Summer is fast upon us. Motorcycle riders have already been flooding the city streets and roadways across Maryland. But as any good rider knows, motorcycle-automobile accidents can be unforgiving on bikers and their passengers. Many motorcycle and car accidents become very tragic because a motorcyclist has little protection against the mass of a car, SUV or pickup truck.
Where a driver of a car or truck is relatively protected in the case of a crash, a motorcyclist and his or her passenger can receive the direct impact from another vehicle. Motorcycle occupants can also be thrown far from the scene of a bike wreck. As a result, motorcycle accidents have rather high injury rates that include broken bones and lacerations, neck and spine injuries, traumatic head injuries, and other permanent and non-permanent injuries.
Wearing a helmet is one of the best choices a motorcyclist can make to improve his chances of surviving a bad motorcycle crash. The proper helmets can reduce the incidence of fatal head injuries by a large percentage. The use of various protective outerwear and good footwear can also mean the difference between minor and serious injury, or even death.
Sadly, the Maryland legislature may adopt legislation that allows some riders to decide if they wish to wear a helmet or do without. According to the American Motorcycle Association (AMA), House Bill 1282 and Senate Bill 492 would provide exemptions to the motorcycle helmet law currently on the books in Maryland.
Authored respectively by Delegate Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore) and Senator John C. Astle (D-Annapolis), the new law would apply to operators or occupants of three-wheeled enclosed-cab motorcycles or operators of two-wheeled motorcycles who have been licensed for at least two years, or those who have completed a motorcycle rider safety course. An adult passenger riding on a two-wheeled motorcycle would also be able to choose whether or not he or she wishes to wear a helmet as long as the operator is exempted under the law.
Our experience as Baltimore motorcycle accident attorneys tells us that whenever helmets are not worn, injuries can be more serious. It’s a fact that no matter how well you prepare, there is always a chance that you could be involved in an accident on your bike. It makes no difference whether the cause is driver error, another driver’s negligence, excessive speed, or alcohol or substance use, an accident is an accident; outfitting oneself with a helmet is cheap insurance and better protection than none.
AMA News & Notes: May 2010, ama-cycle.org, April 9, 2010