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Should Connecticut motorcyclists be forced to wear helmets?


Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jul 10, 2013 in Motorcycle Accidents

One of the biggest debates about motorcycle safety in Connecticut is whether or not riders should be required to wear helmets. Since 1989, riders have legally been given the option to wear a helmet or not in this state. There are about 30 other states that have partial helmet laws in place and many have been confronted with challenges to the laws.

There are vocal advocates on each side of the argument. On one hand, wearing a helmet can save a person's life in an accident, so riders should not only be required to wear a helmet, they should want to. On the other hand, it is argued that the decision to wear a helmet should be left up to the individual rider and it is his or her right to choose whether a helmet should be worn or not. No matter what side of the argument a person is on, however, it is crucial to remember that motorcycle accidents in Connecticut can happen whether a rider is wearing a helmet or not.

Since the beginning of June, at least three people have died in a motorcycle accident in this state, and many more people have been seriously injured. Several of these accidents likely involved a negligent or reckless motorist who failed to share the road safely with a motorcyclist. This is a serious and ongoing concern across the country, as people in cars are causing catastrophic accidents involving a motorcyclist they ignored or failed to see. 

People riding on motorcycles are very vulnerable on the road. They have little structural protection around them and they are much smaller than other motor vehicles. This combination can put them in a very dangerous position when they are on the road with a negligent, distracted or reckless driver. 

The helmet-use debate is certainly an important discussion to have, as it can have a serious impact on how and if a victim is able to recover from a motorcycle accident. But serious injuries such as brain trauma, spinal cord damage and broken bones are often suffered in these accidents whether a helmet is worn or not, which is why preventing these crashes in the first place should be a top priority.

Source: Greenwich Time, "Serious accidents turn attention to state helmet laws," Justin Pottle, July 9, 2013