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State had 1,000 motorcycle crashes
Over the past five years, the state of Iowa has averaged a little more than 1,000 motorcycle crashes each year, including around 50 fatalities, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Some of those crashes resulted in traumatic brain injuries. The leading care facility for those types of injuries in Iowa has seen an unusually high number of cases this fall.
Mark Blanshan was in a crash near Boone last August when a deer jumped in front of his motorcycle.
Blanshan receives daily physical therapy, speech therapy and music therapy at On With Life. Those who work with him said his case is unusual because he can walk, remember and likely return to work.
During the fall, seven motorcyclists were brought to the brain injury rehab facility in Ankeny, and three more are expected to be transferred there in the next few weeks.
Of those 10 brain injury patients, none wore helmets. Iowa is one of three states with no helmet laws.
On With Life advocates for everyone to wear a helmet; however, many riders in Iowa enjoy their freedom to choose -- including Blanshan.
I still think it should be, Let those who ride decide. But Ive decided already by myself, you know, I always learn the hard way, but Ive learned. Im going to put the helmet on, he said.
Ninety-eight percent of motorcyclists in states with helmet laws wear them, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Saftey, while that number is 48 percent in states without helmet laws.