Monday, June 16, 2008

Head Injuries on the Rise in Pennsylvania

In 2003, Pennsylvania repealed its universal helmet law. If you're over 21 and you have more than two years' riding experience, you can now ride without a helmet in Pennsylvania. The authors of a paper to be published in the August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Public Health found a 32% increase in head injury deaths and a 42% increase in head injury-related hospitalizations in the two years after the helmet law was repealed -- and that's after taking into account the increase in motorcycle registrations. A University of Pittsburgh press release summarizes the finding of the report, "Changes in Motorcycle-Related Head Injury Deaths, Hospitalizations,and Hospital Charges Following Repeal of Pennsylvania’s Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law," was co-authored by Kristen J. Mertz and Harold B. Weiss of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh.

According to an article in Hanover, PA's Evening Sun, 20 states have laws requiring all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, while 27 states have laws that require minors or passengers to wear head protection. Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire have no helmet laws.

1 comment: said...

It's such a frustration that people will neglect something as important as protecting their heads when participating in sport/fun that has a high risk potential. I believe in people having a choice in what they will or will not do when it comes to their own bodies, but with the amount of education available on brain injury and death when helmets weren't worn, I am still shocked that so many choose to go without.