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Fiery Utah motorcycle crash highlights importance of helmet, proper safety gear

The fiery crash seen around the country earlier this month reminds motorcyclists just how important the right safety equipment can be.

Earlier this month Brandon Wright ran his motorcycle into the back of BMW. According to Wright, the vehicle pulled out in front of him and his reaction was laying the bike down. The bike hit the car’s hood, bounced to the ground and Wright slid underneath the car. Moments later, both vehicles burst into flames. The crash took place in Logan, Utah, which is home to Utah State University and about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City.

Several onlookers rushed to the scene and pushed the burning car off of Wright. Once he was freed, a bystander pulled Wright by the ankles and away from the fiery wreckage.

Utah motorcycle laws stipulate that motorcycle riders over 18 are not required to wear a helmet. Wright, who is 21 and a student of the University, was riding sans helmet. He explained to reporters that he hopped on his bike for a quick errand but that he’ll never make that mistake again and plans on buying the best helmet money can buy.

“Most of the time I do wear a helmet,” Wright said. “But I was going maybe three or four miles from my house – a short ride. I wanted to make it quick. I’m definitely a helmet advocate now.”

Surprisingly, he did not sustain a head injury, but suffered a broken femur and tibia, some burns on a foot and road rash on an arm.

“Brandon has a constellation of injuries, and when they’re combined the way they are, it’s going to take awhile to soldier through this,” said Dr. Tom White, who is caring for Wright. “It’s going to be a couple of months before Brandon’s back to near normal.”

Up until mid 1970, all states required motorcyclists to wear helmets. When the federal government no longer tied their funding to helmet laws, many states no longer required protective headgear for motorcyclists. Georgia’s motorcycle helmet law is very clear: everyone who rides on or operates a motorcycle must wear protective headgear that meets the minimum standards outlined by the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

In our state, statistics reveal that about 20 percent of motorcycle accidents result in injuries to your head, neck and brain. These types of injuries are the most serious, and often prove fatal. If you are a motorcyclist or passenger who wears a helmet, your chance of sustaining a life-threatening or permanently debilitating injury is significantly reduced.