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Report: 75% of motorcyclists killed in crashes didn't wear helmets in 2012

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Three of every four motorcyclists killed in Wisconsin crashes last year were not wearing helmets at the time.

116 bikers died in state motorcycle accidents in 2012.

According to Gannett’s newspapers in Wisconsin, 165 bikers suffered traumatic brain injuries in 2010 – and 83 percent of them were not wearing helmets.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that only 70 of those victims, or less than half, would have suffered brain injuries had they been wearing helmets.

Gannett says about a half of Wisconsin motorcyclists wear helmets on the road. Experts at Neenah’s Theda Clark Medical Center say those who don’t risk long-term effects not only for themselves, but for their families – and those effects can last for years.

Theda Clark estimates that the immediate treatment and rehab for 45 days can run up to a half-million dollars.

Wisconsin once required motorcyclists to wear helmets, but bikers loudly protested and won a repeal of that law in 1978. There’s no talk in the Legislature about bringing it back.

Dave Charlebois of the biker group ABATE of Wisconsin said riders are willing to accept the risk. He notes that others behaviors are not exactly the safest, and he asks, “Do you want to live in a bubble?”