There are many beautiful roads and routes in New York for people to enjoy riding motorcycles during warmer months. Many people live for that feeling of freedom they get on a motorcycle. They often hit the roads in huge numbers on balmy spring and summer weekends. When they do, it’s important for them to drive safely. That includes wearing a helmet at all times when riding on a motorcycle, either as passenger or driver.

Some people want to avoid wearing helmets, so they choose to ride without one. They may feel like they are only risking a ticket, but in reality, they are risking so much more. Motorcycles are a very dangerous form of transportation, whether you ride for your daily commute or recreation. Wearing a helmet remains one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk on a motorcycle.

Helmets may reduce motorcycle fatalities by a third

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the fatality rate per mile driven on motorcycles in 2015 was 29 times the risk for those in cars. Even short, simple trips in perfect traffic conditions can end up in severe injury or death. All it takes is one driver who doesn’t see you while turning to wreck your bike and cause you grievous bodily harm.

In a crash, a helmet can be the one thing that saves your life. You won’t have the external shell of a vehicle to protect you or absorb the force of the collision. The IIHS estimates that helmets prevent about 37 percent of potential deaths in crashes. Helmets are also 67 percent effective at preventing riders from suffering brain injuries.

Brain injuries are a major threat to people on motorcycles

Other than debilitating and paralyzing spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries are one of the most serious kind of injury motorcyclists suffer in crashes. Your brain controls everything about you, from your knowledge and memories to your motor function and sense of humor. Any kind of brain trauma can cause serious issues, such as memory loss, problems with balance, changes in behavior and more.

Severe brain injuries often have permanent results, leaving people unable to return to work or school. In some cases, brain injuries can leave people physically disabled as well, depending on the location and extent of the damage. A helmet helps protect your brain from potential blunt force, penetrating and crushing injuries during a collision.

Complying with the law strengthens your claim for compensation

While a motorcyclist’s breaking the law doesn’t reduce someone else’s liability for causing a crash, it may increase your own culpability in the injuries you suffer, at least in the eyes of the legal system. Wearing a helmet protects you physically, but also legally. It shows that you comply with New York state traffic laws and take reasonable steps to ensure your own safety.

That, in turn, can make it easier to file a successful claim for compensation via a personal injury lawsuit after a crash. Motorcycle drivers should always focus on safety before hitting the road.