Syracuse Motorcycle Accident Attorney Says New York Helmet Law Saves Lives

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The tragic death of a biker who was killed while protesting the state’s helmet requirement drives home the fact that motorcyclists need to wear helmets to protect themselves, Syracuse accident and injury lawyer Scott C. Gottlieb says.

As a New York personal injury attorney who has seen up close the tragic consequences of failing to wear a helmet, I’m convinced that the need for personal safety outweighs the personal liberty interests that are at stake.

News of a motorcyclist who died last week in a helmet protest ride through the Town of Onondaga drives home the fact that helmets – required by New York law or not – prevent injuries and save lives, Syracuse motorcycle accident attorney Scott C. Gottlieb said today.

“I respect the personal liberty concerns that are voiced by many New York motorcyclists who oppose our state’s helmet laws, but that doesn’t change the fact that they and their passengers should wear helmets at all times when riding,” said Gottlieb, whose Syracuse personal injury law firm, Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, represents motor vehicle accident victims and their families throughout central New York.

“As a New York personal injury attorney who has seen up close the tragic consequences of failing to wear a helmet, I’m convinced that the need for personal safety outweighs the personal liberty interests that are at stake,” Gottlieb said.

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, the 55-year-old Parish man who died in the July 2 accident was riding in an annual Helmet Protest Run staged by the Onondaga County chapter of American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE).

According to the ABATE of New York website, the organization “encourages the voluntary use of helmets, gloves, sturdy footwear, and protective garments by adult motorcyclists, as part of a comprehensive motorcycle safety program. We do not support laws mandating use of helmets at all times by all riders.”

The Post-Standard reported that the man lost control of his 1983 Harley Davidson motorcycle and went over the handlebars. He was rushed to Upstate University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Law enforcement officials told the newspaper that the man might have survived if he had been wearing a Department of Transportation-approved helmet, which New York law requires.

“Numerous studies have shown that helmets reduce the risk of catastrophic and fatal injuries in motorcycle crashes, including head / brain injuries or spinal cord injuries that can cause paralysis,” Gottlieb said. “Riding without a helmet isn’t worth the danger.”

According to Gottlieb, even the safest motorcycle rider and passengers face the potential of being severely injured in an accident. One of the leading causes of motorcycle crashes, injuries and deaths is the negligence of other drivers who fail to properly share the road with motorcyclists, he said.

Wearing a helmet is crucial, he said, because motorcycles are significantly outweighed by other vehicles on the road, which often leads to the motorcyclist suffering the greater harm in an accident.

The most recent statistics from the N.Y. Department of Motor Vehicles show that out of the 155 people who died in New York motorcycle accidents in 2009, 151 were either the motorcycle operator or passenger. Overall, there were 5,150 accidents involving motorcycles in the state during that year, including 4,347 that resulted in non-fatal bodily injuries.

According to Gottlieb, when those accidents occur, insurance companies often will try to shift blame to a motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet. That’s why it’s important to seek the advice and representation of an experienced New York motorcycle accident attorney who is familiar with those issues, he said.

“The right to receive compensation from careless motorists who cause injuries needs to be protected,” Gottlieb said. “Our law firm will always stand up for the rights of injured motorcyclists, whether they were wearing a helmet or not.”

About Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates

Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates is a Syracuse accident and injury law firm that handles all types of personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases, including cases involving drunk-driving accidents, wrongful death, cancer misdiagnosis, dog bites, hunting accidents, birth injuries, brain injuries, construction accidents, fall down injuries and insurance settlements. The firm regularly employs accident reconstruction experts, investigators, photographers and economists to assist in evaluating and preparing personal injury cases. The firm features offices in Binghamton, Elmira, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. For more information, call (800) TALK-LAW or use the firm’s online contact form.

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