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Do you really need to wear a helmet?

When it comes to helmet laws for motorcyclists, the rules will be determined by the state that you live in. This has resulted in many states requiring helmets for all riders, some only mandating them for riders of a certain age and four in which you do not have to wear helmets at all. The state of Washington has issued a universal helmet law and The Neuroscience Institute at the University Hospital has released a study indicating why this is necessary.

After analyzing 224 patients who were brought to the trauma center over a period of 23 months, researchers found that helmet usage played a big part in the patient’s injuries, hospitals stays and costs, and outcome after treatment. Insurance coverage also seemed connected, since 32 percent of motorists without helmets had Medicaid, Medicare or no insurance, while all helmeted riders had insurance.

Concerning the hospital stay, you are more likely to get out of the hospital quickly if you are wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Helmeted riders averaged four to seven days and a cost of over $34,000, depending on the injury, while riders without helmets stayed an average of eight to 11 days and incurred costs of over $48,000. The most expensive patients were riders without helmets who suffered a head injury. This group left the hospital with an average bill of $61,017 while helmeted riders with head injuries only had a $22,359 average cost.

The types of injuries that each group experienced also varied greatly. While spinal cord or column injury rates were similar with only a five percent difference, your risk of a head injury increases dramatically without a helmet. Injuries occurred in only 9 percent of helmeted motorists and 42 percent of riders without helmets. While this information should not be taken as legal advice, it can help to educate motorcyclists about the need to always wear a helmet.