Motorcycle Helmets: Let those who ride decide.

Pat Ryan

Choice of safety equipment for adult motorcyclists (HB 2488)

I was in Salem four times last week. We lobbied and we testified. This is a slightly modified version of my testimony before the committee.

The work of a republic often comes down to reconciling the needs of the individual with those of society as a whole. Our representatives face these questions constantly and do their best to make decisions that benefit constituents, while meeting their standards of common sense. Our opponents in the heath care and insurance fields argue based on their best perceptions of reality. Still, when it comes to statistical arguments, they are just as likely as any other interest group to cite only those facts that support their positions. Insurance companies benefit from laws that lower their business risks and remove additional variables from actuarial tables. Medical professionals “know” that helmetless riders who get into accidents are an intolerable burden to society. It’s just common sense to people who are dedicated to minimizing risk and to dealing with the effects of trauma. Yet no one has demonstrated convincingly that injured bikers are a significantly greater societal burden than injured automobile drivers.

The best empirical information currently available shows virtually no correlation between mandatory use and lives saved. According to ODOT’s own statistics, repeal of the mandatory helmet bill could lead to two additional deaths per annum. Is it worth it? When is enough enough? One can reasonably argue that requiring individuals to wear helmets while riding motorcycles, driving cars, riding bicycles, skiing, wind surfing, walking down the street, or taking a shower in their own homes saves lives and thus eases society’s burdens. We believe that you may not argue in an intellectually honest way that singling out motorcycle riders in particular for this unsolicited protection by the state is fair.

After all, if the general public was required to drive cars with integrated roll cages, wear fireproof suits, five point harnesses and helmets attached to the vehicle ala NASCAR every time they went to soccer practice many more lives would be saved annually than will ever be saved by mandating helmets on motorcycle riders. Of course a the legislature ever attempted such an effort, wo would see a lot of freshmen in the following legislature. Yet when the public sees me on my bike their reaction is that they'd never do that, so they acquiesce to the idea that the nanny state needs to protect me from myself. They imagine that it could never happen to them.

There is still a strong sentiment among Oregonians and especially among bikers, that whenever possible the responsible individual should be allowed to make decisions which mainly affect that individual. To the degree that the state enacts laws limiting behavior for the greater good, it will always generate new scofflaws who are less likely to accept the common good argument when their support is really needed.

The public has weighed in with their perceptions of common sense on a range of Oregon issues. For example, while there are very few hunters who will ever use dogs to hunt mountain lions, there was disproportionate anger over attempts to limit the practice. If Dorothy English had been allowed to build a couple of additional houses on her property (she has now been granted that right by the legislature after the passage of Measure 37), there is a good chance that the people would not have felt it necessary to intervene through initiative petition into areas that in a republic are rightfully the province of elected officials and government employees.

We hold that the right of adult motorcyclists to choose their own safety apparel will have a minimal adverse impact on the state budget and on Oregon society in general. To continue to deny us that right provides yet one more reason for the 100,000 Oregonians who choose motorcycling as their sport to distrust the judgment of their legislators. When the state and its representatives find themselves interfering in personal liberty, there are always negative as well as positive consequences. One of the representatives asked toward the end of testimony on Thursday night if this issue was mostly "symbolic". I can assure all parties that it is not symbolic to me. It not about the efficacy of helmets. In states where there is no helmet requirement for adult riders, around 66% still choose to wear them.


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The bottom line is that we have had the arguments and the facts on our side on this issue for years. When we found that to be insufficient, we dedicated ourselves to charitable efforts, political volunteerism, and the donation of money, in hopes that we would at least gain a little respect.

We again stand politely before the legislature with hats in hand, hoping that all of this ancillary effort might be enough to get them to do the right thing and,

Let those who ride decide.

Comments

  • Ted P (unverified)
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    Three cheers!

    Although I have always been more of a small "L" libertarian.

  • jj Ark (unverified)
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    If people don't wanna wear a helmet, fine by me. Legally, it shouldn't be mandatory.

