The same qualities that make California so attractive for tourists and residents–warm weather, sunshine and unique scenery-also make it a popular state for motorcyclists. California is home to more than 1.2 million motorcycle riders, but every year, thousands are involved in collisions.
Because of the increase of motorcycle-car collisions in California, the California Highway Patrol, CHP is creating two new safety awareness campaigns that will raise awareness of motorists sharing the road with motorcycles. In 2008 there were more than 500 motorcyclists that died from collisions with other vehicles; even with helmets on, the risk of traumatic brain injury, TBI is high.
California has the highest rate of TBI’s in the entire nation. 75% of TBI’s come from either motor vehicle crashes or falls and can start as a concussion. Not all head injuries are considered a TBI. A TBI happens only when the brain collides with the bony skull and causes damage to the blood vessels and brain tissue. Furthermore, this damage can interrupt nerve signals going from the brain to the rest of the body, causing a variety of other ailments.
Symptoms of TBI can be subtle and may not even occur until days or weeks after a serious injury. Annual medical costs in the US are over 60 billion a year for hospitalizations and ultimately long-term health care needs. Serious cases of TBI can leave victims needing lifelong rehabilitation medical care.
Just last week a young 27 year old Cal State University – Northridge student was merging on the 101 freeway when the motorcycle she was riding on was struck from behind. In most motorcycle-car accident, 75% of the automobile drivers never see the motorcyclist. She was killed instantly. If injured many motorcyclists do not have adequate health insurance. See this article if you do not have enough medical insurance to cover your injuries.
One of the important factors in creating a safer highway environment is simply being aware of your surroundings. Being a little extra observant can reduce accidents dramatically. The other factor is having motorcyclist reduce their speed on the highway. As in auto crashes, speed kills.
Lastly, the helmet has been saving lives for years now. Now the second generations of helmets are safer than ever and can reduce head injuries by 67%.
The new SuperSkin created by the Belgian company, Lazer Helmets. After years of research they have created a helmet that acts similar to your own bodies’ natural skin to protect your skull. Your scalp actually prevents rotational head injuries in most mild cases and that’s what this new helmet does. It adds an elastic membrane over the hard helmet to decrease rotational forces when a head hits a vehicle or asphalt. It actually cuts the rotational effect by 60% in the critical milliseconds following a blow. This can significantly reduce TBI and other serious head injuries.
The CHP encourages all riders to sign up for their California Motorcyclist Safety Program or CMSP. These courses will teach the basics of safety as well as sharpen the skills of a more experienced rider. For further information, you can contact the CMSP.