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#33668 - 06/10/13 11:21 PM Helmets continue to divide riders
**sTinKfOot** Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 1065
Loc: Chester Co. PA
Helmets continue to divide riders
Motorcycle, ATV enthusiasts still arguing both sides as fatalities increase

June 8, 2013
By Zach Geiger (zgeiger@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror
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Educational programs are crucial to keeping motorcycle and ATV operators safe while on two or four wheels, but riders are split on whether helmets and safety gear can minimize the effects of a crash.

Safety equipment does not always change the outcome of a crash, but it can be the difference between moderate and serious injury, said Steve Seltzer, owner of Steve Seltzer Powersports in Altoona.

Nationally, the number of motorcycle deaths more than doubled between 1997 and 2011, according to a recent Governors Highway Safety Administration report. There were more than 5,000 motorcycle fatalities in the United States in 2012.

"The right gear will make all the difference in the world," Seltzer said. "You just have to be careful."

But the decision to wear a helmet lies with the motorcycle operator, said Charles Umbenhauer, a lobbyist for the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education.

"We're not telling anybody not to wear a helmet," Umbenhauer said, adding the decision to wear or not to wear protective gear while operating a motorcycle should be left up to adults who are properly licensed to ride.

Recent fatalities from motorcycle and ATV accidents have left area communities searching for answers on how to better protect riders.

Last week, a Mineral Point man was killed and a woman injured after crashing an ATV in Cambria Township. Neither individual was wearing a helmet.

In May, a 15-year-old Northern Bedford High School student was killed while racing his ATV at the Bedford County Dirt Racers track near New Enterprise. The boy was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Parents need to make sure their children are supervised while riding off-road dirt bikes or ATVs, Seltzer said.

And warning labels about a rider's age, size and skill level should be obeyed at all times for the rider's safety, he said.

Seltzer said ATV riders can practice their skills in the ATV Safety Institute's ATV rider course. The program is similar to Pennsylvania's Basic Rider Course for motorcycle riders and teaches ATV riders about safety equipment, proper riding techniques and vehicle safety.

ATV Safety Institute officials could not be reached for comment Friday.

In 2012, there were 210 motorcycle fatalities on Pennsylvania roads. Of those, 100 riders were wearing helmets, 104 were not, and 6 were unknown, Umbenhauer said.

"The thing that disturbs me about how they keep those statistics, the 104 that were killed that were not wearing helmets, that doesn't mean that's how they died," Umbenhauer said. "Motorcycle accidents are pretty intense happenings and a lot of things are going on."

Blunt force trauma, bleeding and other factors all contribute to the trauma a rider suffers during a crash, Umbenhauer said.

Umbenhauer pointed to a recent study which showed motorcycle deaths have increased 35 percent since the helmet law was modified in 2003.

"That's a true statement," Umbenhauer said. "But you have to take into consideration that since that time frame, 2003, motorcycle registrations are up by 53 percent."

"You have twice as many motorcycles on the highway than you did in 2003. You actually have lower fatalities."

ABATE is a lobbyist group for on-road motorcycles, and not ATV or dirt bike riders, Umbenhauer said.

Alcohol and speed are critical factors in both ATV and motorcycle crashes, both riders said.

"So many accidents have alcohol as a factor," Seltzer said. "It's a shame. You just see time and time again where that's an issue."

ATV riders who drink are also at a higher risk of accidents, Seltzer said.

"Twenty-nine percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involved a motorcycle rider who was alcohol impaired, 21 percent were speed related," Umbenhauer said. "So right there you have two factors that are in complete control of the operator of the motorcycle."

ATV and motorcycle riders need to practice their skills with rider safety courses and know their limits while riding, Seltzer said.

"You just have to be careful," Seltzer said. "To me, it's all about managing the risk ... and you need to do everything you can to put the risks in your favor."

Mirror Staff Writer Zach Geiger is at 946-7535.

Copyright 2013 The Altoona Mirror. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/572339.html
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#33672 - 06/11/13 01:43 AM Re: Helmets continue to divide riders [Re: **sTinKfOot**]
jim550grizzly Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/21/11
Posts: 37
Loc: carlisle pa
I survived motorcycle wreck due to wearing a helmet
_________________________
2011 Yamaha 550 Grizzly

MEMBER OF THE ANTHRACITE TRAIL RIDERS

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#33676 - 06/11/13 09:43 AM Re: Helmets continue to divide riders [Re: **sTinKfOot**]
Yamsaab Offline
journeyman

Registered: 02/26/13
Posts: 86
Loc: Dillsburg, PA
To me wearing a helmet is like putting on a seatbelt in a car. It's just something that I do automatically and don't question it. I'd much rather have the helmet take the blow of a protruding rock off road then my skull.