    I will continue wearing my full face, even in the heat of the summer. I went through one crash, and it was nasty. When i saw how the foam had compressed, and the nasty gash in the plastic, I decided to wear a helmet.

  • (Show?)

    Requiring bikers of both the motor powered and leg powered variety to wear helmets is similar to requiring people to wear seat belts in cars. While I generally agree that the state shouldn't play nanny, I'm pursuaded when the costs to society of allowing people ill-advised liberties is too great. Drinking and driving is illegal, even though alcohol is a perfectly legal drug, because the costs to society from increased car accidents are too great.

    I find it hard to believe that the only difference between bikers wearing helmets or not is maybe two extra deaths per year. What about non-lethal injuries? I would think that for every death attributed to not wearing a helmet, there would be many more non-lethal injuries, like brain damage, that could be more costly than death.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    As long as you have an organ donor card, go for it.

  • PeteJacobsen (unverified)
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    Adam hit on the part that concerns me. Will you provide an annuity to take care of yourself after you are a vegetable, or must I help pay? Will your family go on welfare? What will you do to guarantee this act of freedom on your part doesn't impact the rest of us? If you can do so, be my guest!

  • (Show?)

    From the hyperlinked article:

    "Stutts researched the medical costs for accident victims taken to eight trauma centers in North Carolina between 1987 and 1990. During that period, she noted, there were 708 motorcyclists requiring treatment at those facilities, and 8,961 victims of other types of motor vehicle accidents.

    The average cost for treatment of a motorcyclist was $15,801, which is unquestionably a lot of money. Interestingly, though, the average treatment cost for victims of other types of motor vehicle accidents was $17,892or $2000 more!"

    AND

    "Various reports have noted that a large percentage of Americans don't have, and can't afford, medical insurance. The North Carolina study confirms that. Dr. Stutts found that of all the motorcyclists taken to the eight trauma centers, 49.4 percent had their medical costs covered by insurance.

    However, the insured percentage was no higher than for other accident victims. Of all patients brought to the hospitals, from motor vehicle accidents, only 50.4 percent had their treatment costs covered by insurance."

    I wonder, in light of these numbers, how you have the right to demand anything different from motorcyclists from what you demand of people who drive cars. If the only answer is that you don't ride a motorcycle............

  • (Show?)

    Thanks for bringing this issue up, Pat. With it you demonstrate a constituency that is looking for a coalition partner. Libertarians are wary of liberals because we favor what you describe as overweening regulation on personal safety issues--helmets, guns, etc. But they're even more wary of the current GOP tendancy for invasive laws affecting personal privacy, drug use, sex, and personal expression. Democrats need to make a call about whether they want the libertarian vote and what they're going to do to secure it.

    On this legislation, I have one major qualm: liability. It's one thing if the helmetless riders are willing to accept the liability of their own actions and pony up the two mil for life support when they're in a vegetative state. It's another to expect the state to pick up that tab, or worse--to accept the legal liability (read: lawsuits) when, say, a motorcycle rider with a head injury decides the state really should have over-ruled his reckless tendency and made him wear a helmet.

    I had a look at the bill itself, and there's also an allowance for passengers not to wear helmets, which makes this issue all the more critical.

    If the law is going to exist, how do its backers think they can protect the state from liability issues?

  • snarkyman (unverified)
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    Why not require car drivers and passengers to wear helmets? We'd save a lot more lives and medical costs and so forth.

  • JS (unverified)
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    The average cost for treatment of a motorcyclist was $15,801...

    Yeah, but what was the average cost of treatment for those wearing a helmet compared to those who weren't wearing a helmet?

    Do those who object to laws mandating helmets also object to laws mandating seatbelts?

    To me, the line we draw as a society determining what safety measures are "enough" is rather arbitrary (perhaps because I'm not familiar with all the studies).

    But shouldn't motorcycle riders have some basic protection from death/serious injury if they get in an accident? Even with a helmet, isn't riding a motorcyle more dangerous than driving a car, especially if you get in an accident?

