Monday, June 19, 2006

Fatalities Have Soared in Florida Since Repeal of Motorcycle Helmet Law

MELBOURNE, Florida — Motorcycle fatalities involving riders without helmets have soared in Florida in the nearly six years since Gov. Jeb Bush repealed the state's mandatory helmet law, a newspaper reported Sunday. A Florida Today analysis of federal motorcycle crash statistics found "unhelmeted" deaths in Florida rose from 22 in 1998 and 1999, the years before the helmet law repeal, to 250 in 2004, the most recent year of available data. Total motorcycle deaths in the state have increased 67 percent, from 259 in 2000 to 432 in 2004, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics.

Records, though, also show motorcycle registrations have increased 87 percent in Florida since Bush signed the helmet law repeal on July 1, 2000.

(So wait just a damn minute here. Deaths rose 67% and registrations rose 87%? Yet the headline screams that because of the law, riders are dying at a pace never seen before? Plus, the article only says "unhelmeted" deaths. Did any of those people die from injuries other than a head injury? A helmet doesn't protect your lungs, heart, bones or intestines.

If anybody stops to do the math the headline should read; "Unhelmeted Riders Are 20% safer than years before. The percentage of deaths of riders in Florida is plummeting.)

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