Riding a bike and riding a motorcycle are entirely different experiences. Both types of riders, however, have something in common — the most important step they can take to survive an accident and ride another day is to wear a well-constructed helmet.
For those riding bikes, a helmet can reduce the risk of deadly injury by 50 percent. In fact, less than one-fifth of those who are killed riding a bike are wearing helmets at the time. Riders under 16 years old are required by Florida law to wear a helmet that meets federal safety standards. While adults are not legally required to wear a helmet, doing so can help save their life or avoid traumatic brain injury.
Helmets are equally important for motorcyclists. In fact, the government estimates that 1,630 bikers’ lives nationwide were saved by helmets in 2013 alone. Motorcycle crashes usually happen at a higher speed than bicycle accidents, so riders need a higher degree of protection. Florida only requires a helmet for riders under the age of 21, but any adult wishing to ride without a helmet must carry $10,000 worth of insurance to help ensure that the public doesn’t have to foot the bill in case of injury. For those required to wear a helmet, the law also specifies that it meet requirements set out by the U.S. Department of Transportation — novelty helmets look great, but they usually offer no real protection to riders.
Whether you are on a bicycle or a motorcycle, it is important to make sure your helmet is in good condition and has not been in an accident before. If you are in a wreck or even just drop your helmet by accident, you should consider replacing it. Most helmets are only designed to protect riders once; after the first impact, they may be less safe. When choosing a new helmet, look for one that meets federal standards. Ensure that it fits your head snugly and does not move around as you ride.
If you or a family member has suffered injuries in a bike or motorcycle crash, speak to the experienced Manatee County personal injury attorneys at the firm of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh to learn your rights.