Noble McIntyre on July 16, 2013
Sadly, it happens every summer. Motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in fatalities than are other motor vehicle accidents, a fact of which we are somberly reminded this week. A 64-year-old man and 52-year-old woman, both of Broken Arrow, were killed in a motorcycle collision with an SUV just outside Coweta this weekend. The SUV lost control and collided with the motorcycle, and both the rider and his passenger died. According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, neither of the motorcyclists was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Could these deaths have been prevented? It’s possible; the statistics regarding helmet use for motorcyclists are clear. Motorcycle helmets reduce the likelihood of a fatality in a crash by 37 percent and the likelihood of brain damage by 67 percent. Further, a motorcyclist with no helmet is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury than a rider wearing one, but only 15 percent more likely to suffer a nonfatal injury.
Oklahoma has a partial helmet law, which means that helmets are required based on the rider’s age, training and insurance. However, if you’re crossing state lines on your bike, you need to be aware of the laws in whichever state you’re traveling. Of course, the best practice, regardless of the laws of the state you’re in, is to wear a helmet at all times when riding a motorcycle. Choose a helmet that has a DOT label indicating that it meets federal safety standards, and ensure that it fits properly.
In addition to wearing a helmet, there are precautions you can take to make your motorcycling experience a safe one:
The NHTSA found that motorcycle helmet use increased from 48 percent in 2005 to 67 percent in 2009, but it’s still not enough. Helmets saved the lives of 1,829 motorcyclists in 2008, and they do not interfere with the rider’s vision or hearing. So… no excuses – have a helmet before you ride!
Finally, statistics show there is a higher percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes than there are intoxicated drivers of other kinds of vehicles. It should go without saying that if you are going to operate any motor vehicle, motorcycle or otherwise, you should be sober and alert.