Motorcycle riders, groups and medical professionals are still weighing in on the Sunshine State’s policies. Riders who have ridden for years have seen tragic accidents and ridden in all kinds of traffic and weather. Some of those well weathered riders chose to wear a helmet, even though since 2000, it’s been legal in Florida to ride without a helmet, provided the rider:
· Is at least 21
· Holds medical insurance coverage of at least $10,000
Click here to learn more about Florida’s law regarding motorcycle riding without a helmet and what type of insurance you will need to comply with the law: http://www.abateflorida.com/helmet-law-faq.php
This type of freedom doesn’t necessarily add up to higher fatalities. But it does up the risk of serious injury, medical experts say. Florida Today interviewed Florida Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer Kim Montes regarding motorcycle fatalities and how helmets play into the fatalities. According to Officer Montes, “I think a lot of people think that a lot of fatalities are going to be without the helmets, but there are a lot of crashes that are un-survivable because of the nature of the crash. There is no trend one way or another.”
Statewide in 2014, according to FHP, 450 motorcycle drivers or passengers died in wrecks, with 210 of those confirmed to have not been wearing a helmet. In 2013 there were 462 combined fatalities with 216 confirmed to have not been wearing a helmet. Montes finds Florida’s numbers are higher than in many states due to the fact that motorcyclists ride year-round.
According to Rob Spivey, the trauma program manager at a south Florida hospital, more than 70 studies since the year 2000 “support that the use of motorcycle helmets in decreasing the incidence of lethal head injuries, death and non-lethal head injuries related to the use” of helmets for motorcyclists. “Helmets are designed to both absorb impact and extend the time of impact. During a crash, the body and the head are traveling at forward speeds. This created energy is proportionate to speed. The higher the speed equates to more force that is generated,” Spivey said in an email to FLORIDA TODAY.
According to Montes, the Florida Highway Patrol supports the right for motorcyclists to wear helmets. Although FHP support the right of motorcyclists to not wear a helmet, Montes notes that they “encourage people to wear all safety equipment.”
Even Spivey recognizes that in some crashes helmets won’t work, he maintains his stance that helmets do provide more safety. “As with any safety device, the design is limited by ergonomics and functionality,” said Spivey. “There are events in which the energy generated by the crash is so great that no safety device can completely mitigate injury. However, helmets have been proven to reduce injury significantly in both.
The debate as to whether or not motorcyclists should be permitted to ride without helmets continues nationwide. Currently, 19 states have laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Three states (Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire) have no laws mandating that any riders wear helmets.
Florida Today provided tips for motorcyclists looking to buy helmets. They asked a motorcycle dealer what type of helmets are the best. The tips are listed below:
· First, they recommended buying SHOEI helmets, as that’s the brand that produces the highest-quality helmets that offer the most protection. A SHOEI helmet costs at least $400.
· Make sure all helmets are DOT certified, mandatory for all helmets and that they’re also Snell certified, a certification which isn’t mandatory but is strongly recommended.
· Get a helmet that has good visibility with protection from the sun is also important.
· Make sure you try on a helmet before purchasing it to make sure it fits right,.
· Purchasing a metal quick clip over plastic if possible is also considered optimal.
· Finally, they noted that motorcyclists shouldn’t wear a helmet too long. Some say five years is the max.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of a motorcycle accident, contact us at Brannon & Brannon for a free consultation. (850)659-2252 or through our website at brannoncanhelp.com