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iStock 000012522958SmallMichigan is now the 31st state to allow riders the option of not wearing a helmet, but those who do must be 21 years of age, have passed a motorcycle safety course within the last two years and carry at least an additional $20,000 in medical insurance.

Daniel Michael, Ph.D., M.D., a neurosurgeon at Michigan Head & Spine Institute, said, “We know motorcycle helmets save lives – that’s a given. We also know that motorcyclists who choose not to wear a helmet are three times more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury in a crash than those who opt to wear a helmet.” 

According to the Michigan State Police, approximately 3,250 motorcycle accidents occur each year. The U.S. Department of Transportation has reported that health care costs for accidents where a rider did not wear a helmet can cost as much as 1.5 to two times more than a crash where a rider did wear a helmet.

“Some motorcyclists don’t realize an accident can create brain injuries that can dramatically affect their quality of life, including depression, headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, anxiety and the inability to perform their jobs,” said Dr. Michael. “The injuries may be short-term or be for the remainder of their life.”  It’s not just the motorcyclist who suffers, it is the family and friends of the individual and health care costs that might not otherwise have been needed will increase.

 The best way to help prevent, or minimize, traumatic brain injury from a motorcycle accident is to wear a properly fitting helmet. “No doctor wants to see a motorcyclist in the emergency room after an accident,” Dr. Michael shares.  Suffering from complications as a result of a motorcycle accident or other traumatic brain injury is life altering.  The neurosurgeons at MHSI advise using your helmet and be safe!

Read more about traumatic brain injuries.

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