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Study Claims Increased Organ Donations in Texas and Five Other States Following Repeal of Motorcycle Helmet Laws

A recent study at Michigan State University found states that repealed mandatory motorcycle helmet laws saw not only an increase in motorcycle accident fatalities, but also an increase in organ donations. This was especially true among adult males who are reportedly more likely to ride a motorcycle than their female counterparts. The study found organ donations following traffic accidents increased by about 10 percent in the first years following a helmet law repeal in Texas and five other states.

Motorcyclists who ride without a helmet are generally young, healthy, and at an increased risk of sudden brain trauma. For example, organ donations in Florida increased by about 33 percent following a repeal of the state’s helmet law in 2000. 89 percent of the growth was adult males between the ages of 18 and 49. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of cyclists who were fatally injured in a crash doubled between 2000 and 2003, just as overall helmet use plummeted.

Many believe motorcycle riders who do not wear a helmet increase their chances of suffering a catastrophic brain injury. In Florida, both organ donations and motorcycle fatalities fell between 2008 and 2010. This decline was allegedly in response to increased helmet use education and training. According to Brian Carpenter, the President of the South Florida Riders Club, although a motorcyclist is likely to die in any high speed accident, wearing a helmet can mean the difference between life and death when traveling at a lower rate of speed. Carpenter, a proponent for state helmet laws, said the group’s motto is “All gear, all the time.”

Still, others believe the issue is one of freedom. According to James Reichenbach, President of ABATE of Florida, most motorcycle fatalities are the result of inattentive and careless motorists. Reichenbach believes helmets impair a motorcyclist’s ability to see, hear, and respond to threats on the roads.

As traffic on Texas roadways increases, motorcyclists must be proactive in order to protect themselves from injury. By adhering to some basic motorcycle safety tips, you may be able to reduce the possibility of being involved in a catastrophic injury accident. The most fundamental safety tip a motorcyclist can follow is to wear appropriate protective gear while riding. A sturdy jacket, pants, boots, and gloves may reduce your risk of cuts, abrasions, and “road rash.” Additionally, wearing a helmet may save you from a catastrophic brain injury or wrongful death.

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation for your medical expenses, pain, suffering, any resulting disability, loss of income, and other damages. If your loved one was killed by another driver while riding a motorcycle, you may be able to recover for their wrongful death. A knowledgeable Texas personal injury lawyer can answer your questions.

If you were hurt or lost a family member in a motorcycle accident, call the law firm of Carabin Shaw toll free at (800) 862-1260. Our experienced Rockport motorcycle accident attorneys are ready and willing to answer your questions and help you file your personal injury or wrongful death case. At Carabin Shaw, our experienced lawyers represent individuals who were unexpectedly injured throughout the State of Texas including El Paso, Beaumont, McAllen, Laredo, Beeville, Seguin, Rockport, Austin, and San Antonio. To schedule a free confidential case evaluation with a skilled Texas attorney, contact Carabin Shaw through the law firm’s website today.

More Blogs:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Shuts Down 26 Bus Companies Over Safety Violations, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, June 5, 2012
The Number of Red Light Cameras in Texas has Increased During the Last Decade, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, May 23, 2012
Additional Resources:

Donorcycles: Motorcycle Helmet Laws and the Supply of Organ Donors, Stacy Dickert-Conlin, with Todd Elder and Brian Moore, Journal of Law and Economics (forthcoming)

‘Donorcycles’: Freedom to ride’s unorthodox benefit?, by Nicole Brochu, Sun Sentinel

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