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Helmets help save lives during motorbike accidents

Many New Mexico residents like to hit the highways on their motorcycles and often with their favorite passengers behind them. Unfortunately, most motorcycle accidents have tragic results. The rider and passenger may suffer catastrophic injuries, or if the rider is not wearing protective gear, sometimes an impact may cause death.

In the past few years, the number of motorcyclists on the roads has increased, resulting in an increase in the number of motorcycle accidents. In 2012, almost 5000 motorcyclists were killed in accidents, which accounted for 15 percent of total highway fatalities. These statistics most strongly recommend helmet use by motorcyclists, as well as passengers. Although wearing a helmet will not help prevent an accident, it will help in minimizing head injuries should a crash occur.

In the United States, 19 states make it mandatory for every rider to wear a helmet, while three states have no laws regarding usage of helmets. In 19 states, including New Mexico, riders 17 or younger are required to wear helmets and in eight other states, riders 20 or younger must wear helmets. Tickets are issued to people who do not follow the law.

Although New Mexico laws do not make it mandatory for all riders to wear helmets, ensuring safety of the rider and passenger is of paramount importance. Statistics show that during motorcycle accidents, helmets are almost 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries and 37 percent effective in preventing deaths. Injuries and fatalities due to motorcycle crashes have decreased in states with mandatory helmet laws. As accidents can occur due to various reasons, including a negligent driver who failed to see a motorcyclist, ensuring personal safety is advisable.

Source: ConsumerReports.org, "State-by-state guide to motorcycle helmet laws," July 4, 2014

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