Wearing a Helmet May Slightly Cramp Your Freedom – But It Could Just Save Your Life
Wednesday, November 11 commemorates Veterans Day, and here at Lamber Goodnow, we proudly salute the brave men and women of The Armed Forces who help to ensure the freedoms that we cherish in this country – thank you for your service to this great nation!
Here in Arizona, and across the country, that love of freedom often translates into a love of the open road, and that heady feeling you can only get on a motorcycle, and so many distinguished veterans are also passionate bikers. The valley of the sun’s cooler fall temperatures and the state’s endless variety of roadways – from the mountainous roads of Flagstaff and the wonders of the Grand Canyon, to the desert hideaways of Tucson – truly mean that our state is a biker’s paradise. In fact, GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons recently opened one of the largest Harley-Davidson dealerships in the world in Scottsdale to accommodate the growing number of motorcycle enthusiasts in the ‘Zona.
As with any activity involving inherent risks, we recommend knowing the motorcycle laws here in Arizona, and also knowing your rights should you need professional consultation in regard to an accident.
Helmet Laws Suck?
Don’t get us wrong – our team loves motorcycles and in Arizona, if you’re over 18, you can ride without a helmet. We’ve heard every argument imaginable – neatly paraphrased into “I love riding without a helmet because my freedom, visibility and hearing is unimpaired” – but also keep in mind that we meet with a lot of riders who have also experienced very serious motorcycle accidents. The common refrain of many motorists who have hit bikers is soberly summarized as: “I didn’t see the biker.”
Marc Lamber, who founded the Plaintiff Personal Injury Practice here at Fennemore Craig is an avid supporter of bikers, and the rights of motorcyclists everywhere – and he’s also a proud proponent of wearing a motorcycle helmet.
“Keep in mind that if you’re involved in a serious accident with another vehicle, it’s often your head that makes contact with the pavement – or the other car,” warns Lamber. “Often, this results in a traumatic brain injury, which involves hemorrhaging and swelling to the brain, resulting in immediate and permanent cognitive impairment.”
Even if you survive such a horrific injury, the consequences may last the rest of your life:
- Loss of short-term memory
- Impairment of problem-solving skills
- Inability to find the right words in conversation
- Emotional outbursts – such as crying when you should be laughing
- Serious residual effects such as early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s
Warriors Have Always Worn Helmets
Just as leather chaps may not prevent you from all types of road rash should you take a spill, helmets are not a cure-all for every type of motorcycle accident, but they’re a good place to start if you’d truly like to relish your time on a bike for years to come. From our perspective, warriors have always worn helmets, from ancient bronze Corinthian helmets designed for combat dating back to 500 BC., to modern day soldier and fighter pilot helmets (not to mention the hockey, football and baseball players you may admire), the legalized thrill of many adrenaline-inducing activities (including riding a motorcycle) are probably best enjoyed with a helmet covering your precious head.
Stay Alive – See & Be Seen
Lamber also advises always riding with your lights on and being highly visible as again, most motorists comment that they just “did not see the motorcyclist” in almost every serious accident involving a biker. Every great biker also rides with extreme awareness – realizing that it’s really their job to avoid accidents in the first place.
Bike Maintenance Is Paramount
Keeping your hog or scooter in tip-top shape should also go without saying. Properly maintained breaks and tires will prolong the life of your ride – and it may just save your life should a situation arise where you’re relying on these mechanisms to properly respond in an instant.
If You Don’t Know – Ask!
Last, but not least, proper training and practice on your bike of choice is imperative for hours of safely enjoying your biker experience. Organizations such as TEAM Arizona offer rider training and motorcycle safety courses to get the most out of you – and your bike.
Happy Veterans Day – and here’s to seeing our warrior veterans out on the open road for years to come ….