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Erie Motorcycle Crash Lawyer : More Bikers, No Helmets Linked to Increase in Fatalities

September 14, 2010, Erie -- A recent Erie Times article laid out the facts about motorcycle accidents in Erie County this year. So far, there have been nine fatal accidents, one short of a record for Erie County (and this number doesn't include three motorcycle accident victims who were in accidents outside the County but died at an Erie trauma center). Already this year, Hamot Medical Center has treated more serious injuries from motorcycle accidents than in any prior year since becoming the region's trauma center. In total, Hamot has admitted 95 motorcycle accident victims, 32 of them spent time in the intensive care unit.

"These aren't injuries where you go back to work the next day," said Pat Gifford, Hamot's injury prevention coordinator.

So, what's behind the numbers? The article identifies two trends as being responsible for the increase in motorcycle injuries and deaths: the growth in the number of motorcyclists and the increase in the number of riders who don't wear helmets.

More Motorcycles and More Motorcyclists

The number of licensed motorcyclists in Erie County has steadily increased over time, going from 18,411 in 2003 to 19,684 in 2009. The number of motorcycle registrations has grown, too. There were 5,812 motorcycles registered in Erie County in 2003. In 2009, there were 7,960 registered motorcycles.

So, more motorcycles means more motorcycle accidents. It's kind of like shark attacks. The more people that go in the water the more attacks we expect to see.

Nothing particularly controversial about these observations. But the helmet thing? Watch out because here we encounter strong feelings.

Motorcycle Helmets and Safety

Since Pennsylvania repealed the portions of the law which required all riders to wear helmets there has been a steady increase in motorcycle deaths statewide: 156 in 2003 to 207 in 2009. Why? "Head injuries are deadly, and helmets protect the head," said Ann Fleming, spokeswoman for the Insurance Institute for Highway safety. Ergo, the more people who fail to protect their head, the more deadly head injuries there will be.

And none of this accounts for what may be the worst case scenario: living after a cataclysmic head injury. Take it from an Erie lawyer who's seen what happens when the heart keeps beating but the brain is destroyed. It's not a place you want to be and it's not a condition you want your family to live with.

I can hear the riders now: "You don't get it, it's a personal freedom thing." "Plenty of people die from injuries even when they're wearing helmets." "Most Accidents are caused by inattentive car drivers." "Education and awareness will increase safety more than helmets will."

You know what? I agree with all of that. I really do. (See, for example, our Erie injury lawyer materials on how car drivers should be more aware and respectful of motorcyclists and our blog on how most motorcycle accidents are caused by inattentive motorists ). I used to ride a bike and, even before the law changed, there were times I'd tool around without a helmet. My brother still rides and I believe he enjoys a ride without a helmet. I'm not even going to advocate here that the law should be changed.

But I will nevertheless argue that if you're going to get on a bike, particularly if you have a spouse or children, you should wear a helmet. If you're in an accident, I think your family will want you to survive. If you die or are left in a vegetative state, I don't think they'll find much comfort in knowing it was someone else's fault.

Look, if you're hurt in a motorcycle accident and you weren't wearing a helmet, we'll fight all day to make sure you and your family are properly compensated. That's what we do as Erie motorcycle accident lawyers. But let's not kid each other. Helmets make sense.

The P & G Pitch

The Erie motorcycle lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., P.C. have experience with cases involving motorcyclists who've been injured in collisions. These cases often result in serious and disabling injuries that require extensive medical care. They also present unusual liability and insurance coverage issues. Our primary goal and objective is to make sure our clients and their families receive the compensation and resources they need to treat and manage their motorcycle accident injury and to compensate them for their losses.

As skilled Erie injury lawyers who have helped clients injured in motorcycle accidents, we understand how to evaluate these cases and help you obtain the funds necessary to compensate you for your harms and losses.

Call Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. today, toll free 877-505-9548 to schedule your free and confidential consultation with an Erie Motorcycle Accident Lawyer.

We will fight for your legal rights to the money and resources you need to fix what can be fixed, help what can be helped and make up for what cannot be fixed or helped.


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