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Old 06-13-2008, 02:41 PM   #1
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helmet law gone, deaths and head injuries up

imagine that!

Study: Since Pa. Motorcycle Helmet Law Repeal, Deaths Up

POSTED: 1:04 pm EDT June 12, 2008
UPDATED: 6:00 pm EDT June 12, 2008


PITTSBURGH -- In the five years since Pennsylvania repealed its motorcycle helmet law, the number of riders has gone up and so has the number of head injuries resulting in death.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle crash in June 2006 was the most publicized motorcycle accident in recent memory.

Doctors said Roethlisberger is lucky to be alive after slamming his head off a car and the pavement.

A new study by the University of Pittsburgh shows many other riders involved in crashes without a helmet have not been so lucky.

Video: Watch Jake Ploeger's Report

"We found that after the repeal, motorcycle helmet use went down, and the death rate from head injuries from motorcycle crashes went up about 32 percent," said lead study author Dr. Kristen Mertz.

Mertz compiled data from the year before the helmet law was repealed in 2003 and the year after. Her findings not only indicate the death rate rose 32 percent, but the number of riders hospitalized for head injuries also increased by 42 percent.

That also translates into an increase in health care costs. Mertz estimates the average hospital bill, not including doctors' charges and after-care, is $88,000 to treat a head injury.

"So all these excess hospitalizations from head injuries are costing millions of dollars," she said.

Mertz said she would like to see the helmet law reinstated, saying the facts speak for themselves.

"Helmets reduce risk of death by about 37 percent, so they're not perfect," she said. "They don't prevent the non-head injuries, and they don't prevent all head injuries, but one out of every three people who die could be saved if they have a helmet on."

State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, has introduced legislation that would reinstate a mandatory helmet law for all Pennsylvania motorcyclists. He called the study's findings "stunningly dramatic" and said the cost to taxpayers alone is reason to make a change.

"Here you have a low-tech answer to saving money in the health care system and all we have to do is vote to reinstate the helmet law for Pennsylvania," Frankel said.

And with the price of gas continuing to rise, the number of motorcycle riders is also expected to rise, which could cause even more motorcycle fatalities.
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:46 PM   #2
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something else i just read

""The fact is, motorcycle crashes spread pain far beyond their victims. In 2005, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, bikers without helmets figured in 36% of motorcycle crashes but accounted for 70% of their $12.2 billion cost.""
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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WTF were they thinking when they repealed the helmet law??
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:05 PM   #4
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Yup...

We have a "protective headgear" ordinance in Pearville... regardless of whether or not you have the 'lil green sticker of $10K in insurance... FWIW
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
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WTF were they thinking when they repealed the helmet law??
peoples right to choose if they want to wear one.

I do cause I choose to, I don't need the government telling me to wear one.
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:07 PM   #6
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I say .... repeal all helmet laws just make it so that all who chose to not wear their helmets automatically are removed from medical insurance or something like that.

It's their choice ... but here's the consiquence ... and we're not going to foot the bill for it.
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilmckee View Post
peoples right to choose if they want to wear one.

I do cause I choose to, I don't need the government telling me to wear one.
thats fine, but as the reports show, WE foot the bill. now it's my and your problem.
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:22 PM   #8
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llmckee - the point is that though you obviously have the intelligence to know that it's a valuable inconvenience to wear a helmet , so many people don't have the same common sense to know how obviously dramatic hitting your head can be. Probably the same people who don't wear seatbelts...

But even with the law - the government is really not forcing you to wear a helmet, they're just going to occasionally charge you ride without it.

But my totally friendly argument would be: laws say you have to have insurance, a license plate, a license, not ride intoxicated.... so what's the worry about the safety requirement extending to forcing the public to understand that it's important to protect the most valuable part of the human body?
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilmckee View Post
peoples right to choose if they want to wear one.

I do cause I choose to, I don't need the government telling me to wear one.
fawking right
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:35 PM   #10
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Numerous healthcare studies have shown that prevention is far more cost effective than treatment. Examples include: traumatic brain injuries from bike/motorcycle accidents, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and hip/lower limb osteoarthritis. Prevention of each of these is MUCH LESS expensive than the treatment.

I personally think that the government should be minimal and personal freedoms only restricted when the rights of others are adversly affected. The problem with no helmet law and the other preventable (mostly) conditions listed above is that by not limiting one person's right (i.e. no helmet law, freedom to eat yourself to obesity, diabetes, etc) your are infringing on the rights of others...those who because of the irresponsible actions of a few, must now bear the burden of higher taxes, and ever-increasing healthcare costs.

Limitations MUST/SHOULD be placed on the few to protect the majority.
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:52 PM   #11
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:55 PM   #12
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:17 PM   #13
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so whats your point...if you don't foot the bill for this....you be footing the bill for tree frog mating practices ....just cause somebody puts on a helmet you think the goverment is gonna give your money back ....
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:19 PM   #14
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the ignorance of some people... WTF should I help pay your extra health care costs because you wreck without a helmet?

Standard accident claims are (usually) unavoidable, so I don't mind paying my share of the costs. Deliberately choosing not to wear a helmet and increasing MY health-care costs is just down-right of you.

Please, take offense...
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:31 PM   #15
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:47 PM   #16
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:52 PM   #17
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My opinion is just because it's not required by law to wear a brain bucket does not make it OK.

That said, it's still your choice. fk with your life if you want to but you won't catch me backing out of the driveway without a lid on.
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RACER X View Post
something else i just read

""The fact is, motorcycle crashes spread pain far beyond their victims. In 2005, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, bikers without helmets figured in 36% of motorcycle crashes but accounted for 70% of their $12.2 billion cost.""
I prefer the freedom to choose to wear my helmet.

We live in a country that spends over $2.4 Trillion on health care each year. Potentially saving $12.2 billion amounts to about 0.5 percent. I can already feel that extra $14 per year coming back into my pocket. If you want to reduce health care costs make laws that limit food intake and prevent the US from consistently being the most overweight country in the world. Far more health care costs are the result of obesity than motorcycle accidents. Obesity is preventable too.

If helmets could save 37% more lives then there may be 37% more people who live after a traumatic brain injury and thus require expensive ongoing medical care. If those 37% die then their health care costs are pretty short term, so by saving more people it would again increase health care cost.
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:30 PM   #19
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u may be able to limit food intake in restaurants nut not at home. they can still eat 2 bags of chips and fried chicken. what about the people who are obese because of genetics. you cant put a regulation on that. putting a regualtion on helets is alot more realistic than food. i eat pretty good. mayby chicken wing or a double every now and then and i play sports with my buds for recreation. i still have extra pounds. i dont go out and gorge myself. this is a mix of genetics. my pops has the same build i do
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:33 PM   #20
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States are very inconsistent with these laws. How many states require all passengers in a car to wear seat belts but don't require helmets on motorcyclists. I would argue that either both should be mandatory or both optional. Since driving and riding are considered privileges rather than rights, I would argue that both should be mandatory (one of few areas where I am willing to let government dictate).

Comment on the stats in the article. Says injury and death rates have gone up, but also says ridership has gone up. Article implied increase in injury and death is related to no helmet laws but makes no mention of adjustment factors for increased ridership. Poor reporting IMO so you can't rely on their stats to tell you anything meaningful about the helmet debate or the real impact that helmets have on mortality and morbidity rates.
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