All too often, bicyclists and motorcyclists do not wear helmets. The recent change to the Michigan Motorcycle Law, which now allows motorcyclists to choose for the themselves if they want to wear a helmet, has only increased the community's acceptance of helmet-less riders being simply an expression of freedom of choice. But what riders forget is that there are many elements out of their own control.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 677 bicyclists died in 2011 in the United States. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce this number, as can other precautions. When a bike is on the road, it is considered by law to be a moving vehicle. As suggested by the Michigan Department of State, this means that there are a number of measures a rider should take:
- Always ride with other vehicles (contrary to walking or running on a road.)
- Obey the rules of the road as any other vehicle operator; this means stop at stop signs and lights and use hand signals to indicate turns
- Wear a helmet and reflective clothing
- Yield to pedestrians
- Never ride drunk or distracted
- Ride as far to the right as possible
- Attach a red and white reflector when riding at night
Following these suggestions does not guarantee the absence of an accident; however, the precautions are proven to decrease the risk of a fatality. If no other measures are taken, at least, wear a helmet.