At least three people have died while riding their motorcycles in Wichita Falls so far this year.
All three deaths had one thing in common, the riders were not wearing their helmets when they crashed. Sergeant Harold McClure of the Wichita Falls Police Department has responded to many motorcycle accidents during his time working in law enforcement.
"When we work a motorcycle accident where the rider was not wearing a helmet, then we are looking at very severe to fatal injuries," said Sgt. McClure.
While Texas law allows motorcycle riders, above the age 21, to choose if they do or do not want to strap on protective headgear when they are on the road. Riders under the age of 21 are required to wear protective headgear.
"If you hit your head on the pavement at 70 miles an hour and you are not wearing a helmet, it is usually very catastrophic. The soft tissue and hard asphalt at high speeds do not combine," said Royce Pritchard, Operations Director for Red River Harley Davidson Motorcycles.
Pritchard has been working at Harley Davidson for years. The Harley Davidson Riding Academy is a safety foundation course which is required by the State of Texas to get a motorcycle license. Safety is heavily emphasized during the course.
"It is not a safe environment if you have to actually go down on a motorcycle and you are not dressed appropriately injuries occur, sometimes worse," said Pritchard.
While many riders out there have the right to freely choose to not wear a helmet, Pritchard is confident that those riders know that the choice can sometimes come with lethal consequences.