Colorado is one of several states that only require motorcycle riders under the age of 18 to wear a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet. For older riders, it may be tempting to take this as a sign that helmets are not necessary for experienced riders. The truth is: motorcycle helmets provide several benefits for riders of all ages and all skill levels.
Colorado Motorcycle Fatality Statistics
A nationwide survey of motorcycle helmet use from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that helmet use could have saved 25 lives in 2015 alone.
Of those deaths in 2015, only 39 motorcyclists killed were wearing a helmet, while the other 67 motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet. The NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders and 41 percent for passengers.
The Colorado Department of Transportation also notes helmet use is an integral part of motorcycle crash survival. It found that 66 percent of the riders killed in Colorado accidents in 2010 were wearing helmets incorrectly or not wearing them at all.
How do helmets protect me from fatal injuries?
Head injuries are one of the most devastating injuries a rider can experience. These injuries can easily be fatal if the impact crushes the skull or the impact of the brain against the skull is severe. If an injury is not fatal, it often leaves the rider with irreversible brain damage and permanent disability.
The NHTSA reports motorcycle helmets are 67 percent effective in preventing fatal head injuries. There are four important parts of the helmet that work together to reduce injuries to your head and neck.
The Outer Shell
The exterior of a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet is typically a fiber-reinforced composite material or polycarbonate. These materials are built to be tough, but able to compress with the force of impact. This layer helps distribute the shock of the impact and reduce the force before it reaches your skull.
The Impact-absorbing Liner
This dense layer of polystyrene is the next layer of shock absorption and stops your head from continuing to move after impact to the outer shell. The full coverage in DOT-approved helmets helps spread the force of the impact over the entire helmet, reducing the damage to any single part of your head.
The Comfort Padding
This second layer of softer foam and cloth provide more cushion and protection from abrasion. It also helps improve the fit of your helmet.
The Retention System
Also known as the chin strap, this feature keeps the helmet securely positioned on your head.
Contrary to popular belief, wearing a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet does not decrease your ability to see or hear. An NHTSA-contracted study on the effects of motorcycle helmets on hearing and seeing ability found there was no significant impairment of either sense. Even riders wearing a full helmet and face shield were able to see approaching vehicles within a normal range of vision and hear sirens.
Can helmets satisfy the Colorado eye protection requirement?
A benefit of motorcycle helmets with eye or full-face shields is that they fulfill the Colorado eye protection requirement. By law, all riders must wear some form of eye protection. When this protection is already a part of your helmet, that is one less safety feature to remember before you ride.
Are there other benefits to wearing helmets?
Helmets have evolved over the years to include audio controls within the helmet’s design. These controls allow connection to music, audio connections to other drivers for group riding, and even pairing with your phone. These advances reduce the need to manually control external devices when riding.
Can I recover compensation even if I was not wearing a helmet?
While every rider should wear a helmet every time, not everyone does. Fortunately, this does not mean you will be unable to recover compensation. It might be less than if you were wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, but you will still have options for recovery.
We will look into your case and see how we can protect your right to recovering fully.
Where can I get help after a motorcycle accident?
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya, LLC have dedicated their careers to helping injured Colorado residents recover damages after accidents. We know the bias against riders and all the tricks insurers might try to pull to give you less than you deserve.
Before you talk to the insurance company, talk to us. Call 303-758-4777 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.