U.S. News & World Report says Connecticut, which removed helmet safety laws in 1976, is considering reinstating the law requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets.
Connecticut is catching on to something we’ve known about in Maryland for years – motorcycle helmets save lives. What has been the impact on the volume of accidents in our state since these laws were passed?
Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Maryland
Maryland Code, Section 21-1306 of the Transportation Article, requires all motorcyclists wear a helmet that conforms to the standards set out by the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). If the motorcycle doesn’t have a windshield, eye protection is also required. The MBA website suggests there are four important parts to your Department of Transportation (DOT)-certified helmet:
Outside shell – Made of polycarbonate, Kevlar, carbon fiber, thermoplastic, fiberglass – or a combination of these materials. The outside shell was created to resist penetration by a foreign object and helps disperse any blows to the head that come during a crash.
Inside liner – Helps with shock absorption due to the one-inch think expanding polystyrene that makes up the inside of a DOT-approved helmet.
Inside comfort liner – helps make the helmet a better and more comfortable fit for riders. These liners are usually removable for machine washing and were designed to help the helmet fit the head securely.
Chinstrap – is the retention system that keeps the helmet on our head. Maryland law requires that the chinstrap is secured with the motorcycle is in motion.
Together, these components make up today’s modern DOT-certified helmets. Maryland has a universal motorcycle helmet law. That means that no matter your age, these helmets are required anytime you cross the Maryland state border.
Why Helmet Laws Keep You Safer
The most effective way to prevent serious brain injury to your head is to wear a helmet.
Here are the facts:
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says wearing a helmet reduces the risk of brain and head injury by 85%.
The World Health Organization says wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of severe injury by more than 70% and the risk of death by more than 40%.
The Insurance Information Institute reports nearly 5,000 people die annually from motorcycle crashes.
As personal injury attorneys in Baltimore, we’ve seen our fair share of cases involving motorcycle accidents. That’s why we fully support the statute requiring helmet usage. In Maryland, the concept of “contributory negligence” applies. This means if you are the victim of an accident, and your actions contributed in any way toward your injury, you can be barred from receiving compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. However, it’s more complicated than that as the failure to wear a helmet cannot be used as evidence of negligence or contributory negligence.
What does all this mean? The law is a complicated profession. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, we recommend contacting the top personal injury lawyers in Baltimore at Ingerman & Horwitz. We believe in your rights and want to help you seek justices. Contact us – we can help.