    If wearing a helmet protects your community from having to foot the bill if you get in an accident, why wouldn't you want to wear a helmet? Regardless of the burden on the community coming from other accident victims, aren't you, as a motorcycle rider obligated to use basic safety measure to prevent yourself from becoming any kind of burden?

    Upon "previewing" this post, I realize I've asked a lot of questions. Sorry...

  • (Show?)

    Jeff, I'm pretty sure someone couldn't sue the state and win a case based on the idea that the state should have had a better safety law. Otherwise, we'd see those kinds of lawsuits all the time (like, suing the state for failing to have a trigger-lock law).

    Of course, the question of asking the state to pay for medical costs is another matter.

    I'm sympathetic to the motorcyclists - a more libertarian group would be hard to find. Since, as libertarians, they clearly wouldn't want to insist that the state cover their expenses, how's this for a compromise?

    Helmets are required, unless the motorcyclist carries a two-million dollar policy that covers their health care costs in the event of a catastrophic accident.

    (The 'catastrophic' part is critical - makes the likelihood of a claim much lower; thus reducing the costs. We don't to price people off their bikes.)

    Whaddya say, Pat?

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    My only issue with shifting the costs from the state to insurance companies is that they would (I assume) merely shift those costs of paying for injured motorcyclists to all of its policyholders through higher premiums. I carry this in with a big assumption that I think is pretty valid: that helmetless motorcyclists are injured more severely in accidents, and therefore need more expensive care... I think the helmetless riders should bear that cost, not policyholders who choose to wear helmets or don't have a motorcycle to begin with.

    So... my modification: If you go helmetless, you are required to (a) carry hefty insurance, as Kari suggested, and (b) pay a higher premium than a helmeted biker or non-biker.

    That protects the liberty interest, but keeps the costs with those that choose to exercise it.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    The problem with the $2 million insurance policy solution is that most of the people who would choose to ride helmetless know that they are not going to be able to afford the cost of that insurance. It is a risky pool populated by a significant number of people who feel that they have very little to lose anyway.

    I once proposed the insurance idea to a member of "ABATE" and he rejected the idea because it would be too expensive for him.

    So I made the counter proposal that the state allow him to sign a waiver that absolves the state from using any resources beyond his insurance and a posted bond to provide him with medical assistance in the event of a helmetless accident.

    He took offense at the idea that I might consider him a hypothetical "burden on society" and informed me with a glower that this same "society" had once conscripted him to serve in Vietnam against his will.

    Apparently he figured that "society" still owes him and one method of paying him back was absorbing his insurance risks.

    I had no comeback for the "Vietnam card" just the sad realization that he really wanted a rule that allowed him and anothers to divorce themselves from the consequences of their actions.

    I don't consider helmetless motorcycle riders to be libertarian unless they are also willing to fully absorb the costs of their risky hobbies.

    Same with skydivers and heroin users. Just wanting the government to stop bothering you is not enough. If you aren't willing personally assume all the risks of your dangerous activities, you are not a consistent libertarian and more like an "irresponsible adolescent" (an unfortunately broadbrushed term used to describe all libertarians on a different BlueOregon thread).

  • JS (unverified)
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    I don't usually agree with Pancho, but this time I do. The issue, as described and discussed so far, really isn't a "libertarian" one.

  • MarkDaMan (unverified)
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    I bet if this post was about our required seat belt law it probably would have landed in this room with a loud thud...and that's about it. We require everyone, even with all the safety equipment built into modern cars, to wear a seatbelt at all times the car is in motion. I look at a helmet as a motocycle's version of a seatbelt, sure it wont save everyone's life, but it is much better protection than not having one at all...

    Besides, no matter whether you live or not if you happen to be in a motorcycle accident, at least some poor cop isn't going to be charged with the task of scraping up your brains off the road with a shovel.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I was on the pro-helmet side based on the analogy to seat belts and my own experience riding with and without motor. I think minimal government nannying is bearable when the upside is significant.

