At OnderLaw, we’ve seen our fair share of accidents, injuries, and tragedies. Yet, some remain as jarring as motorcycle incidents. The recent BikeFest at Lake of the Ozarks, which saw over a thousand bike riders congregate, brought this ever-pertinent issue of motorcycle safety back into focus.
While Missouri law allows motorcyclists over the age of 26 to make the choice of wearing a helmet, we must ask ourselves: should safety be a matter of personal preference?
We respect and champion personal freedoms. But, with freedoms come responsibilities, especially when lives are on the line. As Thomas Speer rightly pointed out, “America’s kind of always been a freedom thing,” but he also mentions that helmets have been proven to save lives. And this isn’t just a whimsical assertion. The statistics back it up.
According to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety’s 2022 report:
– There’s a staggering 38% increase in deaths for riders who choose not to wear a helmet.
– A heart-wrenching 81% of motorcycle accidents result in fatalities.
– Over 620 souls were lost in motorcycle incidents just last year. 566 of those were men and 54 were women.
These numbers are not just statistics. They represent fathers, mothers, siblings, and friends. They underscore the very real, very tragic consequences of neglecting safety.
Let’s look at a more recent incident: Just this Sunday, two individuals were hospitalized due to a crash on 1070 Union Electric Road. Fortunately, their injuries were minor. But not everyone is so lucky.
We’re not here to paint a grim picture but to emphasize a crucial point: safety, especially on the road, is a shared responsibility. While it’s true that the Missouri Department of Transportation advises riders to wear helmets, drive slowly, and abstain from operating under the influence, these are not just recommendations. They are lifelines.
BikeFest goers’ sentiments echo a common theme: the decision to wear a helmet is, ultimately, up to the rider. But with over 5,500 deaths nationwide caused by motorcycle accidents in 2021 alone, maybe it’s time we rethink our approach to safety.
At OnderLaw, we believe in informed choices. Helmets are not just about the law or personal freedom; they are about protecting ourselves, our families, and other road users. Let’s pledge to make roads safer for everyone. Wear a helmet, drive responsibly, and remember: it’s not just about you, it’s about all of us.
Stay safe and ride responsibly. Your life and the lives of others may just depend on it.