**Meanwhile, Motorcylist Deaths Up 42% in Florida **
Since Florida repealed its helmet law in favor of a law that allows riders to go helmetless with $10,000 worth of insurance, deaths of motorcyclist have increased by 42%. Anti-helmet activists say this is because more people are riding, although Florida's motorcycle registrations have increased by less than 20% in that period and crashes increased by just 16%. The rate of deaths per accident rose 21 percent from 4.0% of the accidents to 4.9%. However, a study of Florida riders before the repeal found that 40% of them were earing "novelty" helmets, which do not provide significant protection. Our own observations at Daytona indicate that a significant percentage of those who do wear helmets now still use those essentialy useless beanies. The study, commissioned by the state, did not track actual head trauma, however, so the findings are unlikely to settle the issue. It also does not address the issue of any change in the number of debilitating injuries unhelmeted riders suffer, which some doctors say have risen significantly since the repeal. These are potentially the most damaging kinds of injuries, since they often leave vegatative patients, who are effectively lost to their families and themselves and become a drain on health-care resources. At Daytona, howver, motorcycle deaths for Bike Weekas of Thursday afternoon are just three, about average and well behind Bike Week, 2000 when 20 died -- and before the helmet law was repealed.
The Lakeland Ledger, FL
St. Petersberg Times, FL
Miami Herald, FL