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Are Motorcyclists Who Don’t Wear Helmets More Likely To Cause Accidents?

This spring, Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law was repealed allowing riders to ride without a helmet.  Not surprisingly, statistics have shown that riders who don’t wear helmets who are in accidents are more likely to sustain serious injury when in an accident than riders who do wear helmets.

Riding with a helmet is safer.  In fact, some numbers suggest that riders who wear helmets may be safer riders and less likely to cause an accident than those who don’t.

The fact that helmetless riders are at greater risk for injury when in an accident is easy to understand.  But could riders who don’t wear helmets be more likely to cause accidents? reports:

Helmetless motorcyclists were more likely to be at least partly at fault in crashes than those with helmets, a new MLive Media Group analysis of Michigan State Police records shows.

They also tended to be older than helmeted riders, the review found.

The findings stem from a deeper analysis of records involving more than 1,300 motorcyclists and passengers who were in crashes  since Gov. Rick Snyder repealed Michigan’s mandatory helmet law.

According to the state police data, 49.4 percent of the 265 crashes involving helmetless cyclists were due to some form of “hazardous action” on their part, typically speeding or failure to yield. That compares to 42.1 percent of helmeted riders who were at fault in 856 crashes.

This is a small sample size and there are a number of factors that could be contributing to these results. reports on one possible factor:

Terrance Jungel, executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, said the at-fault gap is significant, but not surprising.

“The only thing they  focused on when they repealed that act was the protection of the cranium,” he said. “They forget there is dust and dirt and debris that is flying at the riders on a regular basis.

What role does age play?  Will these numbers change over time?  What do you think?

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