helmets: financial costs standpoint - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 02:00 AM Thread Starter
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helmets: financial costs standpoint

in the debate on helmet laws, occasionally i'll see the mention that if more/all bikers wore helmets, or were forced to wear helmets by law, then it would be cost effective for all of us; that bikers who don't wear helmets actually contribute to higher medical costs/insurance/emergency services. the reasoning, if i understand it correctly, is that a dead biker manufactures more/higher costs than a biker who survives an accident, and that there would be fewer dead bikers if everyone was wearing a helmet.

personal preferences aside (and agreeing that a helmet does improve your chance of survival in accidents), i've never actually seen this backed up with any actual facts/figures which begs the question: is this true? would taxes/insurance/etc actually be lower if there were fewer biker fatalities and universal helmet laws? the wrench that i throw into this is that a biker who would have died in an accident if not for wearing a helmet is now alive but has accumulated a mountain of medical bills/lost wages/etc. doesn't this offset things?

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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 12:48 PM
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I'm not sure if it's dead bikers vs. surviving bikers so much as badly injured "naked" bikers vs. less badly injured bikers who are wearing full safety gear... if you think about the amount of money spent on an ambulance and hours of surgery and potentially months of rehab it's a lot worse than the guy who slides along the road and has some road rash and maybe a broken leg. Then there is the whole argument where the issue is about trying to protect the people and keep them alive rather than letting Darwin take it's course.

I'm not saying that wearing safety gear will magically save you in a really bad accident, I'm saying that my understanding of the argument you mention is that wearing safety gear will theoretically lessen the impact of personal injury to any biker unfortunate enough to be in an accident.

My personal feeling is that motorcycle safety gear is like guns in America... everyone has their own dearly held beliefs and it's pretty hard to make a person see the reasoning of the opposite side as valid so I tend to not discuss either unless I am with like minded people
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by M'Lady View Post
I'm not sure if it's dead bikers vs. surviving bikers so much as badly injured "naked" bikers vs. less badly injured bikers who are wearing full safety gear... if you think about the amount of money spent on an ambulance and hours of surgery and potentially months of rehab it's a lot worse than the guy who slides along the road and has some road rash and maybe a broken leg. Then there is the whole argument where the issue is about trying to protect the people and keep them alive rather than letting Darwin take it's course.

I'm not saying that wearing safety gear will magically save you in a really bad accident, I'm saying that my understanding of the argument you mention is that wearing safety gear will theoretically lessen the impact of personal injury to any biker unfortunate enough to be in an accident.

My personal feeling is that motorcycle safety gear is like guns in America... everyone has their own dearly held beliefs and it's pretty hard to make a person see the reasoning of the opposite side as valid so I tend to not discuss either unless I am with like minded people
Very well said. Especially since there is very little unmanipulated evidence either direction.

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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I'm saying that my understanding of the argument you mention is that wearing safety gear will theoretically lessen the impact of personal injury to any biker unfortunate enough to be in an accident.
for the sake of this discussion, i'm trying to leave out all personal preferences of safety gear, and just try to gain a better understanding of helmets vs. no helmets, from a purely cost standpoint. so it's not a matter of wearing safety gear in general, but solely the cost impact of comparing bikers who died from injuries where a helmet would kept them alive, or greatly improved their chances of survival, versus bikers who lived thanks in large part because of the use of a helmet.

so just bouncing off of this platform, would it actually be cheaper or not if we were all wearing helmets? what about for the individual who lived/died and the monetary impact on them and/or the next of kin? there are tons of factors to draw on. the cost of enforcement, marketing/education, tax implications, insurance premiums, etc.

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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 11:55 PM
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Is insurance any cheaper in a state that has mandatory helmet laws compared to one that doesn't?

Personally I think the insurance company is going to make a profit on you whether you have a helmet or not.
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-12-2015, 02:46 PM
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I think it should be an individual's decision to wear a helmet or not. We don't need the government to make us wear something that we may or may not want to wear. As for cost of insurance, healthcare, or safety gear cost isn't a factor. The price it is now won't change if every state required a helmet.
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-13-2015, 02:00 PM
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I think that it would be impossible to really do a side by side comparison to see if it actually saves money. As you mentioned, you theoretically now have people surviving accidents and having high cost recoveries. Which may or may not be offset by people having relatively "minor" accidents because they were wearing a helmet with low cost recoveries instead of high cost recoveries. But I honestly don't think even an insurance actuary can really predict all this. Though I am sure they try. I am in a mandatory helmet state, and our insurance rates are super high anyway. It would be interesting to see if people voluntarily wore helmets if offered significant rebates by their insurance companies with the caveat that any accident you are in with no helmet will not be covered or something. There are several states surrounding Mass that have no helmet laws and it's not at all unusual to see people pull over after the state line and remove their helmets.

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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-13-2015, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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It would be interesting to see if people voluntarily wore helmets if offered significant rebates by their insurance companies with the caveat that any accident you are in with no helmet will not be covered or something.
does anyone know of any insurance companies that cover less, or not at all, if the biker in an accident is found to have not been wearing proper safety gear? like in a mandatory helmet state?

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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 08:43 AM
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I don't, but precedent is set by cagers that when you are law breaking you're still covered (ie speeding, running redlights) ...but I do know that regardless of who caused the accident if you were in one in Massachusetts and weren't wearing a helmet you would definitely get a ticket.

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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-14-2015, 11:41 AM
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in the debate on helmet laws, occasionally i'll see the mention that if more/all bikers wore helmets, or were forced to wear helmets by law, then it would be cost effective for all of us; that bikers who don't wear helmets actually contribute to higher medical costs/insurance/emergency services. the reasoning, if i understand it correctly, is that a dead biker manufactures more/higher costs than a biker who survives an accident, and that there would be fewer dead bikers if everyone was wearing a helmet.

personal preferences aside (and agreeing that a helmet does improve your chance of survival in accidents), i've never actually seen this backed up with any actual facts/figures which begs the question: is this true? would taxes/insurance/etc actually be lower if there were fewer biker fatalities and universal helmet laws? the wrench that i throw into this is that a biker who would have died in an accident if not for wearing a helmet is now alive but has accumulated a mountain of medical bills/lost wages/etc. doesn't this offset things?
You are correct and ... We can pick on any activity and say if people behaved a certain way cost to society would be lower.

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