Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorneys: Do Motorcycle Helmets Impair Hearing and Vision?

by Carmen Dellutri on February 7, 2012

Sarasota personal injury attorneyUnder Florida law, all motorcycle riders younger than 21 years are required to wear helmets, without exception. However, those 21 years and older may ride without helmets if they can show proof that they are covered by a medical insurance policy.

As Fort Myers personal injury attorneys, this doesn’t quite make sense, given that motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a Fort Myers motor vehicle accident and 9 times more likely to be injured. Moreover, for every 100 motorcycle riders killed in crashes while not wearing a helmet, 37 of them could have been saved had they all worn helmets.

Opponents of universal motorcycle helmet laws often argue that helmets can actually lead to a Fort Myers motorcycle accident by interfering with the rider’s ability to see and hear surrounding traffic.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that this is simply not the case. The NHTSA sponsored a study to assess the effect of wearing a helmet upon the ability of motorcycle riders (1) to visually detect the presence of vehicles in adjacent lanes before changing lanes, and (2) to detect traffic sounds when operating at normal highway speeds.

Here’s what they found:

  • Helmet use did not hamper the ability of riders to see traffic or increase the time needed to visually check for nearby traffic.
  • Overall, any negative interference of helmets on rider vision appears to be minor, especially in comparison to the protection offered by helmets should a crash occur.
  • The hearing test showed that there were no significant differences in the riders' ability to hear the auditory signals regardless of whether they were wearing a helmet or not.
  • There was a difference, however, in the hearing threshold between travel speeds of 30 and 50 mph. At the greater speed, all riders needed a louder auditory signal because of increased wind noise. For any given speed, helmets neither diminished nor enhanced hearing.

Given that helmet usage has no measurable effect on motorcyclists' vision and hearing, we encourage all riders to wear helmets to protect themselves in the event of a Fort Myers motorcycle accident.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Fort Myers motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys for a free consultation. 

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