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How much do helmets help in motorcycle crashes?

There are guidelines set for people who do not want to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle in Florida. The state will allow you to ride without a helmet if you are old enough and have sufficient insurance coverage.

People on both sides of the helmet debate have their reasons for wearing a helmet or not. You may wonder what happens to the helmet in a crash and how much it can actually help to minimize injuries in an accident.

This is what you should consider about the protection a helmet offers before you decide to ride without one.

Prepared riders are safer riders

Some motorcyclists claim that wearing a helmet causes those riders to take more risks and be less careful because the helmet protects their head.

There is no evidence that riders wearing helmets are any more or less reckless than other riders. Typically, though, riders who are dressed for safety tend to practice safer riding habits.

Uninterrupted hearing and vision

It would seem that putting something on and around your head while riding would inhibit the ability to see and hear what goes on around you.

All motorcycle helmets that are compliant with the Department of Transportation (DOT) standards offer riders at least 210-degrees of peripheral vision. Normal peripheral vision is about 180 degrees, so compliant helmets do not restrict what you would otherwise see without such a helmet.

High-speed protection

When the Department of Transportation tests helmets they drop them from a height of 6 feet, resulting in a 13-mph impact. Some riders have taken this to mean that helmets do not work in crashes over 13-mph.

The reason for this type of testing is to measure the helmet’s durability in an average fall. The speed of the motorcycle is irrelevant.

Helmets reduce a rider’s risk of head injury by 69 percent and death by 42 percent. Motorcycle helmets serve as a reminder to riders and drivers alike to be cautious while on the road, and often provide motorcycle riders a degree of protection in crashes.


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