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Helmets and other motorcycle safety measures

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common safety measures taken by motorcycle riders and various state and local governments have differing ranges of effectiveness. Some of the measures are not related to any high-quality evidence showing they are effective, while a very few measures have associated proof. Knowing which measures are proven effective can help motorcycle riders protect themselves on the roadway.

According to the CDC, the only safety measure that is scientifically proven to reduce incidents of injury or deaths in motorcycle accidents is state safety helmet laws. Wisconsin has a helmet law that requires instructional permit holders and those under age 18 to wear a helmet. The CDC's ranking seems to indicate that all persons riding or driving motorcycles might want to invest in a helmet for safety, however.

The only other common safety measure the CDC says is associated with proof of effectiveness is enforcement of laws regarding operating under impairment. Motorcyclists should never operate their vehicles when under the influence of drugs are alcohol.

Other safety measures that might offer some protection, but which the CDC says are not linked to verifiable proof, include protective clothing, rider training and licensing, helmet promotion programs and attempting to increase awareness of motorcycles for other drivers. Even though the CDC can't point to scientific proof on these measures, anecdotal evidence has suggested that they can reduce injuries or crashes.

Regardless of scientific proof, every rider and driver is responsible for ensuring optimal safety on the road. If another driver acts in a manner that increased safety issues or causes an accident, they could be liable for injuries that you incur. Motorcyclists have the same rights as any other motorist on the road, and understanding those rights is the first step in seeking compensation for injuries.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Motorcycle Safety Guide: Summary of Motorcycle Safety Efforts," accessed Sep. 18, 2015

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