July 27, 2014
National Motorcycle Safety Equipment Requirement
Everyday as we commute down the road we see motorcyclist drive past us. What is the one thing that we can all agree individuals riding motorcycles have in common? It is not a trick question. The answer is very simple; they all share the commonality of riding a motorcycle. What is in fact is very distinct however, are the choices of attire when operating their motorcycle. Some individuals are brave enough to wear shorts, tank tops, and sandals. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have some of the wiser ones that chose to wear a helmet, gloves, protective jacket, eye protection etc. Why the distinct difference? The fact is that a great percentage of riders refuse to wear the proper protective equipment. Due to an increase in motorcycle riders within the recent years, a national protocol requiring certain equipment, such as a helmet, to be worn when riding a motorcycle should be instituted. There are many contributing factors to motorcycle fatalities, however there can be a culture of change, specially with the proper knowledge on how each piece of safety equipment can help at preventing injury or death
Every year that passes by, notice that more and more motorcycle share the road with our automobile drivers. We might wonder why there has been a shift in choice of transportation. Is this a trend or fad that the population is going through? According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, “National data from 1976 to 2012 suggest that motorcyclist fatalities track motorcycle registrations quite closely and that registrations track inflation-adjusted gasoline prices. If the economy continues to improve and gasoline prices remain high, then motorcycle registrations, travel, and fatalities will continue to rise unless active measures are taken” (Hedlund). Not only do we think there are more motorcycle riders on the road, they have proven this to be true. Motorcycles are generally more fuel-efficient than cars, making them a very good alternative mode of transportation when gas prices stay at a consistent high price. It is basic mathematics; if there are more motorcycles there is more individuals susceptible to accidents. Additionally, they have proven that motorcycles are more apt to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than any other vehicle. Data collected in 2007 proved that per vehicle mile driven, motorcyclist were approximately 37 times more apt to die in a motor vehicle accident and nine times more probable to be injured in an accident. They also researched the ability of a helmet to protect against fatal injuries in motorcycle accidents. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,829 motorcyclists in 2008. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 823 lives could have been saved. (Motorcycles: Traffic Safety Facts - 2008 Data). As motorcycles become more abundant, it is imperative that we reduce the probability of death as much as possible. As proven above, helmet wear can be a life or death-determining factor. You can force motorcycle operators to wear helmets by implementing laws, but the combination of alcohol and motorcycle operation can have a devastating impact despite helmet wear. When operating a motorcycle an operator needs all of their senses at full capacity. Alcohol is central nervous system suppressant substance, causing you body to have a reduced reaction time when the situation arises. The reported helmet use rate for motorcycle riders with BAC levels higher than the legal limit killed in traffic crashes was 46 percent, compared with 66 percent for those with no alcohol (Motorcycles: Traffic Safety Facts - 2008 Data). Not only does alcohol reduce reaction times, it also has an impact on your ability to make rational decisions. It makes individuals push the limits of their motorcycle and their riding ability to levels they normally would not, and the...
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