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Do helmets save lives in motorcycle accidents?

Springtime is just around the corner in Minnesota, which means many motorcyclists will be taking their bikes out of storage to prepare them for use in the months ahead. However, motorcycle accidents are still a concern not just for the motorcyclists but also for others on the road.

In 2017, Minnesota saw 1,156 motorcycle accidents. This is a decrease of eight percent from the number of motorcycle accidents in 2016. Moreover, the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2017 was two percent lower than the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes in 2016, while the number of motorcyclists injured decreased by nine percent.

Sometimes, a motorcyclist's life is saved through helmet use. Wearing a helmet while operating a motorcycle is not mandatory under Minnesota law for those age 18 and older. However, helmets do keep motorcyclists safe. In 2017, 39 of the 53 motorcyclists who lost their lives in motorcycle accidents were not wearing a helmet. And, in 2017, 472 of the 1,046 motorcyclists injured weren't wearing a helmet when the collision occurred.

While wearing a helmet could prevent injuries or fatalities, even motorcyclists who wear helmets could suffer injuries or be killed in a crash caused by another vehicle. For example, if a motorist fails to yield to the motorcyclist's right of way or drives erratically or carelessly, that motorist could cause an accident that is serious enough to injure or kill a motorcyclist, even if the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. This should not deter motorcyclists from wearing helmets, however. Even if a motorcyclist is not wearing a helmet when they are struck by a car, depending on the circumstances, the motorcyclist may have legal options for compensation.

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