    However, I have not seen data that suggests that helmets mean as much to riders as seatbelts do to auto occupants. I have also heard from riders that helmets decrease their vision and hearing, and helmets I have worn have done this somewhat. I would probably wear a helmet if I were riding now and I do wear one when I ride a bicycle [bicycle helmets do not affect hearing or vision], but I can't see the justification for requiring helmet use.

    I have also heard reports of riders being hassled by law enforcement over the suitability of the helmet being worn. It seems some cops like to harass bikers. I have seen this first hand, as in riders being pulled over for travelling the same speed as auto traffic. The helmet law gives another escuse for this happening.

  • (Show?)

    Jeff, I'm pretty sure someone couldn't sue the state and win a case based on the idea that the state should have had a better safety law. Otherwise, we'd see those kinds of lawsuits all the time (like, suing the state for failing to have a trigger-lock law).

    Yeah, you're probably right. I hope I haven't given anyone any ideas--yeeow.

    Further proof that while I play a lawyer online, I have no actual training or knowledge of the subject. Hey, it's the internet.

  • SteveL (unverified)
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    The social contract of government requires balance. My lack of a helmet does not increase the liklihood of hurting you or damaging your property. Darwin awards be damned, you have no reasonable right to restrict my freedoms.

    This is a perfect analogy to Oregon's euthenasia laws. My life is mine own. Endangering myself, while introducing no significant new dangers for others is my business, not yours. The seat belt law is the same.

    Personally, I wear a full-face SNELL approved lid at all times on a MC. I wear an armored 1-piece or 2 piece purpose-build riding suit with armored gloves and boots as well. I also wear my seatbelt in cars, and did even when I didn't have to by law. None of that means that I condone laws requiring any of this.

  • (Show?)

    The research that I cited showed that the cost of injured bikers in the study sample was actually less per person than the cost of injured automobile drivers. The percentage of uninsured riders was, not surprisingly, almost identical to that of automobile drivers.

    So to answer Pancho, Kari and others:

    Statistics seem to indicate that you can reasonably require me to carry additional insurance while riding, as long as you carry a like amount while driving your car. In what way is my argument illogical?

    <hr/>

    Elsewhere in the study, it is shown that the difference in deaths and injuries between helmet required and helmet optional states is close to nonexistent. (This may be skewed by geography, population density, prevaling weather, etcetera)

    <hr/>

    Overall, it is more dangerous to ride a motorcycle than it is to ride aroud in a Hummer (unless you're in Iraq). It has not been demonstrated to my satsfaction that the adding of a required helmet will do much more than cause a blip on the statistical radar. There are many reasons that fatality rates rise or fall. One factor may be the huge increase in the numbers of giant SUVs. When an SUV hits a motorcyclist, it impacts the upper torso possibly causing massive internal injuries. When the same biker is hit by a Honda Civic, the impact is usually below the knee. Another reason for increased fatalities can be increased number of owners and hence increased miles travelled.
    Again, in most "helmets optional" states, around two thirds of the riders wear helmets. Personally, I'll be wearing a helmet while travelling on crowded streets and freeways. When I want to take a run from Sandy to Detroit on the back road, I'll be able to enjoy the ride without the encumberance of a piece of plastic and styrofoam which I consider to be of dubious value at best.

  • engineer (unverified)
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    I dont have a dog in this fight, I really dont care one way or the other if they wear helmets or not. Seems like there's an analogy already out there-smoking. People can choose to smoke or not and assume the risks. The govt does not prohibit smoking for adults. Smokers pay higher premiums for life insurance, so the market has factored in their health risks. I assume it's the same with motorcyles-if the insurance companies (both vehicle and health) feel that riding helmet-less is inherently more risky than their rates would reflect that.

  • Coyote (unverified)
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    I would sign a waiver to release the state from taking care of me in a vegitative state.

    Oh and Poncho yer an... just kidding...

  • JS (unverified)
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    The research that I cited showed that the cost of injured bikers in the study sample was actually less per person than the cost of injured automobile drivers. The percentage of uninsured riders was, not surprisingly, almost identical to that of automobile drivers.

