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Repeal of Motorcycle Helmet Laws Linked to Increase in Organ Donations

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Some motorcylists advocate for no mandatory helmet laws. It's a hotly debated topic amongst motorcyle enthusiasts and safety experts. Safety experts aren't without their evidence showing that wearing a helmet is much safer than riding without one on your bike, though. In fact, a recent study showed that states that repeal mandatory helmet laws experience a rise in organ donations from motor vehicle fatalities.

That new study was conducted by researchers at Michigan State University. The study authors found that organ donations due to motor vehicle fatalities increased by 10% when states repealed mandatory helmet laws. Furthermore, nearly 90% of the motorcyle deaths were men. Overall, the authors concluded that every death of a helmetless motorcyclist prevents or delays the death of .33 people waiting for an organ donation.

This isn't new evidence, however. A surgeon recalled a discussion with two colleagues before California's mandatory helmet law took effect. Those colleagues, also surgeons, said that motorcyle fatalities are their number one source of donor organs because riders are typically healthy and young with no other injuries to the body, besides the head. Currently, only three states do not have a mandatory helmet law, although many states only enforce the mandatory helmet rule for riders under the age of 18. Michigan governor Rick Snyder recently signed a bill into law repealing Michigan's requirement that was in place for nearly half a century, despite protests from insurance companies and health care providers.