Helmet personal freedom can cost taxpayer

Jan. 28, 2008 at 6:10 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The personal freedom issue concerning motorcycle helmets should be balanced against the cost to society for catastrophic head injury, a U.S. doctor said.

Referring to a recent review of motorcycle helmet studies by B.C. Liu of Oxford University, published in the Cochrane Library, Dr. Robert McNamara of Temple University in Philadelphia and a spokesman for the Academy of Emergency Medicine, said "the review confirms the belief of specialists in emergency medicine and should put an end to any further debate about the protective role of helmets regarding head injury in motorcycle riders."

The personal freedom issue, McNamara said, must be balanced with the cost to society of the care of patients with catastrophic head injury. "Riders cite the pleasure of going helmet-less, but often the cost of care for the injured motorcyclist is passed on to society at large," McNamara said in a statement.

McNamara said he fears riders may not fully understand the scientifically demonstrated level of risk involved in riding without a helmet and just assume the risks are acceptable if the law does not prohibit it. In In that context.

"The American Academy of Emergency Medicine believes that states should require helmet use in all age groups," McNamara said.

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