    The cost of injured bikers as a whole, right? We should be interested in the cost of injured bikers not wearing helmets vs the cost of injured bikers wearing helmets.

    Total cost doesn't matter much.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Pat's point, I think, is that the cost of treating injured bikers does not justify government intrusion into their choice a safety equipment. There are many ways we can protect ourselves better. At what point is regulation of personal behavior to that end justified though?

    I don't want all my choices made "for my own good" by government. I think most people share my position, although they are often willing to support regulation of something they don't take part in.

  • (Show?)

    I still never heard a response to my initial question of liability--clarified by Kari into policy as: Helmets are required, unless the motorcyclist carries a two-million dollar policy that covers their health care costs in the event of a catastrophic accident.

    Nature of politics, give and take.

  • Herb Sweeten (unverified)
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    I will say only this, I am a grown adult and know when I need a helmet on my head and when I don't. And that is about what I said to Governer McCall in 1970 before he signed the bill giving choice to wearing helments.

  • fred (unverified)
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    The funny thing about helmets is that while they do a great job of protecting you from head injuries, they don't do a very good job of protecting you from the very big "delta Vee" (change of velocity) that effects the rest of the body (mainly internal organ/spinal injuries.)

    The higher the accident speed, the more likely the serious injury that happens when that contact is made--and at that point, your helmet tends to keep your face pretty for your open coffin or your wheelchair photo.

    What I'm trying to say is that while helmets certainly protect against certain fatal (and non-fatal) head injuries, they don't do anything to gaurd against fatal non-head trauma, sudden decelleration(sic) injuries (torso.meet.toyota), and non-head blunt impact injuries (although there aren't a lot of takers to participate in a study of the differences in blunt-force head trauma injuries with or without helmets, so it's hard to have controlled data.)

    The question is do they really lessen the overall percentage of vegatative inducing injuries per crash? (And let's face it, the public policy argument is always weighed in "how much will we have to pay for the injury?" Death is pretty cheap.)

    If you have an accident on a motorcycle involving an impact with change in velocity over a certain speed (say 30-40 mph (whether that means rider being hit or rider losing control of bike)) that your odds of severe, non-fatal injury whether you ride with or without a helmet approaches equal. So what does mandating helmet use really gain?

    I ride in full gear, fully armored, and have for almost a decade now. But I didn't always. And the people that I have know of that have sustained serious injuries (and those that have died) have been wearing full gear. (I'm not implying that I know anyone that had been in an accident without full gear and come away unscathed--just a sampling issue on my part.)

    But when your body goes from 40 mph to zero mph in milliseconds, you're just not going to come away from that, gear or not.

  • (Show?)

    Sorry Jeff,

    Reading back over my comments on this thread, I feel that I have addressed your mult-million dollar baby, but let me try to condense it down:

    It's a fact that motorcyclists (helmeted or otherwise) have more accidents and injuries per mile than car drivers.

    However, it's also true that the public cost per person is virtually the same or favors the bikers.

    The study shows that the difference in injuries between states that require helmets and those who don't is (to my mind) statistically insignificant.

    I have carried major medical for decades.

    Bottom line, I fail to see how you can logically conclude that I should be required to carry insurance that car drivers are not required to carry just because I want to choose whether or not I wear a helmet.

    You could conclude that all motorcyclists (and pedestrians, quad riders, drivers of subcompacts, skiers and kayakers, etcetera) ought to be forced to carry this additional burden, but you can't reasonable conclude that choice of safety equipment would be a legitimate trigger for such singling out of our own.......er,.....uh,...... oppressed minority group.

  • (Show?)

    Bottom line, I fail to see how you can logically conclude that I should be required to carry insurance that car drivers are not required to carry just because I want to choose whether or not I wear a helmet.

    All right, I'm convinced: car drivers need to carry heavier insurance too! Hey, I'm a liberal, what'd you expect me to say?

