An ongoing debate surrounds an individual’s choice to wear a motorcycle helmet when taking to the road. Supporters say that the government should not intervene with laws that restrict their freedoms to make decisions about motorcycle safety on their own. However, one individual who had once supported the repeal was involved in a motorcycle accident that caused a traumatic brain injury and he is consequently changing his opinion to oppose the repeal of the mandatory law. Despite the lessons learned, some still insist that helmets should not be mandatory.
The bill would take away the mandatory requirement for individuals 21 years of age and older to wear helmets while operating a motorcycle. The bill would also allow riders who are between the ages of 15 and 21 to be exempt from wearing a helmet if they have successfully passed a safety course and carry the proper documents to prove the course was completed. The law would also require riders to wear specific gear to protect their eyes. Any violation of the law would be a secondary criminal offense.
Supporters of the law agree that the state would lose money in terms of tourists, as most of the neighboring states do not have mandatory helmet requirements and so people who are passing through would not be able to do so easily. These tourists would not have a helmet available, and would most likely not purchase one just to pass through a state into another without a mandatory helmet requirement. The state would also lose money from riders who come from out of town to attend a popular annual motorcycle rally, held in Sturgis, South Dakota.
Between 2001 and 2010, there were 258 registered motorcyclists injured and cared for at one of Nebraska’s biggest trauma centers. Out of 258 individuals, as many as 19 percent of people who wore helmets and 26 percent of riders who did not wear helmets, suffered traumatic brain injuries. Neck fractures were diagnosed in 22 percent of patients who wore helmets and in 25 percent of riders who did not wear a helmet at the time of the injury. In total, riders increased their risk of death 50 percent by not wearing a helmet when on their motorcycles.
The problem is not just that of physical damage to the rider. Family members also suffer emotional damage when a loved one suffers a traumatic brain injury because of a motorcycle accident. Clearly, it has become a choice of tourism revenue versus human lives.
If you or someone you love suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact our office. Our caring, experienced attorneys will provide you with a free consultation of your case. Find out if you might be eligible to receive money for past and future medical expenses, as well as any pain or suffering and lost wages you might incur during your time of recovery.