A Hollywood woman, not wearing a helmet, was killed in a Motorcycle crash on Interstate 95.
Cheryl Aletta Adams, 38, of Hollywood, was the passenger on a motorcycle being driven by Mustafa Filiz, 39, of Miami.
The motorcycle was traveling north on Interstate 95 at Hallandale Beach Boulevard at about 11:45 p.m., when it slammed into the rear of a road maintenance vehicle. Both Adams and Filiz, who were not wearing helmets, were ejected from the motorcycle. Adams died at the scene and Filiz was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital, where he is recovering from serious injuries.
While motorcyclist are not required to wear helmets, one has to wonder as the number of fatalities that could be prevented each year. In 2006, 41 percent of fatally injured motorcycle operators and 55 percent of fatally injured passengers were not wearing helmets. That same year, the NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,658 motorcyclists and that 752 more could have been saved had they been wearing helmets.
National studies over the years have shown definite safety advantages to wearing a helmet. For example, two-thirds of riders who wear helmets are less likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries than people who do not. A 2006 study showed that nine of the 10 states with the worst motorcycle death rates don’t require adults to wear helmets. Meanwhile, seven of the 10 states with the lowest death rates had mandatory helmet laws.
In 1995, Congress stopped withholding highway funds from states without universal helmet laws. And by 1997, states across the country began relaxing helmet laws.
According to the Department of Transportation, that has led to a drop off in motorcyclists using helmets. And the subsequent result is that annual motorcycle deaths have risen sharply from 2,161 in 1996 to 4,810 in 2006, the latest data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Statistics also show fatality rates for all other modes of passenger transportation are falling.
So why do riders not wear helmets? Most say that the open road and wind in your hair is the ultimate freedom, That’s why they ride. At some point riders need to make a judgment call as to the cost of that freedom.
As a Miami Personal Injury lawyer I have represented a number of motorcyclist, and beyond the jury bias against motorcyclist the most frequent question is whether the rider was wearing a helmet. Through the use of qualified experts we have been able to obtain significant recoveries for motorcyclist who sustained head injuries and were not wearing helmets.