    The truth is, if the Dems could get some libertarian support by totin' more 12-guages and ridin' more motorcycles bareheaded, I'd be the first with a shotgun and Harley. A well-armed libertarian vs. Grover Norquist. Lord, do we even have to ask the question?

    Somehow this seems to relate directly to the unfortunate death of the Good Doctor HST, too...

  • Randy P (unverified)
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    "Bottom line, I fail to see how you can logically conclude that I should be required to carry insurance that car drivers are not required to carry just because I want to choose whether or not I wear a helmet."

    And, by the by, since car/truck/whatever drivers can purchase PIP (Personal Injury Protection) for their 4 wheel (or more) rig, why does the state refuse to require the insuranc industry to provide the same coverage for those of the 2/3 wheel persuation? Ya cain't buy it in Or-y-gun, if you have a smaller vehicle. Unless you wish to pay an outrageous price. Ask you insurance folks about it. Hasn't been available for years. Too small a pool of vehicles to make it worth their (the insurance industry's) while. Go figure.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    Randy,

    Seeing as insurance companies appear unable to provide "affordable" PIP coverage for motorcycle riders wearing helmets, it seems less likely that they will be able to do so for helmetless ones.

    Making the state "require" them to insure a pool of people who can't afford to collectively cover their own risks just spreads the cost over the rest of us buying insurance. Somebody has to pick up the difference (no free lunch) as with any government mandate.

    Similar model in place for the Oregon Health Plan.

  • (Show?)

    The truth is, if the Dems could get some libertarian support by totin' more 12-guages and ridin' more motorcycles bareheaded, I'd be the first with a shotgun and Harley. A well-armed libertarian vs. Grover Norquist. Lord, do we even have to ask the question?<

    Irrelevant and not too funny:

    Back at the height of the anti gay hysteria generated by Mabon and Measure 9, I was running the metal fab shop for a trade show company. One of the temp workers was holding forth in the lunchroom about killing gays, in the mistaken belief that it might gain him some "street cred" in our workforce.

    We had a brief exchange in which I warned him that although gays and leftys in general were seen as pacifist sheep, he would be well advised not to imagine that all leftys would passively submit to violence and threats of violence.

    I've been teasing some of my determinedly non violent friends ever since with the concept of "Goat Dogs", which I'd seen first hand in my youth in Paraguay.

    Basically the hearders raise puppies with the sheep and goat herd and isolate them from other dogs. These dogs come to believe that they are goats and defend the herd against all predators, canine and otherwise.

    So Jeff, I've got the twelve gauge and I've got your back. And no, I don't think for a minute that this stereotype of liberals can be applied accross the board.

    Pat "Goat Dog" Ryan

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    I've also known a sheep that was raised with dogs and behaved accordingly.

    Nature vs. nurture?

  • Jay Hadley (unverified)
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    Even though you have a helmet on when you impact an object most of the damage to your brain is coused by your brain impacting your scull. This was proven in a study reguarding prize fighters. The brain is then brused and swells and the swelling causes most of the problems. This is yet another reason helmets are not as effective as everyone infavor of making us wear them suggests. educate dont legislate

  • Sheriffdave (unverified)
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    "Goat dog", yup that fits ya Pat! It is hard to sit back while misinformed nanny's tell others what to do. Using your logic little boys won't be able to climb trees anymore because they may become a public burden. I found someone else's words to best express the issue and present it here; "I recognize that many of you might find this line of thinking difficult to comprehend when you've heard all those device arguments over and over again, both pro and con. So imagine for a moment that you're seated in the audience of a public hearing arguing to mandate helmet use for all adults. The enemies of Liberty bring up all the same old arguments about insurance, public burden, accidents, injuries, and fatalities. That forcing everyone to wear a helmet will cause the economy to boom and be the answer to every safety question known to man. It is the one "silver bullet" that mankind has searched for for millenniums. That this one device, if used by every man, woman, and child, would bring peace and happiness the world over. (I know, I know, they don't get that carried away publicly but they might as well.)

