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Riding a motorcycle or bicycle? You need to know these helmet laws

Posted at 2:29 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 16:29:45-04

The weather is improving and with good weather, we see more bicycles and motorcycles on Utah roads. Today we`re talking about helmet laws with Personal Injury Attorney Craig Swapp from Craig Swapp & Associates.

In Utah it is law that no one under the age of 21 may operate or ride a motorcycle without protective headgear that complies with federal regulations.  Those who don't comply will be cited.

But there's more important motivation to think about -- safety.  Swapp says, " It`s common knowledge, motorcyclists that are wearing helmets fare better in accidents overall than those who don`t. According to the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety): Helmets are 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67% effective in preventing brain injuries."

Swapp says there are currently no state bicycle helmet laws in Utah, for minors or otherwise.  But, bicycle accidents are a serious issue in our state.  According to An average of 370 bicyclists are injured in accidents and about 5 are killed. It`s especially an issue among younger cyclists as nearly half (47.3%) of known bicycle accidents involved people under 25.

According to a report by Washington Post helmets are up to about 40% effective in preventing head injuries. The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) numbers show that in 2016 fatal bicycle accidents 51% were not wearing a helmet compared to 16% that had a helmet on (in 33% helmet use was unknown).
Also wearing a helmet with a clear plastic shield can also protect your face from rocks and road debris that can possibly lead to an accident.

The American Academy of Pediatricians suggests, that it starts early. Parents need to encourage children to wear helmets from the moment they start riding a bicycle and even kid scooters. Children should be allowed to choose their own helmet because if they like the design they are more likely to wear it. Plus, it`s important to remember that bike helmets are lighter than ever, while being stronger than ever. Most have good ventilation so that it is not uncomfortable to wear during warm temperatures.

Young people look to adults as examples, so using a helmet yourself sends a message that bicycle helmet use is important, even for adults. The same applies to motorcycle helmet use.

The unfortunate reality is that bicycle and motorcycle accidents happen, and injuries can occur even with proper helmet use. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle or motorcycle accident, give Swapp a call at Craig Swapp & Associates at 1-800-404-9000.

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