Last month, Lewis Doty, a 61-year old Montana resident, was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident when he lost control of his motorcycle traveling westbound on Interstate 90 during a heavy rain shower. The tires hydroplaned, he lost control, and collided into the guard rail. He was not wearing a helmet and was killed instantly.
This tragic motorcycle wreck showcases the importance of motorcycle riders to protecting themselves with properly fitting helmets. Twenty states have universal helmet laws, but Idaho is not one of them. According to Idaho law, only people under the age of eighteen are legally required to wear a helmet while driving a motorcycle or riding as a passenger on public roadways. And, helmet use is not required for minors who are on private property.
Certainly people are free to not wear a helmet. I our country people are free to do all kinds of stupid things. The reality is proper fitting helmets do not reduce visibility or impair hearing, but they do reduce the rider’s risk of death by 37% and cut the risk of head injury by 69% if a crash occurs. For those traveling as passengers, helmet use is even more beneficial. Helmets are estimated to have been able to prevent 41% of passenger fatalities.
Thanks to public awareness campaigns and a number of states adopting mandatory helmet laws for all age groups, motorcycle helmet use increased from 48% in 2005 to 67% in 2009. The increase in the number of riders wearing helmets has resulted in nearly 2,000 lives saved each year.
Certainly people are free to not wear a helmet. In our country people are free to do all kinds of stupid things. One common argument is that wearing a helmet should be an individual choice. However, if a rider crashes, he or she is likely to face very high healthcare costs to recover from the injury. And when a rider doesn’t have insurance, his medical expenses are paid by your and my tax dollars. If he or she does have insurance, the added costs the company incurs to cover the care get passed along to all other customers like me in the form of higher premiums. So your “free choice” impacts others pocketbooks.
Protect Your Rights
Wearing a motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of serious injury, but you are still vulnerable to the actions of other drivers. If you are injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. The skilled attorneys at Holzer Edwards are dedicated to representing Idaho residents who have been injured due to the negligence of others. Please call (208) 386-9119 or toll-free at (888) 490-0992 for a free consultation.