Promoting Excellence in Maryland's Trauma Care

A collaborative statewide approach to address issues related to all aspects of trauma care delivery

SB745 Vehicle Laws - Protective Headgear Requirement for Motorcycle Riders - Exception

Sponsors: Senators Hough, Eckardt, Edwards, and Salling

Committee: Judicial Proceedings (Senate)

Synopsis: Establishing an exception to the prohibition against operating or riding on a motorcycle without certain protective headgear for an individual at least 21 years old who has been licensed to operate a motorcycle for at least 2 years or has completed a certain motorcycle safety course and for the individual’s passenger.

Hearing: 3/15/2022

Link to Bill 

TraumaNet’s Position: Oppose

Testimony by James Gannon

Good afternoon. My name is James Gannon and I am the chairman of the Maryland Trauma Center Network, also known as TraumaNet, I am the trauma program manager for Sinai hospital and I have been a trauma nurse for 14 years.

I am going to tell you 2 brief stories today about what nurses experience all too often. The first is a 24 year old male who 2 years ago fell off his motorcycle going 30 mph and was not wearing his helmet. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and is paralyzed from his chest down. He now visits our ER about 4-5 times a year for blood infections originating from his urinary catheter or the pressure wound on his buttocks that has eaten it’s way down to the bone. While we care for him during his 4 week hospital stay, his TBI causes him to lash  out at the hospital staff by hitting, scratching, spitting, cussing and yelling at us. We take it because we know his brain has been severely injured and he can’t help it but this still morally injures us.

The second story is the 44 year old father of 2 who was out for a Sunday ride when a deer jumped out in front of him, causing him to be ejected from his bike and sent him sliding 50 feet down the asphalt road. The road acted like a grinder against his skull, shredding away the bone, exposing his brain. Bystanders are horrified and will never forget what they see. He is alive, barely, when EMS arrives but goes into cardiac arrest en route to the trauma center. When he arrives to our hospital, despite our heroic efforts, they are futile, and he passes away. I accompany the trauma surgeon to notify his wife and 2 teenage children of his unexpected death. Dad will not be coming home tonight. The trauma surgeon leaves, but I stay to console the family. They want to see him one last time. I go and clean his body, placing a pillow over the hole in his head to protect his family from further trauma. I stay with the family in the room while they cry. I cry. I suffer with them but soon another trauma comes in and I have to go back to work. I won’t sleep well for a while.

Both of these individuals would be alive and well today had they worn a helmet . As legislatures, part of your job is to protect the citizens of Maryland from preventable harm which is why I and TraumaNet ask that you vote unfavorably for SB745.

Thank you

SB745 Hearing Starts at 1:44 and goes until 2:23

James’s Testimony is at 2:15.