|Health Factors:||Community Safety|
|Decision Makers:||State Government|
|Population Reach:||<1% of WI's population|
|Impact on Disparities:|
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Universal motorcycle helmet laws require anyone riding a motorcycle to wear a helmet. Laws may cover mopeds and scooters as well as motorcycles (CG-Motor vehicle injury).
There is strong evidence that universal motorcycle helmet laws substantially increase helmet use and reduce fatalities and injuries (CG-Motor vehicle injury, Byrnes 2012). Such laws are effective across all age groups, and are equally effective for male and female riders (CG-Motor vehicle injury).
Universal laws are more effective than partial laws; partial laws may not apply to passengers and require only some drivers, such as young or novice drivers, to wear helmets. When states repeal universal laws or replace them with partial laws, helmet use decreases and fatalities and injuries increase. Even though all partial laws require youth helmet use, universal laws more effectively increase helmet use and reduce fatalities and injuries among youth than partial laws. Universal laws are easier to enforce than partial laws because police officers can more easily identify offenders (CG-Motor vehicle injury). In 2013, nearly all motorcyclists wore helmets in states with universal laws, while about half wore them in states without universal laws (NHTSA 2014).
Economic benefits of universal laws substantially outweigh costs. Following implementation, studies have demonstrated savings of $29 to 96 million per 100,000 registered motorcycles in averted productivity losses and health care expenses per year (CG-Motor vehicle injury).
As of 2014, 19 states have universal motorcycle helmet laws, 28 have partial laws, and three (Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire) have no motorcycle helmet law (IIHS-Motorcycle helmets 2014). Many states have repealed universal helmet laws or replaced them with partial laws in the last few decades (CG-Motor vehicle injury). Polling indicates that most Americans support motorcycle helmet laws (Debinski 2014).
Some states require helmets that meet federal performance standards (CG-Motor vehicle injury). Laboratory testing has demonstrated that “novelty” helmets, which do not meet federal standards, do not adequately protect motorcyclists (IIHS-Motorcycle helmets 2014). Observational research suggests that about 7% of motorcyclists wore helmets that did not meet federal standards in 2013 (IIHS-Motorcycle helmets 2014).
Wisconsin requires helmets for persons under 18 or those operating with an instructional permit (GHSA-WI). In 2011, 91% of people who died in motorcycle crashes in Wisconsin were not wearing helmets (NCSL-Motorcycle).
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