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Motorcycle helmets can reduce neck, spine injuries from accidents

Oklahoma doesn't require motorcycle riders over the age of 18 to wear helmets. Savvy riders, however, will forgo the exhilarating feeling of the wind blowing through their hair and choose to wear helmets. They know that helmets can lessen the injuries to their head and neck should they be in an accident.

Some 1,869 riders were saved from dying in motorcycle accidents in 2016. Wearing a helmet would have saved another 802 riders, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A new study by the University of Wisconsin found that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of injury to a rider's cervical spine. Helmet usage is known to lessen the incidence of traumatic brain injuries.

Study results fly in the face of those who say helmets do not protect the neck in a crash. UW researchers noted that helmet usage does not increase the risk of cervical spine injury. Researchers studied injuries of 1,016 motorcycle riders and determined that the rate of cervical spine injuries for helmetless riders was more than double the rate for helmeted ones. There was no significant difference in other injuries suffered by motorcycle riders whether they were wearing a helmet or not.

Because they don't have a hard shell surrounding them as they whiz down the highway, motorcycle riders are more likely to suffer accident-related injuries than occupants of four-wheel vehicles. Injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents are generally more serious, too. Motorcycle riders who are injured in accidents that were not their fault may have a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. An attorney may be able to ascertain if their head, neck or brain injuries, as well as injuries to other body parts, make the rider eligible for compensation from the negligent driver or their insurance company.

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