Helmets save lives, money
House Bill 109 seeks to repeal our state’s universal motorcycle helmet law. Before proceeding, the House should consider a scientific report from the Department of Transportation that evaluated the effect of an almost-identical law change in Florida.
Consider these facts from the report: On average, 181 Florida motorcyclists were killed annually before the law was repealed. After repeal, motorcyclist deaths rose to an average of 280 per year – an increase of 55 percent. Costs to treat head-injured motorcyclists more than doubled to $44 million annually after the Florida helmet law was repealed.
Similar to the Florida law, HB 109 requires that motorcyclists who ride without a helmet to have $10,000 of insurance. But more than 75 percent of the head-injured motorcyclists in hospital cost more than $10,000. This difference in cost will be borne by already-stressed healthcare system. Similar increases in deaths and healthcare costs for head-injured motorcyclists were observed when helmet laws where repealed in Kentucky and Louisiana.
I urge the House to consider these facts before proceeding further with HB 109.
Director, UNC Injury Prevention Research Center