Archive for the ‘Motorcycle accidents’ Category

Do Motorcycle Helmets Cause Accidents & Increase the Risk of Neck Injuries in Missouri?

Friday, June 7th, 2013

There are many motorcycle enthusiasts who advocate freedom of choice when it comes to the decision to wear a motorcycle helmet while riding in Missouri.  Although there can be considerable debate about whether the safety benefits of motorcycle helmets should trump a motorcyclist’s personal choice, sometimes this debate gets distorted with urban myths that obscure the legitimate issues while focusing on positions that are not supported by factual evidence.

One such urban legend is that motorcycles can increase the likelihood of car accidents by obscuring lateral vision and hearing and that the weight of a motorcycle helmet increases the risk of spinal and neck injuries.  While we respect the right of those who oppose Missouri’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law to disagree, this particular argument is based on misinformation that can lead new riders to make a regrettable decision to ride without protective headgear.

While urban myths about the safety drawbacks of motorcycle helmets are supported by a scientific study conducted long ago, this study has since been thoroughly debunked.  The study was conducted by J.P. Goldstein and concluded that motorcycle helmet use could contribute to neck injuries because the weight of the helmet added to head mass during a collision.  However, more than a dozen subsequent studies have reached a contrary conclusion.

The claim that motorcycle helmets increase the risk of a motorcycle accident by decreasing visibility also has been shown to be without merit through scientific studies.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study to determine the degree to which helmet use caused collisions by obstructing a motorcyclist’s peripheral vision or hearing.  The NHTSA research found that motorcycle helmets did not significantly affect a rider’s ability to hear a vehicle’s turn signals or detect that a vehicle in an adjacent lane was making a lane change.  The authors of the study found that the sound of a motorcycle engine was so loud that any noise the riders could hear over the sound of the engine they could hear with or without a helmet.  The study also found that motorcyclists merely turn their heads slightly more to compensate when wearing a helmet so they do not suffer any significant reduction in peripheral vision.

Because we see the tragic consequences when a motorcyclist falls victim to a drunken, distracted or otherwise negligent driver, we urge riders to wear a helmet and obey traffic safety law.  If you or someone you love is injured or a family member dies in a Missouri motorcycle accident, we urge you to contact us if you have questions.  Our experienced Missouri DUI car accident injury attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, LLP work diligently to obtain financial compensation for our clients’ injuries so contact us toll free at (877) 535-1163 to see how we can help!

Does Missouri’s Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law Really Make a Difference?

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Collisions involving all forms of motor vehicles can result in fatal injuries of vehicle occupants, but motorcycle accidents caused by negligent drivers pose a much more significant risk of causing wrongful death.  Motorcycles offer limited handling because they are not as stable and provide no protection to motorcycle enthusiasts when collisions occur.  When other types of vehicles like cars, trucks and SUVs are involved in motor vehicle crashes, vehicle ejections constitute one of the most dangerous risks to vehicle occupants because the injury victim has no protection from impact.  When a motorcycle crash occurs on Missouri roadways, every crash essentially involves a vehicle ejection.

The statistical data regarding the fatality rate for motorcycle operators and passengers in collisions is sobering.  While the number of deaths of those involved in collisions involving passenger vehicles has declined in recent years, the motorcycle accident fatality rate continues to climb.  During a recent seven year period, the fatality rate for those involved in motorcycle crashes increased an alarming 55 percent according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The most prudent motorcyclist may be victimized by negligent drivers because there are limited evasive actions that may be safely employed by a rider to avoid a deadly motorcycle accident.  Given the inherent limitations of motorcycle enthusiasts to react to driving errors made by motorists in passenger vehicles, the value of a motorcycle helmet that meets Department of Transportation (DOT) minimum standards can hardly be overstated.  Many Missouri motorcyclists object to the state helmet law that requires universal use by all riders, but it is well-established that motorcycle helmet use is the single most important factor in preventing a wrongful death in motorcycle accidents.

The empirical evidence supporting the benefit of universal helmet laws is persuasive.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study and found that only 12 percent of those who died in motorcycle accidents were not wearing helmets in universal helmet law jurisdictions.  By way of contrast, 64 percent of fatal accidents involved riders without helmets in jurisdictions where only certain riders were required to wear helmets.  Almost 80 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities involved riders without helmets in states with no motorcycle helmet law.  Further, the NHTSA indicates that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of a motorcycle accident fatality by 37 percent.

There have been consistent efforts to overturn the universal helmet law in Missouri, including one as recent as mid-2012.  Although these efforts may eventually be successful, we urge riders to seriously consider the danger posed by drunk, distracted and otherwise negligent drivers.  If your loved one dies in a Missouri motorcycle accident, our experienced wrongful death attorneys are committed to representing the interest of those who have been silenced by the negligence of others.  We understand the hardships that surviving family member endure and seek the financial compensation they need following the loss of a family breadwinner.  We offer a free initial consultation so we urge you to call us today to discuss your case.