States with helmet laws have far fewer motorcycle-related deaths; Kentucky doesn’t require bikers to wear protective headgear

Petersburg (Tex.) Volunteer Fire Dept. photo

“Fewer motorcyclists die in states that require helmets, and
the costs to society are lower too,” reports Mike Stobbe for The Associated
. About five times as many no-helmet biker deaths occur in states with
less restrictive laws.

Kentucky once had a helmet law for motorcyclists, but repealed it several years ago. Nationwide, 20 states had universal motorcycle helmet laws in 2010, but Michigan has since reversed course and allowed helmets to be optional for riders over 21.

The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and
, looked at 14,283 motorcycle-related deaths from 2008 to 2010. Of
those, 6,027 bikers did not wear a helmet. “Only about 12 percent of those
deaths occurred in the 20 states that required everyone on motorbikes to wear
helmets,” Stobbe reports.
The study also found that helmet use saved $3 billion in U.S. medical expenses. Another $1.4 billion could have been saved if
all states had helmet laws, the CDC concluded. Motorcycles account for about 3 percent of vehicles on the
road, but 14 percent of deaths caused by traffic accidents. (Read more)
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