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Fewer motorcycle helmets equal increased hospital costs

For many, riding a motorcycle is the epitome of freedom. Taking a bike out on the open road, the wind in their hair, is what cycling is all about. And the wind in the hair is important, as they feel helmets impair their ability to safely operate their motorcycles. They have campaigned for years to repeal mandatory helmet laws, as they have done in Texas, and last year they succeeded in Michigan.

Safety advocates have opposed this trend and they now have more support for their argument that helmets save lives and reduce head injuries in motorcycle accidents. In a study by the Highway Loss Data Institute that tracked motorcycle accident injury claims in hospitals, it found that insurance paid an average of $5,410 in the final two years of the helmet law, and $7,257 last year after the repeal.

As motorcycle riding has become more popular, it has become more dangerous, with fatalities in the U.S. increasing 14 of the last 15 years. Some argue newer riders are less experienced, but other point to the repeal of helmet laws.

The Michigan study did not correlate how many of the injured were wearing helmets, but another study found that of riders involved in accidents before the repeal used helmets 98 percent of the time, while last year, only 74 percent were wearing helmets.

A research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety commented, "The cost per injury claim is significantly higher after the law changed than before, which is consistent with other research that shows riding without a helmet leads to more head injuries."

Motorcycle accidents can lead to injuries requiring a lifetime of medical care, if you have been injured contact an attorney to help determine your right to compensation. 

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Study: Helmet law weakened, motorcycle injuries up," Joan Lowy, Associated Press, June 1, 2013

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