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Spring is here: A reminder for motorcycle safety, awareness in Ohio

With spring having just arrived, and the weather being unseasonably warm quite early this year throughout much of Ohio, it is hardly a surprise that motorcyclists -- an avid group to begin with -- are already out in force on many state roads and highways.

Many of them are not wearing helmets, and advocates of that practice are already making their annual pleas for more riders and passengers to do so, with reminders that motorcycle accidents often yield comparatively harsh results for those who forgo helmets.

Like many other states, Ohio does not have a universal helmet law. What the relevant state statute does mandate is that all riders and passengers 17 years of age and younger must wear a helmet, with that requirement being absent for operators 18 years or older who have held a valid license to ride a motorcycle for at least a year.

Many safety experts would like to see that law and similar legislation in other states tightened up, and considerably. The Brain Injury Association of America, for example, states that brain injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes, with that group noting that helmet use cuts down the fatality rate dramatically.

Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) support that view. According to the NHTSA, fatalities in bike crashes are reduced by nearly 40 percent when riders wear helmets, with head injuries dropping by 67 percent.

Notwithstanding the helmet debate, all riders obviously need to focus strongly on safety while on the road. Spring is a good time to remind motorcyclists of that, given the vulnerability that bikes have when compared to other vehicles.

It is also timely to caution all other motorists to watch out for bikes and to remind them that motorcyclists are entitled to the same rights and privileges on the road as are operators of other vehicles.

Source: Tech News World, "Keeping a lid on it: New motorcycle helmet technologies," Vivian Wagner, March 13, 2012

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