Riding Under the Helmet
In numerous surveys, majority of the motorcycle deaths are caused by head injuries that victims succumb. To reduce road carnage and arrive at a lasting solution to the matter, there is the need to review the safety measures. It is important that motorcyclists follow the rules and regulations that are established by the Safety Standards Union in order to reduce the number of deaths. This paper discusses the importance of using a helmet whenever a motorcyclist is riding his or her motorcycle, to ensure that he or she is safe. The main objective of the paper is to analyze all the risks associated with not wearing a helmet and its implication on the health of the motorcyclists across the United States. Wearing helmets by motorists has many social, ethical, environmental, and economic benefits as discussed below.
The history of helmets
In the year 1967, the United States government raised the issue of helmet use in every state. This was done in order to be in line with the federal safety programs that had been put in place earlier. This reason worked, and states were lured with highway construction funds. By the year 1970, numerous states had put in place the helmet laws, as they were fondly called, that made it mandatory for motorcyclists, and their passengers to put on helmets whenever they were riding. The first state to repeal these laws was Michigan in the year 1968. This set up a precedence as other states followed suit on the matter, repealing and amending their own laws. However, in the year 1976, several states in America successfully coaxed congress to halt the taxation that was levied by the department of transportation. This was a noteworthy downfall on strengthening the helmet laws. This brief history shows that the account of the helmet laws is quite extensive in relation to the United States. Furthermore, many countries in the world also operate under the same rules (Pass more, 2010). Presently, only three states in America are non-compliant with the helmet rules. The problems that need to be addressed are the risks that can accrue to both the rider and the passengers for not wearing a helmet. There is also the issue of motorcycles not being visible at night (Ejaz, 2011).
The available statistics across the states point to the grim reality of the number of motorcyclists who have been killed because they were not wearing their helmets. In the years, 2008 and 2009, a staggering ninety-one percent of motorcyclists who were killed on the roads did not have their helmets on while riding. It is further reported that more than seventy four percent of fatal crashes involved head injuries; ninety seven percent of those who died were not wearing their helmet. Among the survivors from the motorcycle accidents, only thirteen percent were wearing helmets, while only three percent were wearing helmets among those who died from the effects of the motor cycle accidents (Hayes, 2009).
Advantages of wearing a helmet
The effectiveness of wearing a helmet is that, helmet protects the neck, and head. In most cases, motorcycles are not visible at night. Therefore, wearing helmet will enable approaching motorist to see clearly because helmets reflect light back and hence, preventing accident which could arise as a result of invisibility (Hough, 2008). It ethically and morally right for a person to wear a helmet when riding a motor bike. This is because one acts ethically and morally without offending his or her conscious. Therefore, one tends to experience comfort and freedom. Therefore, to be comfortable and to experience personal freedom, on should stop offending his conscience by obeying the set rules and regulations. Additionally, wearing helmet saves the economy. This means that the government will stop spending a lot of money on medical bills for casualties, and instead use this money for economic development. In connection to this, a motor bike rider will be safe from injuries; hence he or she will be able to participate in economic development. By wearing a helmet, one will save time and money that family and friends could have incurred by taking care of the victim (Cameron, 2011). The picture below shows how people should adopt safety measures by wearing a helmet to prevent the critical consequences of not wearing a helmet.
Source: Cameron (2011)
Disadvantages of wearing a helmet
Helmets are sources of discomfort, but their discomforts are short term as compared to the consequential pains that arise from not wearing them. Riding a motorcycle or even a bicycle while not wearing a helmet increases the chances of severe head injuries in cases where an accident occurs. Injuries of this magnitude have the potential of disfiguring the victim, causing serious damages on the brain or even death to the victim and other road users. It is against this backdrop that a number of states have sought to put into law the wearing of a helmet while riding on a motor cycle. Another flip side of this argument suggests that wearing of the helmets contribute to road carnage in equal measures. Some analysts have suggested that motorists tend to overtake motorcyclists wearing the helmets extremely closely than those riding without helmets. This in essence increases the chances of collision between the vehicles and the riders. Although this argument is not shared by the majority, it is also subject for consideration. Other consequences of not wearing helmets while on the road include; incurring hospital bills, money which could otherwise be channeled into other uses. It also causes emotional pain and torture to the families of the victims who are involved in the accident. These kinds of accidents are devastating and destroy families through emotional distress. Reports of people being haunted by the effects of such accidents have been on the rise, and consequently some families have been torn apart. Furthermore, some victims of motorcycle accidents experience permanent physical deformities, which also affect them psychologically for an unusually long time. The other problem associated with helmet is overheating. This normally happen when it is too hot, making the person wearing it to be uncomfortable, and some time may lead to headaches. Additionally, helmets lack style; this means that it does not look fashionable to wear a helmet especially in social places (Cameron, 2011).
