Earlier this month, a young biker was tragically killed after sustaining traumatic injuries. He was riding his motorcycle on an Athens street and apparently was struck by a vehicle that was exiting a drive way. The rear of the vehicle collided with the young rider who was a graduate of Peachtree Ridge High School and a student at the University of Georgia. In the early reports, the authorities indicated that it was possible the 22-year old biker’s helmet was not fastened completely since it flew off during the impact of the crash. This tragic loss of life is made all the more tragic if the helmet could have saved the young man’s life.
In Georgia, the numbers of bikers killed while riding are down slightly since 2008. But that is not the case in nearby Tennessee. Authorities in Tennessee have noted that motorcycle crash fatalities are actually rising. Just this fall, three crashes occurred in nearby Chattanooga very close in time to one another. A young woman was critically injured after being ejected from a bike she was riding on as a passenger. Her helmet was apparently not secured, similarly to the recent crash in Athens, Georgia, as it flew off and she ended up in a lane of traffic.
In another recent Tennessee tragedy, a young man’s parents waited for him to meet them for breakfast and he never arrived. The parents drove to their son’s apartment and on the way they saw the motorcycle he had been riding and a tarp on the road. He somehow left the roadway after taking a look behind him while he was riding to see his mom and dad. Another Tennessee rider lost his life when his bike drifted and struck a guardrail earlier this fall. Although earlier this year, there were efforts to change Tennessee’s helmet law’s application — the helmet law is still in effect in that state.
Georgia law requires the use of headgear for riders under Official Code of Georgia section 40-6-315. This provision makes it mandatory for motorcycle riders to wear compliant helmets and either protective eyewear or ride a bike with a windshield. The helmet safety data for 2013 will not be in for a while, but in general we know that across the country helmet use saves lives. It is not only the law, but it is a better choice to wear and fasten that helmet rather than to lose one’s life and have loved ones live on with loss.
And Georgia’s helmet law has long ago been found by the Georgia federal courts to be constitutional under such cases as ABATE of Georgia v. Georgia, 137 F. Supp. 2d 1349 (ND Ga. 2001), affirmed 264 F.3d 1315 (11th Cir. 2001). Organizations such as ABATE advocate safe riding, but also advocate reasonable legislation and motorcycle rider education.
If you have any questions about a motorcycle accident in which you have been injured, please contact me personally at my law firm. I can guide you through the legal process and also provide an evaluation about whether others could be at fault for your injuries.