Motorcycle Deaths Increase in PA—thanks to no helmet law.

May 27th, 2013 By: Betty Long

Not that we should be surprised by this 'news,' but since lawmakers in Pennsylvania decided a decade ago to give motorcyclists the choice of whether to wear helmets or not, the number of deaths in motorcycle crashes has increased.  And what's even more puzzling, the state legislator who introduced the legislation in 2003, doesn’t see any momentum to reverse the decision.  Senator John Wozniak from Johnstown, PA stated, "I don't think the trend is there."

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that since 2003, the number of deaths in motorcycle crashes has increased 35%. Last year, according to the PA Dept. of Transportatino, 210 people died in motorcycle crashes.  Only 100 of the victims wore helmets, while 104 did not; it’s unclear in the other six cases.

And in 2013, there have already been six fatal motorcycle crashes in western Pennsylvania since the beginning of May.

And as if he needed to go to medical school to state this….Dr. David Okonkwo, clinical director of UPMC Presbyterian’s Brain Trauma Research Center, said riding without a helmet increases the chance of death or catastrophic head or neck injury. Really?  I would think that is a safe bet!

Proponents of the no helmet law state that it should be an individual decision not a government mandate.  But Representative Frankel, from Pittsburgh, who has tried unsuccessfully each year since the repeal to reinstate the law, cites data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year estimating that a motorcycle death can cost $1.2 million and a serious injury $172,000, including medical expenses, the cost of emergency medical services and lost wages and productivity.

“It’s not just the rider’s business,” Frankel said. “The rest of us suffer direct consequences from someone’s reckless and irresponsible behavior. Your personal choice is impacting my health care costs, my insurance premiums and my tax dollars.”

Here's what I say, if you decide to ride a motorcycle WITHOUT a helmet, you are playing with fire.  And sooner or later, you will get burned.

 

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