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Not only do recently released injury and fatality statistics for 2004 in the state of Florida dispel predictions of a blood bath following repeal of that state's helmet law, but reveal that motorcyclists wearing helmets were more likely to sustain an injury or suffer a fatality than their non-helmeted counterparts.

According to the recently released, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles annual Traffic Crash Statistics Report for 2004, of the 388 motorcycle riders killed in crashes on Florida roads last year, over 51% were wearing helmets. The crash facts also demonstrate that riders wearing helmets were more likely to sustain injuries than non-helmeted riders.

In each of the statistical focus topics presented in the study, the percentage numbers were very close between helmeted and non- helmeted riders, except for non-injury crashes. The study stated that non- helmeted riders were 20% more likely to walk away from a crash without injuries than riders who were wearing helmets.

The huge increase in death and injury to non-helmeted motorcycle riders, predicted by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration) in a report released this summer, has not been substantiated, and in fact was disproved.

"The numbers are going to disappoint the proponents of helmet laws while simultaneously confirming the facts presented to the public by ABATE of Florida, Inc.," stated James "Doc" Reichenbach, President of ABATE of Florida, Inc., who's group lobbied strongly for motorcycle helmet reform in 2000. "ABATE of Florida has spent years focusing on motorcycle related safety issues, including crash prevention and stiffer penalties for negligent vehicle operators who kill and injure motorcycle riders."

ABATE of Florida, Inc. is spreading the word about motorcycle safety and awareness through high school drivers education programs, posters, flyers, the presentation of a free Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Program, along with a series of annual safety seminars for the motorcycle riding and non-riding public.

In conjunction with the Florida legislature, ABATE is putting Billboards throughout the state to encourage drivers to be aware of motorcycles and to drive alertly.

Reichenbach, who also serves as Chairman of the Board for the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM), added that "The numbers from the crash report for 2004 may favor our point of view, but even one death is too many."

reprinted with permission


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