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Police: Motorcycle wrecks piling up; helmets nowhere in sight

Police: Motorcycle wrecks piling up; helmets nowhere in sight

By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Sep 12, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - UPDATE: Relatives of the 27 year-old man injured in the First & Limberlost wreck tell us he is expected to make a full recovery.

It is a dangerous trend brewing on Tucson roadways.

We count five motorcycle wrecks in twelve days, leaving two dead and three injured.
 
The latest happened around 11 Thursday morning at Speedway & Wilmot.
 
Police say a car hit the motorcyclist.
 
Paramedics took him to UAMC with minor injuries
   
They say it could have been much worse, but thankfully he was wearing a helmet.
 
Experts stress it's just not worth the risk.
 
"When I went down, I broke my collar bone," said Hank Baumer.
 
He will never forget that wreck.
 
"If I had been practicing emergency braking I would have been able to stop, but I wasn't able to," he said.
 
Baumer also won't forget what saved him.
 
9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa asked, "Were you wearing a helmet?"
 
"Oh absolutely," he said.
 
But 12 years later, Baumer, who works as a riding coach with Team Arizona, knows many don't wear helmets and don't want to start.
 
In fact Arizona is one of 30 states that does not universally require motorcycle riders to wear them.
 
From a crash that killed a 53 year-old man on the west side, to one near First and Limberlost that left a man in critical condition, with two more in between, images like these hit him hard.
 
"Its hard to fathom," said Baumer.
 
As of Thursday, Tucson has seen five motorcycle accidents in 12 days.
 
For most of them, authorities say there was no helmet in sight.
 
"A helmet is just like a seatbelt for someone that is driving in the car," said Captain Adam Goldberg of the Northwest Fire Dept.
 
He says it's a small decision that can make a huge difference.
 
"With a helmet, we're seeing arm and leg fractures, and we're seeing extremity injuries and a lot of scrapes and abrasions," he said.  "But without the helmet, the head and the brain are really taking the impact."
 
But both men say as long as riding without a helmet is legal, the risk will remain, meaning part of the responsibility lies on drivers to watch out.
 
We spoke to motorcycle riders who say they prefer going without a helmet.
 
They decined to go on camera.