Thursday, May 05, 2016
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
Published: Monday, 5/12/2014


Helmets for all

Helmetless motorcycle riders in Sylvania. Helmetless motorcycle riders in Sylvania.
THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of motorcycle deaths nationwide last year dropped by 7 percent, to 4,610. All good, right? Not necessarily.

The primary reason behind the decline was cold, wet weather in 2013 that kept riders off the streets — a stark contrast to 2012, when the weather was warmer and drier. Leaving a matter of life and death to the precariousness of the weather is no different from leaving it to chance.

Long-term statistics on motorcycle fatalities are disappointing. Ridership has increased significantly since 1997, but the fatality rate has remained static, at roughly 5.5 per 10,000 registrations. By contrast, the fatality rate for passenger cars and trucks in the same time period fell by nearly 50 percent.

The single most important safety feature for a motorcyclist is a helmet. Yet too many riders resist wearing them and too many states — 31, including Ohio — don’t require them for all.

Ohio requires approved protective helmets with fastened chin straps only of riders who are under age 18 or have “novice” licenses, as well as their passengers. Lawmakers in Columbus would show uncharacteristic good sense by enacting a mandatory helmet law. Now that winter has finally thawed, that should be cause for celebration, not highway carnage.

Recommended for You

Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.

Related stories