Guide to Arkansas Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Arkansas is home to more than 76,000 motorcyclists for good reason. Bikers here enjoy beautiful winding scenic rides during a large portion of the year. From the Arkansas Pig Trail to the Melbourne Run, there is no shortage of fun motorcycle rides in the “Natural State.” As a motorcyclist here in Arkansas, it is important to follow the rules of the road, as well as all applicable motorcycle helmet laws. Motorcycle helmet laws can prevent you from suffering serious injury and harm if you are involved in an accident. In fact, it is often your only form of protection during a crash. But are you required to wear a helmet at all times? What happens if you do not wear a helmet? Understanding Arkansas’ motorcycle helmet laws is an important part of staying safe out on the open road.
Motorcycle Helmet Law in Arkansas
Helmet laws help protect motorcyclists from suffering serious injury and harm. However, not all states have universal helmet laws. Arkansas is one of them. In 1997, the state’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law was repealed . Instead, legislators enacted a law that only required motorcyclists and passengers under the age of 21 to wear a helmet. This repeal had significant consequences for motorcyclists.
A 6-year retrospective study found that after the repeal, motorcyclists had significantly more severe head and neck injuries. In addition, they suffered higher medical expenses and more fatalities. The researchers concluded that the repeal of the mandatory helmet law was associated with an increase in the non-helmeted crash scene fatality rate and disproportionately higher hospital admission rates.
After Arkansas repealed their universal helmet law, more riders and passengers were seen on their bikes without a helmet. In states like Arkansas who do not have a universal helmet law, only 60 percent of riders actually wear helmets. In mandatory helmet states, 97 percent of bikers wear helmets while riding.
Why Should You Wear a Helmet?
Even though Arkansas motorcyclists 21 and older are not required to wear a helmet when riding, it is still the safest thing to do. Helmets decrease the chances of suffering a serious and life-threatening injury. In fact, studies have shown that helmets reduce the risk of death by up to 42 percent . Unhelmeted riders are also 3x more likely to suffer serious and fatal traumatic brain injuries than helmeted riders. According to the CDC , one study found that wearing a motorcycle helmet actually reduces your risk of suffering a brain injury by up to 69 percent.
Unfortunately, some bikers believe that wearing a helmet increases their risk of suffering neck injuries. They are also concerned that it will impact their peripheral vision and hearing. However, there are no credible studies that back up these fears and concerns. In fact, more than a dozen studies have actually found the opposite to be true. Wearing a helmet does not restrict your ability to hear horns or traffic noises, nor does it obstruct your view when changing lanes.
Wear DOT-Approved Helmets Only
In order to protect yourself from serious head injuries, it is important to choose a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet. You can choose from full face helmets, open face helmets and half helmets. Full face helmets provide the most coverage and protection. Half helmets provide the least amount of coverage, but are better than not wearing a helmet at all. However, studies have shown that bikers wearing half helmets were twice as likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries than those wearing full face or open face helmets.
Wear High Visibility Helmets
Another aspect to consider when choosing a helmet is visibility. While black may seem cool, it is less likely to help you stand out in traffic and on the open road. Consider a colorful helmet that has reflective properties as well. If your motorcycle helmet does not have reflective strips, you can purchase reflective tape to add to it.
Why is color and reflection so important? It can help other drivers see you on the road! A study by BMJ found that riders wearing bright or reflective motorcycle gear had a 37 percent lower risk of crash. When riders simply wore a white helmet, they had a 24 percent lower risk of getting into a motorcycle accident than riders who wore black helmets.
Injured in an Arkansas Motorcycle Accident?
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, we want to be the only law firm you call. With six offices in Arkansas and Tennessee —Little Rock, Fayetteville, Conway, Hot Springs, Bryant and Memphis—our motorcycle injury lawyers are here whenever you need guidance!
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Contact Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Injury Lawyers today. Fill out a free contact request form, which only takes a minute, or simply dial (800) 767-4815 and tell us your story. We want to help you through this difficult time. Call us today!