With the current economy being what it is, it’s no surprise that motorcycles have  grown in popularity.  While a motorcycle can be money saver on gas, there are several more important factors to consider before actually buying one.  A motorcycle offers no protection in an accident and is a leading cause of disability and death, especially from head injuries. Survivors of head injuries often suffer from a traumatic brain injury, which can result in permanent loss of cognitive function, which can result in tremendous financial hardship to the victim’s family.  These injuries may decrease a person’s ability to earn a living and may require a lifetime of personal care.  At Guenard and Bozarth we have represented a number of motorcycle accident victims that had injuries that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.

            A motorcycle lacks the crashworthiness and features of an automobile such as airbags and seatbelts.  Motorcycles themselves provide absolutely no head injury protection and as such the rider is responsible for wearing a proper fitting helmet.  When a motorcycle comes to a sudden stop in an accident, ejection is the typical result  is the rider forcibly strikes objects in their path as well as the ground.  The forces caused by the rider’s head stopping instantaneously when striking another object travels directly to the brain, where the shock wave wreaks havoc on the soft matter within.  

            Research by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows the simple act of wearing a motorcycle helmet can reduce the occurrence of a traumatic brain injury by 68%.  Helmets may reduce the risk of death in an accident by up to 29% and may reduce the severity of other injuries such as injuries to eyes, ears and face. Helmets certified by the Federal Department of Transportation reduce injuries in two stages: first, spreading the force of an impact over and across its exterior, which is constructed of a rigid thermoplastic or composite fiberglass shell.  Second, a polystyrene foam liner absorbs any remaining kinetic energy, preventing it from reaching the motorcyclists’ brain, where it can cause damage.

            Orthopedic surgeons believe a significant reduction in fatalities and head injuries could be effectuated through the implementation of laws mandating the use of helmets by all motorcyclists nationwide.  The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons endorses laws mandating the use of helmets by motorcycle drivers and passengers, as well as bicyclists.  The AAOS believe that issues of personal freedom should be seen in the perspective that the public incurs a major portion of the cost for injuries to motorcycle riders. Studies have examined the impact of safety helmets or helmet laws and found that helmet use reduced the fatality rate, the probability and severity of head injuries, the cost of medical treatment, the length of hospital stay, the necessity for special medical treatments and rehabilitation, and the probability of long-term disability.  The government through Medicaid pays a majority of medical costs for individuals who lack health insurance.

            The creation of helmet laws in California so many years ago was seen as a violation of the rights of riders. It can be argued that laws requiring that motorcyclists be licensed to operate the vehicle are a similar invasion, the more important issue is the cost borne by the public when a motorcyclist is injured in an accident.  Society must evaluate the claim of infringement on freedom versus the funding of these costs.

            Even with the best prevention efforts, motorcycle crashes will occur.  During a crash, the most important factor in reducing injury is personal protection for the motorcyclist.  Leather jackets, gloves, trousers, proper footwear, eye protection, and helmets provide additional protection.  Helmets are by far the motorcycle rider’s most important and simplest safety equipment because they protect against injuries to the head and brain.  Whenever we see anyone on a motorcycle wearing shorts, flip flops, a tank top and a helmet we cringe because we have seen the end result of someone being outfitted in this manner.  The results are never good.

            If you or someone you love has been in a Motorcycle accident, even if they were initially told they were at fault, please have them call our office.  We are Guenard and Bozarth and we represent injured people throughout Sacramento and California.  Feel free to call our office 24/7 at 888-809-1075 and you can speak directly to an attorney or you can visit our web site at http://www.gblegal.com