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Continued Debate Over the use of Safety Helmets

As a Tampa personal injury attorney, I have seen my fair share of head injuries suffered by motorcycle riders who refused to wear a safety helmet. Over the past few months the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA’s blog has reiterated the importance of wearing helmets to prevent or at least mitigate traumatic brain injuries. However, when a conclusion is poorly drawn, we have to make note of it.

There are a number of organizations, including BikersRights.org that argue helmets do not prevent fatalities. In fact, the group goes so far as to insinuate that helmets contribute to neck injuries. Their claims that information on helmet use is overstated are validated by articles like one that appeared on SFgate.com’s website yesterday.

SFGate.com reported that Alaska’s Division of Public Health released a study of motorcycle injuries from 2001 to 2010 this week that emphasized the issues surrounding brain injuries and motorcycle riding. The data recorded 745 hospital stays for people on motorcycles. The study did not include motorcycle victims who dies at the scene or in transit to the hospital.

Like Florida, Alaska allows drivers over a set age to ride without helmets. The study showed that 46 percent of injuries from motorcycle accidents were simple loss of control accidents. Deborah Hull-Jilly an Epidemiologist for Alaska’s division of public health, explained that in those types of crashes, properly fitted helmets and protective clothing prevent would prevent a majority of injuries.

SFgate.com took this opportunity to claim that the “study backs value of helmet use.” However, no such finding was actually found by the researchers. They merely noted that in 26 percent of cases motorcycle drivers or passengers suffered a traumatic brain injury. We know that helmets do help prevent or mitigate traumatic brain injuries. However, we don’t know if or how many of these people were wearing helmets.

I feel it’s important to separate the chaff from the grain. Sites like BikersRights.org use these types of stories to validate their claims that there is a vast amount of misinformation being passed to the public about helmet safety. The Dolman Law group encourages everyone to wear the proper protective gear when riding motorcycles. We firmly believe that these materials do save lives. With the variety of confusing information on the internet, it’s important to limit the ammunition of groups who suggest risky behavior, such as not wearing full protective gear at all times.

We see clients’ everyday, who through no fault of their own, are involved in accidents throughout the Tampa, Clearwater and Saint Petersburg area. In some cases they are severely injured, even when wearing protective equipment. Yet, the use of protective headwear and clothing has prevented other avoidable injuries.  For further information, please call the Tampa motorcycle injury attorneys at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation and case evaluation at: (727) 451-6900.