyclists that I see on the roads are not wearing helmets. The main reasons for motorcycle fatalities include alcohol use, speeding, driver inexperience and not wearing a helmet.

Apparently helmet laws in the US are not universal. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are 13 states that do not have any state or local helmet laws. Indiana is one of these included states. Motorcyclists are not required to wear a helmet unless they are under the age of 18 and have an instructional permit.

Helmet use is the single most important factor in people surviving in motorcycle crashes. They reduce the risk of head, brain and facial injury among motorcyclists of all ages and crash severities. Unhelmeted motorists are 40 percent more likely to die from a head injury, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  (From the American College of Emergency Physicians)

Recently, a police officer in Indianapolis has been accused of crashing into three motorcyclists stopped at an intersection, killing a motorcyclist while allegedly driving intoxicated.  (There is suspicion of an internal coverup as police investigating the incident of one of their own claim that they saw no signs that the accused officer was intoxicated). Given the number of people who ride without a helmet, I can’t help wondering if the motorcyclist who was struck was wearing a helmet or not. This is a tragic accident and there is no excuse for what happened, but perhaps, he would still be alive today if he was wearing a helmet.

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