There are few things that motorcyclists love more than freedom, and many people believe that riding a motorcycle comes with the freedom to not wear a motorcycle helmet. This belief is so strong in Louisiana that in 1999, the universal helmet law in Louisiana was revoked. While many people celebrated this as an increase in freedoms, that freedom came as a price. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcyclist deaths ended up increasing in the state of Louisiana by 100% after this law was repealed.

Unsurprisingly, this catastrophic rise in fatalities led to a considerable amount of consternation, and many felt compelled to take political action. The problem became so severe that in 2004, Louisiana ended up reinstating a helmet law. Some felt very positively about the reinstatement, while others were still outraged over it. However, the statistics do not lie: wearing a helmet on a motorcycle does save lives.

When you are choosing a helmet to wear on the back of the bike, it is important to ensure that the helmet you pick is approved by the Department of Transportation. These helmets will come with stickers on them that say “DOT-approved.”If the helmet does not have one of these stickers, then it is known as a “novelty helmet” and cannot provide the same amount of protection as one that is DOT-approved.

Wearing a motorcycle helmet saves lives, and it is currently the law in Louisiana. While due to various political concerns Louisiana has gone back and forth on its helmet law, it is important to consider the benefits of wearing a DOT-approved helmet whether it is legally required or not.