I think PA laws are somewhat backwards in the fact that street riders have an option to wear a helmet but those driving cars must wear seatbelts. I believe everyone riding motorcycles should wear a helmet, there's no reason not to.
_________________________
Vintage Yamaha Connoisseur

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#33680 - 06/11/13 10:56 AM Re: Helmets continue to divide riders [Re: Yamsaab]
fuzzy52 Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 38
Loc: Lancaster County, Pa
Originally Posted By: Yamsaab
To me wearing a helmet is like putting on a seatbelt in a car. It's just something that I do automatically and don't question it. I'd much rather have the helmet take the blow of a protruding rock off road then my skull.

I think PA laws are somewhat backwards in the fact that street riders have an option to wear a helmet but those driving cars must wear seatbelts. I believe everyone riding motorcycles should wear a helmet, there's no reason not to.



You are right on the mark Mr. yamsaab.. No brainer if the old head hits the road surface without a helmet there will be more "damage" for sure. Even minor road rash on the other parts of the body is very costly at medical center/hospitals. A lot higher medical cost on the head and brain injuries. I have paid all my own health insurance for years (being self employed)and it is totally got out of site on my health provider premiums within the last few years and killing me.. ( United Health Care is the provider) Since all medical recovery charges goes into a "pool" and that inturn sets the Insurance Companies rates charged,,( plus the bozo(s) in Washinton ) how much am I paying "extra" for some clown the that did not wear safety equipment.
Just my 2cents,,correct me if I am wrong. fuzzy

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#33686 - 06/11/13 01:05 PM Re: Helmets continue to divide riders [Re: **sTinKfOot**]
TUT Offline


Registered: 04/18/12
Posts: 598
Loc: Mercer Pa
I survived a HARD hit from a tree that cracked the helmet, also survived more than 4 roll-overs in cars because of my seat belt. To those who don't like either maybe volunteer to scrape up the gray matter after a crash! (witnessed it twice)
_________________________
2002 Kawasaki 650 prairie, ITP rims/hole shot atr's, high lifter belt/springs, HMF pipe, warn winch
2004 Bombardier outlander 400 xt Big horns, warn winch

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#33695 - 06/11/13 09:59 PM Re: Helmets continue to divide riders [Re: **sTinKfOot**]
numbnutz Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/27/12
Posts: 309
Loc: pa.usa
I've survived multiple car roll overs and bike accidents and ATV mishaps now the car accidents I never used a seatbelt (I was lucky because they also said I would have been crushed had I been) but I do now cause I hate hearing the dinging sound . Now I've always wear a helmet on a bike or ATV I feel atleast if I have it on there's something that may take the sting out of whatever I'm hitting and I also wear boots cause they seem to protect an important part with riding as we've probably all had times Where we had to get off in a hurry and the support usually helps with ankle support and sometimes even when jumping and whatnot feet slip off
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2013 grizzly 550 fi EPs
2000 quad master 500
2003 bombardier rally 200
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#33700 - 06/11/13 10:17 PM Re: Helmets continue to divide riders [Re: **sTinKfOot**]
Myleslong Offline


Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 1163
Loc: Lycoming County, PA
I survived over a dozen falls from a airplane and I know I certainly would have died had I not worn my parachute. Heck I almost deployed the reserve once.

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#33710 - 06/12/13 02:01 AM Re: Helmets continue to divide riders [Re: TUT]
BIGJIM Offline


Registered: 01/03/11
Posts: 559
Loc: Lawrence County
Originally Posted By: TUT
I survived a HARD hit from a tree that cracked the helmet, also survived more than 4 roll-overs in cars because of my seat belt. To those who don't like either maybe volunteer to scrape up the gray matter after a crash! (witnessed it twice)


4 ROLL-OVERS!!!!! shock
Remind me to never to car pool with you to any of our group rides......
ohnoohnoohnoohno
_________________________
2002 Yamaha Grizzly 660
2006 Yamaha Bruin 350
2005 Yamaha Grizzly 125

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#33767 - 06/13/13 12:58 PM Re: Helmets continue to divide riders [Re: **sTinKfOot**]
JustinHEMI Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 08/15/10
Posts: 212
Loc: Pittsburgh
I survived my ATV coming down flat on top of me, in the desert of Arizona, thanks to my helmet.

I'll never ride without one, and I think those that ride without them are stupid, but I also think it should be their choice.

Justin
_________________________
2012 Kawi Brute Force 750i EPS.

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#33772 - 06/13/13 03:43 PM Re: Helmets continue to divide riders [Re: **sTinKfOot**]
TUT Offline


Registered: 04/18/12
Posts: 598
Loc: Mercer Pa
LOL I was young and stupid !! now old (waiting for the wise thing to happen) It's been a long time, one was in my buddies front yard ! It's really more like 7, one accident I went once end over, then barrel rolled 3 times, landed on the wheels and crawled out back window! Didn't even go to hospital ! bangin
_________________________
2002 Kawasaki 650 prairie, ITP rims/hole shot atr's, high lifter belt/springs, HMF pipe, warn winch
2004 Bombardier outlander 400 xt Big horns, warn winch

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