New York's mandatory helmet law is a point of contention between lawmakers and motorcyclists. Lawmakers believe they are preventing serious injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents and saving lives. Bikers, however, believe the legislature is infringing on their right to choose for themselves and is capriciously punishing them.
It seems counterintuitive for people to protest laws designed to protect them, but Americans have never taken kindly to government control over personal decisions. Motorcycle helmet laws are no exception.
Dangers of Not Wearing Helmets
New York's legislature did not arbitrarily decide to mandate motorcycle helmet use. It did so in response to rising death statistics and an increase in the number of reported crashes. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, New York is one of 20 states that require helmets be worn by all riders both drivers and passengers on motorcycles.
In 2009 the New York Department of Motor Vehicles reports that 5,150 accidents occurred involving motorcycles. A total of 146 drivers were killed, not including pedestrians or passengers. It is hard to believe in light of these statistics that these numbers actually represent a drastic reduction in accidents and deaths than were reported when the mandatory helmet use law was enacted in the early 2000's.
As previously mentioned, many bikers disagree with the mandatory helmet law. In a case of unfortunate irony, ABC reports that a man died earlier this year during a protest ride lobbying for repeal of the law. He was thrown from his motorcycle and suffered traumatic brain injuries. Experts believe he would have survived had he been wearing a helmet.
Motorcycle Accident Checklist
The first thing any accident victim should do is seek the appropriate medical attention and contact their family and loved ones. Once able, anyone injured in an accident should contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to discuss potential insurance issues, their potential legal claims and their options moving forward.
All victims deserve to be fairly compensated for their injuries, especially if they affect their ability to work and provide for themselves or their families.