How Motorcycle Helmets Reduce & Prevent Spinal Cord Injuries

May 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Motorcyle Helmet Laws

Here is a post my friend, Matt Dolman, Esq., shared with me. He is a Florida motorcycle attorney >> Click Here. and I asked him to share this with you. He says that motorcycle helmets, known to heavily reduce brain injuries and casualties from collisions, have also shown the ability to reduce the risk of spinal injuries, according to a recent study concluded by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Analyzing data obtained from just over 40,000 accidents between 2002 and 2006, researchers point out that there was a 22% reduction of cervical spine injury for riders wearing helmets, compared to those who lacked cranial protection.

Results from the study contradict anti-helmet lobbyists who believe that the heaviness of the helmet actually increases the risk of spinal injury. In a press release, John Hopkins assistant professor of surgery leader Adil H. Haider M.D. stated that, “Using this new evidence, legislators should revisit the need for mandatory helmet laws. There is no doubt that helmets save lives and reduce head injury, and now we know they are also associated with a decreased risk of cervical spine injury.” As an injury law attorney, I see first hand the trauma suffered by bikers who fail to wear a safety helmet. Motorcyclists are already predisposed to a much higher risk of serious injury as a result of not having 2000+ pounds of steel surrounding them as you will see in an automobile. By not wearing a safety helmet the likelihood of suffering a serious injury as a result of a motorcycle accident is significantly increased.

Haider noted the new data discredits a 1986 study conducted by Jonathan P. Goldstein, an economics professor at Bowdoin College, which claimed that the weight of a helmet causes severe torque on the neck area that is detrimental to the spinal cord. This study has been refuted with clear evidence that the helmet alone significantly reduced the occurrence of a serious injury to the spine. Although substantial evidence illustrates that helmets reduce injury and mortality, several states have repealed mandatory helmet laws for the past 15 years due to lobbying motorcyclists’. As of today, only twenty (20) states require mandatory helmet use for motorists. The remaining states, including Florida, either lack a law on helmet usage, or only require helmets for riders under a certain age, typically 18 or 21. Reconsideration of the universal helmet law should be acknowledged in these states.

Motorcycle use has steadily increased over the past ten (10) years. Since 1997, motorcycle injuries have risen by approximately 5,000 per year and fatalities have sadly doubled. Fortunately, the design of helmets has improved with advancements in technology. Haider states that, “they are now significantly lighter, sturdier, and more protective.” Sadly, the rate of motorcycle injuries has increased over the past decade. This can be attributable to a myriad of factors including distracted drivers who are texting and driving, bikers who fail to adhere to safety warnings regarding the use of helmets, and the operators of automobiles who fail to exercise due caution and look out for motorcycles. Even if your state does not enforce it, the injury law attorneys at the Dolman Law Group highly suggests that motorcyclists follow the necessary precautions to remain safe on the road, which includes wearing DOT approved head protection.

Written by Doos