    Notice that not one word addresses the law, the question of arrest, incarceration, or fine. Seldom will the enemy venture into the battlefield of the law because he is woefully unprepared. He won't address why I (or you) should be arrested, incarcerated, or fined when I don't wear a hat except to say that I MIGHT get into an accident, and I MIGHT be injured, and I MIGHT sustain greater injuries if I'm not using the device, and I MIGHT not have sufficient medical insurance coverage, and I MIGHT cost the taxpayers (funny how we aren't taxpayers when this argument comes up) more a little money. Our enemy will argue anything but the law itself. He has chosen the battlefield, he has picked the ground, and it is the device he wishes to argue.

    "Figures don't lie, but liars can figure." We reminded them that our Highway Department and other opponents had a great deal of practice at figuring. We pointed out that not one word of testimony from our opponents addressed the issue we were there to address, the question of arrest, incarceration, or fine of adults who simply choose not to wear a hat when operating a motorcycle. We pointed out that on every level, federal, state, and local, the laws recognized the principle of adult responsibility and in many instances specified a particular age when these responsibilities were incurred. On the federal level, age of responsibility is addressed in the areas of service to country and other areas (president-35, senate-30, house-25, voting-18, etc.). On the state level (governor-30, senate-25, house-21, drinking-18 [before the fed blackmail, now 21], consensual sexual intercourse-14, etc.) this issue was equally addressed. What was it about this one particular device that made it so important that regardless of age and experience adults must be mandated under threat of arrest, incarceration, or fine to use it. Even if we believed that every word spoken by our opponents were 100% true would that be sufficient warrant to punish adults that simply didn't want to use this device ALL of the time?

    As for the law,it punishes adults with arrest, incarceration, or fine when making the choice of not wearing a helmet. We're adults. We're expected to act like adults and we're expecting to be treated like adults. Maybe using this particular device is a good idea, if so then convince us. But don't try to beat us into submission because it just won't work.If you're still confused then think about it the next time you have a drink or smoke a cigarette. The law says that if you're under 21 and you have a drink or under 18 and smoke a cigarette then you can be arrested, incarcerated, or fined. The device is the alcohol or the cigarette. See if you can come up with some good arguments as to why you should drink or smoke, then think about some reasons why you should be arrested if you do either or both. I'm willing to be that you can't come up with many (or any) sound arguments as to why you should be arrested, incarcerated, or fined for using these devices. Should you use them? Probably not, but it isn't my job to be your guardian angel or big brother. Should you be punished if you do use them? NO! Not in a million years. Its your prerogative to decide on what devices you should use or not use. You should only be threatened with punishment when you use these devices against others. Does not wearing a helmet cause accidents, injuries, fatalities, insurance cost increases, or enhanced public burden? Nope! Never has, never will. And to credit a few bits of Styrofoam and fiberglass with such qualities is ridiculous. "

    Written by: Jessie McDugald in 1998, South Carolina.

    Keep at it Pat. And the rest of you that keep saying you wear a helmet(your personal choice)and think everyone else has to, are hypocrites about safety if you also are not wearing elbo/knee pucks and the item in the back of your jacket(turtle back?) to protect your spine!! Or maybe you should be promoting that for all M/C to wear too!? Personally, every time i have been to a track, the riders can't wait to get out of the gear. Either you believe in freedom or you don't. Either you fight for freedom or you impose your will on others! David Bergland - S.W.Wa ABATE Coordinator (aka Sheriffdave)

  • Randy P (unverified)
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    Pancho wrote:

    "Seeing as insurance companies appear unable to provide "affordable" PIP coverage for motorcycle riders wearing helmets, it seems less likely that they will be able to do so for helmetless ones."

    Actually, since insurance companies group vehicle coverage by type of machine, and motorcycles make up less that 2 percent of the motoring public. There is no profit to be made in that group. Therefore, it is not offered. And the state appears to not want to protect its citizens by requieing it to be offered. Go figure.

    Thoughts, anyone?

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