A single-vehicle crash in St. George left a motorcyclist with life-threatening injuries. The man, in his twenties, was taken to a local hospital after police and emergency responders reached the scene. There did not appear to be any direct witnesses to the crash, which happened at around 3:00 a.m. on the morning of November 7, but a passing motorist called police to report the injured rider at the intersection of Brigham Road and Desert Hills Drive.
The preliminary investigation suggested that the biker had applied his brakes for a reason not yet known and lost control of his bike. At some point during the skid and crash, he hit his head. A St. George Police spokesperson said that the biker did not appear to be wearing a helmet when he crashed.
The freedom that many people feel they get when they’re on a motorcycle is understandable, but riders need to stay aware of the risks as well. While the absolute number of motorcycle crash injuries and fatalities has declined since its peak in 2007 and 2008, the rates of both injury and death from crashes per mile travelled have held relatively stable or shown slight increases recently.
Those rates, unfortunately, are far higher than for other types of vehicles: The Insurance Information Institute has reported that per mile travelled in 2014, motorcyclists had five times the injury rate and an alarming twenty-seven times the fatality rate of those in passenger cars. With odds like that, it pays for motorcyclists to do everything they can to stay safe and alert.
A significant fraction of bikers still resist wearing helmets, despite their proven injury-reduction benefit. Any biker can put a helmet on, and more than 60 percent do, but in some places it’s still only a recommendation. While most states now have some kind of helmet requirement, in some it only applies to younger riders. In a few states, there’s still no requirement (Utah only requires them for riders age seventeen and under).
The effectiveness of helmets has been studied for many years, and it’s become clear that in some cases they can be the difference between life and death—or at least the difference between serious injury and a less serious result.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has calculated that helmets save about 37 percent of victims from what would have been fatal injuries. And as helmet technology has improved, so has that survivability number: It was raised in 2005 from the 29 percent figure the agency had used for most of the previous twenty years. Thirty-seven percent might not seem like a lot, but it matters. The NHTSA estimates that in 2003, the year of the study, more than 1,100 motorcyclists would have survived their fatal crashes if all of them had been wearing helmets.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a problem caused by serious or repeated head injuries, has been much in the news in recent years because of the ongoing attention the problem is receiving in the NFL and in other sports. But a person can suffer a serious head injury, even a TBI, in other ways, including a motorcycle crash.
About 15 percent of helmeted cyclists and about 21 percent of those without helmets suffer a TBI when they crash, and this leads to longer hospital stays and drastically higher medical expenses. We’re hopeful that the victim of this crash will be able to avoid this result and have a speedy recovery, and our thoughts go out to him and his family.
The exact cause of this particular crash has not yet been reported, and it might truly be an accident. But in many cases, motorcycle crashes are caused by others. When a reckless or careless motorist, poor road maintenance, or some other condition has led to you or a loved one being the victim of a motorcycle crash, give Craig Swapp & Associates a call. We understand motorcycle accident law, and we can put our experience to work for you. Call us at 1-800-404-9000 or reach us through the contact form below to schedule a free consultation today.