NBA basketball star Jay Williams was in a horrific motorcycle accident in 2003 that nearly took his life. He recounted the story in a FoxNews interview recently for his memoirs titled Life is not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention. The tale reminds us all that no one is invincible or immune to the consequences of poor choices. Williams, former player for the Chicago Bulls, was neither wearing a helmet nor had a motorcycle license when he crashed and severed an internal artery in his left leg and was within just moments of dying from internal bleeding. 10 surgeries were required to repair the damage. In the interview Williams said, “I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve had that have been speeding in cars over 100 miles per hour or how many friends I’ve had after a couple of drinks and I’ve asked, ‘Are you ok?’ And they drive home. So we all make decisions in split moments where you’re like, ‘What the hell was I thinking?’ But we all live with a sense of invincibility I think.” It is that sense of invincibility that causes so many motorcyclists to ride without a helmet, to speed on country roads, or to illegally split lanes to bypass stalled or slow traffic.
Helmets Not Worn Because of Sense of Invincibility
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 26 times more motorcycle fatalities than automobile fatalities in 2013 per mile driven. Even though many motorcyclists know the dangers of their means of transportation, and that helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatalities and 67% effective in preventing traumatic brain injuries, millions continue to ride without them and only 19 states require helmets by law. In states that had no helmet laws, 70% of fatalities were of riders without helmets in 2014. In states with universal helmet laws, only 6% of fatalities were of those not wearing a helmet in 2014. In total, 36% of motorcycle fatalities happen to people not wearing helmets.
Not only does this show that there is a long way to go to improve the prevalence of helmet use, but that even helmets cannot save every life. Williams’ problems did not end with the 10 surgeries. After the crash he later became addicted to painkillers and alcohol. “I was taking them three or four times a day,” Williams said. He continued, “That sends you to a state of mind where you’re loopy, you’re out of it, nothing really makes sense. Eventually that becomes your norm.” This goes to show that even the mightiest can fall and the long term consequences of a serious injury can last a lifetime. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that was no fault of your own, don’t hesitate to seek the help you need to recover to the fullest extent. Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney today.
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