What Are the Benefits of Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet?

by Jenny E
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A motorcycle helmet is a necessary safety feature for every rider and passenger on a motorcycle. Just like a seat belt in a car, a motorcycle helmet protects a motorcycle rider and must meet the standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation to be effective. There are several benefits to wearing a motorcycle helmet.

Protection From Head Injury

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There are several items motorcycle riders can wear to protect themselves. These include long pants, full-fingered motorcycle gloves, footwear that reaches over their ankles and long-sleeved jackets. However, a motorcycle helmet is the single most important piece of safety gear a motorcycle rider can wear.

A motorcycle helmet has four basic components: an outer shell, comfort padding, an impact-absorbing liner and a retention system. All of these components work together to protect a rider's brain and the face in the event of a crash. According to a publication distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, helmets saved 7,808 lives during the period between 1993 and 2002. The report also indicates that had all motorcyclists worn proper motorcycle helmets during this time period, this number would have been as high as 11,915. The report states that even though motorcycles represent less than three percent of registered passenger vehicles, fatalities from motorcycle crashes represent about nine percent of fatalities involving passenger vehicles. A motorcycle rider without a helmet is three times as likely to die from head injuries as a rider who is wearing one.

Wind Noise

The helmet improves the comfort of the motorcycle rider by reducing the sound of the wind as it roars past the ears. It also reduces the sting of wind blasting in the face and eyes.


A motorcycle helmet offers protection from the weather. For instance, it has a visor that cuts down the glare from the sun. It also keeps the face warm in frigid weather and keeps water out when it rains.

Flying Objects

A motorcycle helmet shields the eyes and face from flying objects like rocks, gravel and twigs. It also protects the rider from insects.

Insurance and Medical Bills

Motorcycle riders who choose not to wear helmets have higher health care costs as a result of their injuries. However, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has shown that many motorcycle riders without helmets lack health insurance. When most of these motorcyclists without helmets are involved in accidents, the cost of their treatment is borne by the government, from taxpayers' money.

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