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Wearing a helmet while riding: to risk or not to risk, P.1

With the first days of summer shortly upon us, doubtless more West Virginia bikers will be out on the roads enjoying the weather and the freedom of the road. With the increase of motorcycling activity, though, comes an increased risk of accidents and serious injuries. This is especially the case for motorcyclists who fail to wear helmets.

Here in West Virginia, of course, motorcycle helmets are required for all riders. This is not the case in every state, though. In Ohio, for instance, only riders 17 years old and younger must wear helmets. In Kentucky and Pennsylvania, riders 20 years old and younger must wear helmets. West Virginia bikers are required to abide by the laws of the state they are riding in, though, and some are not mindful of this during interstate travel. This can result in penalties for forgetful bikers.  

The safety risks of choosing to ride without a helmet, even where it is legal to do so, are something else bikers should keep in mind. There is a significant amount of evidence pointing to the fact that riding a bike without proper head protection increases the risk of catastrophic injury and death, although various groups disagree on how to interpret the evidence.

In states where wearing a helmet is a matter of personal choice, it is important for bikers to keep in mind the risk of serious injury, particularly head and brain injury. The latter, of course, can result in astronomical medical bills, which can cause a crash victim extreme financial distress.

In our next post, we’ll look at how choosing not to wear a motorcycle helmet could impact a personal injury case against a negligent driver.

Source:, “State-By-State guide to motorcycle helmet laws,” July 4, 2014.

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