As an Anchorage motorcycle accident injury attorney, I see many motorcycle crashes that could have ended with much less physical harm if the driver had simply worn a helmet.
Alaska law requires motorcycle drivers under the age of 18 to wear a helmet, as well as any passenger, regardless of age. I often hear operators over 18 saying they don’t wear a helmet for a variety of reasons—they feel “free” without it, they claim it impairs their vision, or say they can’t hear with a helmet covering their ears.
In an effort to promote motorcycle safety in Anchorage, I recently found a helpful study from the NHTSA that debunks some of these common excuses.
The study assessed fifty motorcyclists of varying ages and riding experiences. The drivers navigated a five and a half mile test route three times—once with a full coverage helmet, once a partial coverage helmet, and once with no helmet.
In terms of the helmets’ effects on vision, the results showed that helmets did not hamper the ability of riders to see traffic or increase the time needed to visually check for nearby traffic. In fact, any negative interference of helmets on the riders’ vision was minor—especially in comparison to the safety benefits helmet use adds in the event of a crash.
In terms of hearing loss caused by helmet use, there was no significant indication that a rider’s ability to hear was hampered by helmets.
In conclusion, the study showed that helmets do not restrict the ability to hear auditory signals or the likelihood of seeing a vehicle in an adjacent lane prior to changing lanes.
With this study in mind, I encourage all Anchorage motorcyclists to practice safe driving habits this summer. This begins with your personal safety—specifically, wearing a helmet. According the NHTSA, riders wearing a helmet have a 29 percent better chance of surviving a crash than riders who are not wearing a helmet.
I’ve seen far too often the gruesome ending of motorcycle crashes, regardless of who was a fault. By simply wearing a helmet, you can increase your likelihood for survival in the event of a wreck—remember, even the safest motorcyclists are subject to the driving practices of others on the road as well.
If you have a question about motorcycle safety in Alaska, helmet laws, or have been injured in an Anchorage motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Anchorage motorcycle accident injury attorney today.