How helmet laws and design improvements are saving lives

Riding a motorcycle is an inherently dangerous activity, but there is some good news for Alabama’s motorcycle riders. According to, for states that mandate motorcycle helmet-wearing, such as Alabama, the fatality rate of motorcyclists who were not wearing helmets was 8 percent while the rate for the same group in states without helmet laws was 58 percent.

Despite the positive news for Alabamans and residents of other states where helmet-wearing is mandatory, the overall number of motorcycle fatalities in the U.S. last year rose 8.3 percent over the year prior, with 382 total motorcyclist fatalities. The creation of new jobs and a reduction in fuel prices meant more Americans took to the roadways in 2015 than in 2014, which played a role in the rising number of fatalities, further emphasizing the need for helmets. 

Not all helmets are created equal, however. Auto insurance giant Geico recommends that motorcycle riders don full-face helmets with visors in order to give their heads and faces the best protection possible. Helmet standards have been established by a nonprofit organization called the Snell Memorial Foundation as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation. Therefore, when a helmet meets standards set by those organizations, it will have an approval sticker with SNELL or DOT placed on it. Motorcyclists across Alabama and the U.S. are advised to purchase helmets that are adorned with these stickers.

While all Alabama motorcycle riders and passengers must wear helmets, retailers are doing their part to make their products more comfortable, customizable and effective. Geico notes that helmets have become increasingly lightweight over the years, and that they are now made in a variety of colors and styles that make them more desirable to consumers. They also help reduce noise and motorcyclist fatigue while offering riders some degree of protection from the elements.

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