The type of low-speed accidents that typically become fender-benders in passenger vehicles can quickly turn deadly if they involve motorcycles. This month, a boy in Nevada was thrown to his death from a motorcycle he was riding with his brother and father. They were riding through their neighborhood and were hit by a car that did not see them coming.
The child who died was not wearing a proper safety helmet, as required by Nevada law for all motorcycle riders. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that wearing a helmet can reduce the likelihood of fatalities in motorcycle crashes by 37 percent. Head injuries are the top cause of death for riders without helmets.
Nevada's Helmet Requirement
Nevada law requires motorcycle operators to obtain a specific license, but does not limit passengers. Young children are allowed to ride on the back of motorcycles providing they have are wearing proper helmets (which do not include novelty toy helmets or even some off-road helmets designed for ATVs or other vehicles).
There are also some products on the market to make it safer to carry younger passengers on a motorcycle, including the Child Riding Belt.
Nevada is one of 20 states that require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Many other states have loosened their helmet laws in recent years, and motorcyclists' deaths have also spiked during the same period.
Nevada tallied 59 motorcyclist fatalities in 2008, including 15 deaths of unhelmeted riders. Federal transportation officials say at least six of these deaths could have been prevented with the proper use of helmets.
Motorcycles are becoming more popular among middle-aged men, with a rapid rise in motorcycle injuries and fatalities among men over 40. By contrast, fatal motorcycle accidents involving children remain relatively rare. In 2008, Nevada saw three deaths of people under 20 on motorcycles.
Speak to an Attorney
As we see more motorcycles on our roadways, we also see more accidents involving motorcycles that often lead to serious injuries and even death. If you, or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle-related accident, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced person injury attorney can assist you in evaluating your case and help you determine the best course of action for you and your family.