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Would Federal Helmet Laws Prevent Florida Motorcycle Accidents?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is expected to make a push for federal legislation that would require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Accoording to the NTSB, there has been an increase in fatal motorcycle accidents since the later half of the 1990s, and in many cases these deaths could have been prevented with the use of helmets. In 2009 alone, motorcycle accidents killed 4,400 people across the country, according to the group.

While a federal motorcycle helmet law might help to prevent Florida fatalities – not to mention fatalities in other states – not everyone is happy about the suggested legislation. Many motorcycle groups and motorcycle enthusiasts claim that the decision to wear a helmet is a personal one and resist the influence of government on their riding habits.

Supporters of the proposed legislation note that a stricter federal helmet law would help save lives. Currently, in many Florida motorcycle accidents, fatalities are caused by Florida brain injuries. When a motorcyclist is in a crash, he or she is not protected by a car, the way that a passenger in a car is. Instead, the motorcyclist is often thrown from the motorcycle and upon landing the motorcyclist’s head often impacts with pavement or another surface, causing serious brain damage.

The NTSB says that personal preference makes little sense in the case of helmets, which could help save lives. According to the NTSB, motorcycles account for 13% of fatalities on highways, even though they represent only 3% of vehicles. Furthermore, in 2006 the NTSB joined in a motorcycle forum consisting on government agencies, riders, motorcycle companies, and researchers. The conclusion of that forum was to that mandatory helmet laws were necessary. Only North Carolina amended its laws to require all motorcyclists to wear helmets.

Groups such as the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association claim that there is no scientific, conclusive evidence that helmets save lives. Lobby groups such as the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association have written tens of thousands of letters to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, asking that helmet use not be made mandatory. According to the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association, education is needed more than helmets, as in 30% of motorcycle accidents, riders do not have motorcycle operator licenses, meaning that they may lack the training to operate a motorcycle safely.


If you need a qualified Florida motorcycle accident attorney, contact the compassionate and experienced legal team at the Flaxman Law Group. The Flaxman Law Group has offices in Miami, Hollywood, and Homestead and serves the entire South Florida community. Call today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

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