Motorcycle Helmet Law Repeals Lead To Higher Medical Costs Overall
Over the past several years, state legislatures all over the United States have set out to repeal motorcycle helmet laws in the name of “freedom of choice.” However, the “freedom of choice” enjoyed by motorcyclists in Florida may be costing all Floridians more money when those bikers are involved in Florida motorcycle accidents.
The Insurance Journal website ran in interesting piece that reviewed a study recently conducted in Michigan on the impact of that state’s recent repeal of mandatory helmet laws. Under Michigan law as it exists today, only riders under 21 years of age much wear a helmet. According to a study completed by the Highway Loss Data Institute, the average medical claim associated with a Michigan motorcycle accident has risen approximately 22 percent since the helmet law was killed.
The chief research officer of the study attributes one aspect of the increase to an increase in brain injuries reported in motorcyclists who have been involved in crashes without helmets. According to the piece, there is also research showing an increase in fatalities or motorcycle accident deaths in those states who do not require helmets for all bikers. Of course, many of the folks injured in these accident have no insurance, so much of their medical care is paid by the rest of us in terms of Medicaid, or simply higher medical bills overall.
Motorcycle industry spokesmen are quoted in the story as attributing the increase medical expenses to life becoming more expensive, and a decrease in the number of motorcyclists taking safety courses.
What do you think? As a Florida motorcycle accident attorney, it seems to me that we see more motorcyclists with significant head injuries than we used to. However, in truth most of the motorcyclists we have seen in our office after accidents have usually been horribly injured by any measure, whether in a helmet or not, and are lucky to be alive.
Judging by the tenor of today’s Florida Legislature, I would be surprised if helmets are ever again required in my lifetime, although perhaps the increased carnage on the roadways from motorcycle accidents will change someone’s mind someday. Until then, it looks like we should all be prepared to open our wallets and dig a little bit deeper.
If you have any questions following an Orlando motorcycle accident, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901.