The Illinois Senate has rejected a mandatory helmet plan for those riding on a motorcycle. This is one of the more frivolous legislative efforts by the State of Illinois Legislature. The research on traumatic brain injury (head injury and TBI) proves just how foolish it is to allow those riding motorcycles to do so without a helmet.

Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire continue to allow motorcyclists to ride without helmets. Iowa dn Illinois should know better. New Hampshire is just trying to live up to its state motto: Live Free or Die. Yeah I suspect they are doing just that on New Hampshire highways.

Failing to pass a mandatory helmet law is really an amazing feat. When you consider the states suffering financial hardship and wanting to decrease medical care expenses for the various state and federal programs; having no helmet law is incredibly irresponsible. This is legislative short sighted pandering to a few motorcycle riders who shouldn’t have any clout with the legislature.

I could see failing to pass a mandatory helmet law if there was a higher insurance requirement for anyone not wanting to wear a helmet. But there isn’t in Iowa. Iowa law doesn’t require a person to have private health insurance or medical pay coverage on their auto policy. Casualty insurance limits are a paltry $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident and $15,000 for property destroyed. ( Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law – 321A.1(11) That law hasn’t changed since January 1, 1983.

Iowa Code – Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility

321A.1  Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall, for the purposes of this chapter, have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section, except in those instances where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

 

….

 

11.  Proof of financial responsibility.  Proof of ability to respond in damages for liability, on account of accidents occurring subsequent to the effective date of the proof, arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle, in amounts as follows:  With respect to accidents occurring on or after January 1, 1981, and prior to January 1, 1983, the amount of fifteen thousand dollars because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident, and, subject to the limit for one person, the amount of thirty thousand dollars because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and the amount of ten thousand dollars because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident; and with respect to accidents occurring on or after January 1, 1983, the amount of twenty thousand dollars because of bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident, and, subject to the limit for one person, the amount of forty thousand dollars because of bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and the amount of fifteen thousand dollars because of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.

And the costs of a motorcycle accident without a helmet increase the chances of suffering traumatic brain injury. The University of Iowa just completed a study.

JAMA -- Abstract: Motorcycle helmet-use laws and head injury ...

Motorcyclists live Better longer: Prevent traumatic Brain ...

Add increased deer population and the single motorcycle collisions become a fact of life. Throw in some alcohol and the numbers increase further. Then there are driving distractions of the other drivers choosing. There are distractions involving GPS navigation, DVD players, cell phones, text messaging along with iPods. Each of these electronic devices can and do cause driver distraction.  Children cause distractions and the risks of not seeing a motorcycle and striking one increase further. Fault aside the risks of being in a motorcycle accident are far and away one of the most dangerous of all motor vehicle collisions.

Motorcycles and Deer Don't Mix in Iowa, S.Lombardi September 24, 2007

I have no intention of standing on a soap box to preach individual freedoms like most personal injury lawyers will do. I like my clients too much to pander to popular opinion just to get a few personal injury cases. If as a rider you’re angry with me for taking the opposing view than you aren’t being realistic about the risks of injury.

Iowa Motorcycle Helmet Law - A Choice To Protect Your Brain, S. Lombardi August 21, 2008

Helmets are a proven, low cost and effective way of combating brain damage. If the legislature won’t step in then riders need to protect themselves and voluntarily wear a helmet.

2. Motorcycle helmets

Countermeasure

Effectiveness

Use

Cost

Time

2.1 State motorcycle helmet use laws

Proven

Medium

Low

Short

2.2 Helmet law enforcement; noncompliant helmets

Unknown

Unknown

Low

Medium

2.3 Helmet use promotion programs

Unknown

Low

Varies

Medium

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