May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Motorcycle Safety Program (GMSP) wants to remind you of the importance of wearing a helmet for every ride. Motorcycle helmets have been shown to decrease the incidence and severity of traumatic brain injury due to motorcycle crashes.
“Statistics and common sense tell us that motorcycle helmets provide the best available protection against severe head injury in the event of a crash,” said Spencer R. Moore, Commissioner, DDS. “The most important thing for a motorcycle rider to know is that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 37 percent.”
Motorcycles are the most dangerous form of motor vehicle transportation. Per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are nearly 30 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than occupants of passenger cars according to a National Highway Safety Administration study (NHTSA).
Motorcycle crash deaths are on the rise. In 2018, there were 153 (Georgia Department of Transportation daily fatality report) motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes in Georgia, an 11-percent increase from the 139 motorcyclist fatalities in 2017 (NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System). Motorcyclist fatalities accounted for 10 percent of the total highway fatalities in 2018 in Georgia.
Simply wearing a helmet is a crucial step one. Step two, maintaining the helmet you wear, is just as important. Some tips to maximize helmet performance:
- Component aging can deteriorate your helmet’s protective qualities, so manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every 3-5 years depending on usage.
- If your helmet has been dropped or suffered any sort of impact, its effectiveness is compromised, and you should replace it immediately.
- Numerous things can affect helmet wear and tear, including exposure to UV rays and excessive heat, cleaning fluids, and even exhaust fumes.
According to NHSTA, 1,859 motorcyclist lives were saved in 2016 because they were wearing helmets. In addition, if all riders had worn helmets, an additional 802 lives would have been saved.