Problems that need to be assessed in the research
In the subsequent three paragraphs, the problems that need to be assessed in the research are discussed. The first problem is the effectiveness of the helmet. There are a number of risks that a rider exposes him or herself to while riding a motorbike if he or she does not wear a helmet. The helmet is quite effective if an individual wants to avoid the most severe risk, which is death. Statistics show that eight out of the ten deaths that are caused while riding a motorcycle are caused by head injuries (Ejaz, 2011). It is paramount that each rider wears his or her helmet in order to avoid this. The motorcycles are quite dangerous to ride since they accelerate at high speeds, and in addition, they expose individuals to a high number of health risks. Consequently, there are a number of ways through which people should be shown the effectiveness of the helmet. The key problem is the importance of using helmets by both the motorcyclists and their passengers. From the foregoing literature, the only viable solution at the moment that needs to be focused on is the need to come up with a way through which motorcyclists can be forced to wear helmets whenever they are riding their motorcycles.
The next issue that is raised by not wearing a helmet is the health costs whenever an accident occurs. Whenever there is a motorcycle accident, a relative health cost is incurred by the individual, and the state as a whole. Then it is imperative to come up with a study to show how the afore-discussed problems can be stopped so that the health costs that are related to the motorcycle accidents can be reduced. This in return will aid in coming up with a way that the medical costs that are incurred by individuals in the society are lowered, and that will lead to the reduction of the complete federal expenditure on health (Gunthe, 2011). The advantages of using the helmets are numerous, but the key point concerning health is that the passenger and the motorcyclists will reduce the fatality risk whenever they are involved in an accident. The challenges that are presented are the laxity by some states to stiffen the laws that regard wearing a helmet and the continuous changes in laws that favor the opposite.
The subsequent problem that needs to be addressed on this subject is; whether it is better having formal training or to have protective equipment. The two aspects are a matter of debate because with good equipment and no training, the risks that are presented to the motorcyclists are numerous. On the contrary, the opposite is also true. If there is no adequate training, and there is equipment, the riders will not follow the rules and that may lead to death eventually (Phillip, 2008). The states that have enacted the rules have not come up with a plan that would educate all riders, that there is a need for using the helmets to minimize the risks that they are exposed to even if it is not stipulated by law. Subsequently, none of the issues that are aforementioned can be ignored, and that means that there is the need to have a keen focus on all of them to ensure safety for all citizens.
It is also necessary to note that motor cycle accidents are significantly few to those who wear helmets as compared to those who do not. This statement puts the importance of wearing helmet as a precautionary measure to injuries and deaths. As the wise men say; negligence has no defense, people who continue neglecting the traffic rules should be ready to face the tough consequences of their negligence. In connection to this, it can be observed that accidents arising from the motorcycles are prone to cause more serious damages than those involving motor vehicles. Majority of the victims have sustained critical head injuries. Moreover, it is estimated that the use of helmets reduces the risk of injuries by eighty five percent (Passmore, 2010).
It is evident that, wearing helmets by motorists has many social, ethical, environmental, and economic benefits. There have been a number of campaigns that have been put forth to come up with a way through which motorcyclists would adhere to the helmet rules. A number of negative effects are evident when citizens do not adhere to the helmet rules. The most conspicuous amongst them are; risk of incapacity due to accidents, and unfortunately death. Therefore, to avoid such undesirable situations, there is the need to avoid negligence to law. This is a way through which lives may be saved. In connection to this, wearing a helmet should be an individual responsibility and not necessary because the law mandate people to wear them.
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