Knowing the risks of failing to wear a helmet, I am baffled by those riders who choose to ride without one. The risks of serious injury are so high in the event of an accident without a helmet. As a motorcycle injury lawyer, I work with riders who have been injured wearing a helmet. And I work with riders who have been injured without wearing a helmet. Those families whose loved one has lost his or her life due to lack of helmet live with their loss knowing it might have been prevented.
Last week, we learned that a veteran police officer in a nearby state lost his life while riding his motorcycle without a helmet. In that state, the helmet law was enacted and then repealed after riders protested it. So what he did was legal. But had that law not been repealed would the office be alive today? Without a helmet, he could not protect himself from the injury he sustained when he crashed into a deer while riding his bike. It was said that he “died of blunt force trauma to the head and trunk.”
The loss of this fine man and his family’s sorrow are difficult to imagine. I have helped families through this sort of inconceivable loss and my heart goes out to this family and their community.
In Georgia, riders are required to wear a helmet. Georgia’s law, found at Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-315 referred to as the Georgia Motorcycle Helmet Law, sets out the requirement for approved headgear when riding on our roadways. Specifically, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315 (a) states that “[no person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear which complies with standards established by the commissioner of public safety.” In addition, a windshield or an approved type of eye-protective device is also required.
Georgia riders can consult with a great resource for what is required in our state. Please consult the Georgia Motorcycle Operator’s Manual. There is no doubt that neck and head injuries are more likely to be serious or fatal. Wearing an approved helmet can lower the risk of these terrible outcomes. In fact you are three times more likely to survive head injury if you are wearing a helmet. Riders should select a helmet that complies with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and state standards. Look for a helmet with the Snell Memorial Foundation label in it, those are recommended for quality.
Bikers sometimes say they like the feeling of riding without a helmet. But consider the feeling that you will never ride again because you are disabled or your family is grieving your death when it might have been avoided. Also consider the fact that helmets do not obstruct your ability to see the road.
The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C., represents motorcycle riders and their families in serious injury and wrongful death cases. Please contact me at any time for a free and private consultation at one of our conveniently-located Atlanta area offices.