Millions of people all over the United States choose motorcycles over automobiles for the thrill, speed, and high performance capabilities. On the other hand, motorcycles are not at all the safest way of transportation. Motorcycles do not provide the passenger with the outer protection that cars provide, therefore, when one crashes, the results are usually much more serious. Injuries to the head are responsible for 76% of fatalities when dealing with motorcycle crashes many of which could have been prevented had the rider been wearing a helmet. For this reason, many states have adopted the motorcycle helmet law. The law states that every passengers must wear a helmet at all times when riding on a motorcycle.
This law has created a great deal of controversy. One side supports the law, believing that it protects motorcyclists from danger and saves the economy a great deal of money. The other side argues that the law is unconstitutional and it violates our right to freedom. However, statistics show overwhelming support in favor of the motorcycle helmet law.
Although wearing helmets cannot prevent motorcycle crashes, they can greatly reduce the number of deaths caused by head injury as well as lowering taxes, insurance rates, and health care costs. Therefore, the helmet law should be put into effect in every state across the United States. Helmets drastically reduce the tremendous number of deaths caused by head injuries as well as reducing the severity of any nonfatal injuries to the head. Statistics gathered by the Safety Nationwide Insurance Enterprises show that an un helmeted rider is 40% more likely to suffer fatal head injuries, compared with a helmeted rider. Also, with the helmet law in effect, close to 100% of motorcyclists wear a helmet. Without the law, only 50% of motorcyclists wear helmets.
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Also, death rates are twice as high in states without the law. One study estimated that because 25 states ratified the law, over 3, 300 lives were saved last year alone. Since helmets reduce the risk of injury and death, they will also, in tern, help the economy. The Vice President of Safety Nationwide Insurance Enterprises, Tim Hoyt, states, “We may not be able to eliminate all the risk from motorcycling, but helmet laws greatly reduce the most expensive injuries – head injuries. Reducing these costs is good for the consumer and it Is good for business, too.” Health care costs and insurance rates are lowered because it is not as expensive to treat smaller-scale injuries. The government ends up paying a large portion of people’s medical bills because of different types of public assistance programs.
Hence, when health care costs are lower, the government does not need as much of our money to pay for those programs and taxes are reduced. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimated that over $4 million dollars were saved last year as a direct result of the motorcycle helmet law. For these reasons the motorcycle helmet law should indisputably be enforced in every state. If the motorcycle helmet law helps the economy and more importantly saves lives, why doesn’t the entire country enforce the law? The answer is, many people feel that the helmet law is a violation of the rights granted to Americans in the Constitution. Most people in opposition to this law do not necessarily believe that it is a wise choice to ride a motorcycle without a helmet and they do recognize the positive impinge the helmet law has created.
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However, they do not think that the government has the right to tell people that it is mandatory to wear a helmet. One man argues, “If we let the government dictate things like how we should ride a motorcycle, we will slowly develop characteristics of a communist government. Isn’t communism what we fought against for so many years?” Because of these strong points of view, a number of states do not endorse the motorcycle helmet law. Some people believe that the motorcycle helmet law violates our freedom as Americans, but the law is actually used to protect us from harm and maintain order. There are limitations on almost everything we do, because a society without some type of laws or rules would be complete chaos. Just as there are speed limits, drinking restrictions, and seatbelt laws to protect us while in an automobile, there needs to be some type of law to protect us while riding on a motorcycle (especially since motorcycles are more dangerous in the first place).
Therefore, in response to the opposing argument, the helmet law is not imposing on our Constitutional rights, but merely the government’s way of saving money for itself and consumers and protecting riders. The motorcycle helmet law was designed to lower taxes, insurance rates, and health care costs and more importantly to save the lives of our loved ones. Statistics have proved just that. There is not one study that disproves the positive effect the motorcycle helmet law has created thus far.
Helmets will not stop a motorcyclist from getting into an accident, but with a helmet, the rider will most likely be able to survive the crash. The extra second it takes to put on a helmet could be the second that saves someone’s life. Why not make it the law?