Helmet use protects riders as bikers take to the roads

Warm temperatures and spring weather are on their way and for many motorcycle enthusiasts it cannot come fast enough. Often bikes are on the road as soon weather allows. For other motorists on the road it can come as a surprise to see a motorcycle after months of winter driving.

Motorcycle crashes unfortunately take the lives of many on Oklahoma roads each year. Last year, before the cold temperatures descended from the north, a biker died in a one-vehicle crash. An investigation found that the driver was travelling at an unsafe speed around a curve. He lost control and crashed at 11:00 pm. He was not wearing a helmet.

State helmet laws continue to be lax, but helmet use is proven to save lives

Oklahoma does not require all riders to wear helmets. However, state law does require that all riders under the age of 17 wear a helmet while riding on a motorcycle.

Even though state law does not require helmet use, it is still a good idea for all riders - motor and pedal - to wear a helmet. Motorcycle helmets saved 1,829 lives in 2008 according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Association. Be prepared to get out on the first nice day by having a helmet on hand.

Something to be aware of when looking for motorcycle helmets is that some novelty helmets may not provide adequate protection in an accident. The NHSTA provides guidance for selecting a safe motorcycle helmet:

  • Thick inner layer - the inner lining of a helmet should usually have about one inch of stiff polystyrene foam. Indications of an unsafe helmet are soft foam or no padding at all.
  • Sturdy chin strap - look for a sturdy chin strap secured by solid rivets. Ensure that the strap fits snuggly.
  • Weight - a safe helmet should have some weight to it, approximately three pounds.
  • Design/Style - the German Army style helmet may look tough, but may not meet federal requirements and fail to provide protection when most needed.

Helmets should also be marked with a sticker that indicates the helmet meets or exceeds federal standards.

Defensive driving may not always be enough to avoid a motorcycle accident. Other drivers on the road do not always look for motorcycles. Additional distractions in vehicles - GPS and cellphones - mean delayed reaction times that can easily cause an accident. Protect yourself by wearing a helmet when on the road.

If you are injured in an Oklahoma motorcycle accident, contact a personal injury attorney. There may be various remedies available depending on the details of what occurred. For instances, damages may compensate you for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering.