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Motorcycle accidents create significant brain injury risk

Hitting the open road on a motorcycle is a pastime that many Californians enjoy. Not only that, but some people prefer to use their motorcycles as a primary mode of transportation. Of course, every rider in California likely knows that helmets are mandatory.

Without the physical barriers provided by cars and trucks, motorcyclists are at a higher risk of suffering serious injuries in the event of a collision. This unfortunate reality is one of the primary reasons why all motorcyclists in California are required by law to wear a helmet.

Research provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows just how important wearing a helmet can be in preventing brain injuries -- an unfortunately common outcome in motorcycle accidents. According to the federal agency, helmets are about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. On the other hand, those who choose not to wear a helmet are three times as likely to suffer a brain injury during a collision.

Although wearing a helmet is a good safety habit -- in addition to being mandated by state law -- it is not universally effective in preventing brain injuries. Even people who are always cautious in this regard can become the victim of a debilitating brain injury as a result of careless or reckless motorists.

The health effects of traumatic brain injuries go beyond what is immediately apparent. Dealing with cognitive or physical limitations is obviously painful and frustrating, but an article we published provides insight into a wider range of issues. In the long term, brain injury victims are susceptible to fatality. Studies have shown that premature death is linked to brain injuries, because victims are prone to risk-taking behaviors and mental illnesses.

Although research into the short- and long-term effects of brain injuries is a critical step in developing treatments, it’s another reminder of how serious this type of medical condition really is. As a result, taking steps to recover from a brain injury can be a lengthy and costly process.

Source: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Motorcycle Helmets Are Effective in Preventing Serious Brain Injuries," accessed April 16, 2014

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