Back in 2000, when the Florida Legislature revoked its mandatory helmet law for motorcyclists, I ridiculed biker arguments that getting rid of protective headgear would save lives.
As it turned out, getting rid of helmets, indeed, has saved lives. Just not the lives of motorcycle riders.
Researchers from Michigan State University discovered an unexpected, life-saving benefit when Florida and five other states jettisoned their helmet laws. “Our central estimates show that organ donations due to motor vehicle accidents increase by 10 percent when states repeal helmet laws.”
Good news for folks in need of a heart or liver or kidney or other coveted organ. Bareheaded bikers have become so disproportionately generous with their innards that the medical community has dubbed their machines “donorcycles.”
Other news for bareheaded bikers has not been so rosy. The Centers for Disease Control reports that while motorcycles account for about 3 percent of the registered vehicles, they now account for 14 percent of the traffic fatalities. While overall traffic fatalities have fallen to the lowest rate since 1949, biker deaths are going the other direction (up four percent in Florida.)
Just last week, the CDC reported a correlation between the repeal of motorcycle helmet laws and fatalities among motorcycle riders without helmets. That particular subset of traffic fatalities showed up five times more frequently in states without mandatory helmet laws.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/18/2856134/helmetless-biking-is-good-for.html