When motorcycle riders experience an accident on the road, they face significantly more risk of injury than standard vehicle occupants. Motorcycles do not provide the same level of enclosed protection, meaning that riders are highly susceptible to crush damage or even brain injuries from a number of sources.
The obvious solution for reducing the risk of a traumatic brain injury while riding a motorcycle is to wear a DOT-approved helmet. This raises the question, however, of just how effective motorcycle helmets actually are.
Do motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury?
The Centers for Disease Control reports that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%. To exemplify this point, the CDC also reports that helmets are responsible for saving an estimated 1,872 lives in 2017. Furthermore, the NHTSA estimates that helmets were capable of saving an additional 749 lives in 2017.
Does Minnesota law require motorcycle riders to wear helmets?
Motorcycle operators and passengers under the age of 18 must wear a DOT-approved helmet as per Minnesota law. Additionally, all operators driving a motorcycle under a learner’s permit must wear a helmet. Though helmet standards do not necessarily keep pace with the medical understanding of traumatic brain injuries, the presence of helmets has the potential to save lives and riders should acknowledge this regardless of legal requirements.
Motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic and life-altering, both physically and financially. Riders who experience an accident due to the negligence of other motorists and sustain a TBI as a result have the right to pursue compensation through legal action.