Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) – Summer is prime time for riding a motorcycle in Michigan, but state safety officials said recent deadly crashes show the importance of always wearing a helmet when you ride.

Dr. Brett Reich is an expert in emergency care for Sparrow Hospital. He said he has seen an uptick in serious injuries from motorcycle crashes, and often, there isn’t much he can do for them.

“A lot of the motorcycle accidents that occur on the roads actually don’t even make it to the emergency department because of the severe nature of the injuries,” he said. “The data definitely shows that helmets will prevent fatal head injures at a rate of approximately 40 percent, so almost half.”

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, motorcycle deaths are up by 27% since 2012, when state law changed to make helmets optional for riders 21 and older.

“It seems like a simple intervention a simple thing but you still see a lot of folks without one,” said Dr. Reich.

Vince Consiglio is part of ABATE, a group that’s all about motorcycle safety.

ABATE said riders should be allowed to choose whether to wear a helmet, but those who decide not to should be extra careful on the road.

“It’s a matter of constant looking, constant being aware, and as much as you can enjoy riding, it’s important to not be impaired,” Consiglio said.

The best way to avoid an accident is to know your bike and take a motorcycle safety course.