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When you’re driving along I-64 or I-264 in Virginia (VA) you may see a motorcyclist ride by you like a speeding bullet. As an injury lawyer who’s represented clients who’ve been severely injured in motorcycle and automobile accidents for over 20 years, I’m concerned about the safety of our mobile citizenry.

What’s even more troubling is seeing someone on a motorcycle without a helmet. I understand the allure of hopping on a motorbike and enjoying a ride on a nice day, but take proper safety measures – namely, wear a helmet.

In 2006, over 4800 motorcyclists were killed in the United States and 65 percent were not wearing helmets, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). To put that number into perspective, it’s a 127 percent increase from the number of motorcyclists killed in 1997.

When people fail to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, not only are they increasing their chances of incurring a traumatic brain injury or other severe injury, they’re also breaking the law.

"Every person operating a motorcycle shall wear a face shield, safety glasses or goggles, or have his motorcycle equipped with safety glass or a windshield at all times while operating the vehicle, and operators and any passengers thereon shall wear protective helmets. . .” according to Section 46.2-910. Motorcyclist to wear helmets, etc.; certain sales prohibited; penalty states:

Here’s a video describing what happens in a motorcycle accident and how it can lead to a traumatic brain injury…

They may not be the most stylish safety device, but a helmet reduces the risk of death by 29 percent. In addition, helmets are 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries to motorcyclists, according to NHTSA.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car,truck,railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.



  1. Gravatar for Steve Majors
    Steve Majors

    Helmet law proponents treat people like livestock. It's all about managing the herd.

    Freedom is bad for domesticated animals. Stay in your pen and hold still for the milking machine.

  2. Gravatar for ga

    Hogwash! Please point me to one study which was not funded by NHTSA, IIHS, or AHAAS which clearly and unequivocally can demonstrate that the damage to neck and spine caused by the simple physics of wearing a 3 pound lump of plastic on the head when coming to a sudden stop from 70 mph is mitigated by the prevention of traumatic brain injury.

    The rider is simply going to die from a different cause.

    In fact, quite a few university studies (i.e., not on the NHTSA dole) have concluded just the oppposite - that there is no evidence that helmets make a difference in motorcycle accidents.

    No one has adequately explained why motorcycle fatalities in "helmet-choice" states are LESS than motorcycle fatalities in "mandatory-helmet-law" states.

    And please don't point to NHTSA data. One has to question why motorcycle vehicle miles traveled is zero for South Dakota - host to the world's largest motorcycle rally.

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