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Do universal helmet laws save lives?

Many motorists in Iowa take certain measures to ensure their safety on the roadways. For drivers and passengers, this often means using a seatbelt. For motorcyclists, this usually means wearing protective clothing and a helmet. Many riders will wear a helmet even when the law does not require it. Only three states in the nation, Iowa included, do not have legislation that requires either all bikers or bikers below a certain age to wear a helmet. This causes some to question whether helmet laws are effective at reducing serious and even fatal injuries in the event of a motorcycle crash.

Do universal helmet laws save lives? Universal helmet laws require all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, while partial helmet laws are age specific, usually for those under the age of 18 or 21. Because the highest rate of injuries and deaths from a motorcycle accident are among riders 20-to-24-years-old, studies have looked at the rates of states with universal helmet laws versus those with partial helmet laws, or none at all.

While the study did not confirm a link between universal helmet laws and a lower rate of serious head injuries among youths, researches found that mandatory helmet laws do reduce deaths and head traumas among adult victims in motorcycle crashes. Helmets are proven to reduce the severity of a head trauma, but even wearing one may not prevent all types of injury during a motorcycle accident. If the accident in question was caused by the negligence of another person, the injured may be able to recover damages for medical expenses and more.

Those harmed in a motorcycle accident should understand their potential legal recourses. A civil action, such as a personal injury claim, could help victims and their loved ones recover compensation, which could be applied to expenses such as medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages and other related damages.

Source:, "Universal helmet laws may help save young motorcyclists," Oct. 29, 2014

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