CDC: Fewer motorcyclists die in states that require helmets

The AP reports, “Fewer motorcyclists die in states that require helmets, and the costs to society are lower too, according to a new federal study.” Approximately “five times as many no-helmet biker deaths occur in states with less restrictive laws, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found.”

In a statement, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said, “In 2010, more than $3 billion in economic costs were saved due to helmet use in the United States.” Reuters reports that according to Frieden, “Another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”

CQ reports, “According to” the “analysis of fatal crash data from 2008 to 2010, 12 percent of motorcyclists in states with universal helmet laws were not wearing helmets.” Comparatively, “64 percent of riders were not wearing helmets in states with partial helmet laws, and 79 percent of riders were not wearing helmets in states [without] helmet laws.”

CQ points out that “as of May 2012, 19 states and the District of Columbia had universal helmet laws, 28 states had partial helmet laws, and three states had no helmet laws.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in an article titled, “Some motorcyclists like their helmets but dislike laws,” reports on the new CDC report, as well as the general debate surrounding motorcycle helmets, which “continues to play out in state legislatures around the country.” For instance, “in Minnesota, lawmakers have proposed legislation that would require motorcyclists not wearing a helmet to carry more insurance.”

Meanwhile, “Michigan recently repealed its law so that motorcyclists older than 21 can ride without a helmet if they meet certain requirements including carrying an additional $20,000 in medical insurance.”

HealthDay reports, “Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, added that ‘it makes little sense that states are repealing or weakening motorcycle helmet laws.'” As recently as “the 1970s, nearly all states mandated helmets for all motorcyclists … he pointed out.”