MEDINA, Ohio (WJW) – Ohio law says wearing a helmet on a motorcycle is optional.
But it’s an option that Mark Kisilewicz said that he always took. Earlier this year his helmet was put to the test.
“They went left of center, and I just happened to be in the roadway when they went left of center and hit me pretty much as I’ve been told head on,” Kisilewicz said.
Mark took the full impact of a car traveling 60 miles an hour. He lost a part of his leg and is still on the road to recovery.
But he says that helmet is why he’s still able to be with his family and not be a burden on them.
“I think it saved them a lot of grief just to deal with somebody who has a head injury too. It’s a nightmare. So it’s not just for me but for my whole family.” Mark said.
Mark’s not sure when he will ride again, but when he does, he’ll have a new helmet.
He and another rider got one from the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
It’s what the folks with Motorcycle Ohio call an unfortunate gift.
“I don’t want to see anybody on a motorcycle getting injured but the happiness is that somebody’s still here to tell their story. It may be a sad story, but it shows that the gear and the helmet work when you’re out riding,” Motorcycle Ohio Spokesperson Michele Piko said.
Hank Tilbert is glad he’s here to tell his story as well.
Back in the spring, he was riding with his buddies when a deer ran into him while he was traveling at about 55 miles an hour.
Hank went off the bike and into the middle of the road.
He broke some ribs and is still getting treatment for an injured leg He says that helmet made quite a bit of difference.
He says most of his friends don’t wear helmets but he’s sure glad that he always has.
“You got a lot of 50 and 60-year-old men who getting on a Harley going, ‘I ain’t gonna put on a helmet,’ and they’re asking you, ‘You wearing a helmet? You wearing a helmet?,’ What you care if they’re wearing a helmet? That don’t matter. It’s your personal choice, and I’m stubborn enough I’m gonna wear a helmet,” Hank said.
In 2020, the insurance information institute says that more than 5,500 riders died in crashes, but more than 83,000 survived and suffered some sort of head injuries.
A traumatic brain injury can not only keep you off the bike but may change your life completely.
This is why those who survive crashes with helmets say they are living proof that they can make a difference.
“I know everyone has their rights and their choices too. It is wholeheartedly my recommendation to that if you’re on the bike a helmet on too,” Mark said.
For more information about motorcycle safety and how you can take a low-cost rider safety course, click here.