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Lobbying Efforts, Including Those by the AMA, Continue to Knock Back Mandatory Helmet Laws

In an interesting article summarizing the current state of motorcycle helmet laws in the United States, and the impact on those laws of lobbying efforts by various groups, including the AMA, it is stated that mandatory helmet laws for all riders are now in existence in only 19 states, versus 47 states in the late 1970s.

Motorcyclists favoring personal freedom over mandatory helmet use seem to have the upper hand when it comes to lobbying legislators, both on the state and federal level. According to the article referenced earlier, the social cost attributed to medical bills and lost productivity as a result of motorcyclists failing to wear helmets is approximately $1.3 billion as of 2008. Lack of motorcycle helmets is blamed as one factor in the significant increase in motorcycle deaths in the last 15 years, despite the opposite trend among automobile occupants (whose deaths have dropped significantly during the same time-frame).

We welcome your comments, and understand that this is a very emotional issue for many of our readers, but please speak in a civil manner, and respect the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, just as you are.

156 Comments

  1. kjazz says:

    I dont like the government or anyone else telling me what to do. But I always wear a helmet. Like someone else said, I’ve caught large critters (birds, insects) in the face at 75mph. That’s no place to find out if your eyelids are quick enough to close automatically. They aint.

    But still, maybe we dont want the law telling us we have to wear it. Maybe, when you go for your motorcycle endorsement, they have a small calibre launching device similar in theory to the machine that launches 2x4s into buildings to test for hurricane/tornado resistance. This machine blasts a series of 1/8 ounce to one pound objects at you at 30 – 100 mph so you can get an idea (to wear a helmet) about what it will be like someday when you inevitably meet Mr. Grasshopper….. face to face.

  2. Gary says:

    If your goal is minimize the burden to society through legislation, then your targeting of helmets is misplaced. You should go after refined sugar, which exacts HUGE tolls and places enormous burdens on healthcare. After all, motorcyclists are a relatively small percentage of the total population whereas obese sugar-huffers are EVERYWHERE. So let’s make sugar illegal, eh? Cut down obesity/diabetes/high BP, heart attacks … the whole enchilada.

    It is a very slippery slope.

  3. Nate says:

    I see helmet laws as very similar to automobile seatbelt and anti-texting laws, they are in place because too many people chose to do the thing that greatly increased the driver mortality rate, before they were in place. Once they were established, deaths and injuries declined. Drawing the conclusion that a helmet law will lead to any loss of personal freedom seems absurd. I live in a state with a helmet law and people still insist on looking cool over saving their brains with those thin “party hats”.

    Personally, I don’t care about looking cool, I just rant to enjoy the ride and walk away if something unexpected happens. The biggest single criticism of motorcycles is the perception of their potential danger and I think trying to address that would help the industry as a whole, which would give us MORE choice.

  4. Dave says:

    I have no problem with riders choosing not to wear helmets – as long as their hospitalization and life insurance premiums are adjusted accordingly.

    Another’s freedom of choice (and the subsequent increase in risk/cost) should not mean that I have to pay for it.

  5. carl says:

    Yup the government has done a fine job running the economy we need them everywhere in our lives to make it better.

  6. James says:

    I always wear a helmet, but it seems that the biggest threat to my head so far is airborn objects. in 35 years of street riding I’ve been hit in the head twice by birds, once a rock cracked my visor and I’ve killed about a trillion bugs including those really big dragonflies and lots of bees and wasps, not to mention rain. I can’t imagine not having had my full coverage helmet all those times, actually on some of them I don’t think I would be imagining anything any more anyway.

  7. Pedro J Diaz says:

    Have you ever seen brain matter come out the ears? I have, numerous times from riders…without helmets. Take a melon, 3 feet off the ground, drop it while riding 5 mph. What happens? ‘Freedom’ to not wear helmets is unfair to society, as the article says, WE have to spend Billions to rehab and provide life long care to head injury patients. Their ‘freedom’ makes my taxes go up. If they want wind in their hair, get an open face helmet and STFU.
    As someone else mentioned, I also stopped being an AMA member strictly because of their stance on helmet laws. What they need to do is to fight for Nationwide lane splitting like they have in California; it saves gas, opens up a spot for a car, so less congestion, encourages people to get bikes or even mopeds and decrease nationwide gas use. Only positives. Studies in California consistently show that lane splitting is safe. VLF ROSSI !!

    • carl says:

      convertible cars should come with a full roll cage and helmets should be worn when driving one.

      • Dave says:

        Cars have a full height, impact resistant windshield and seat belts that ensure that the passengers don’t leave the vehicle if it’s crashed, not to mention airbags and the full cage that is the body of the car (which has to pass all kinds of impact testing).

        Would you like to ride a motorcycle with all of that stuff?

  8. Bob says:

    Wearing is helmet is just natural to me since I first started riding at age 12 on dirtbikes. So I got used to wearing the safety gear long before I became a street rider.
    My state requires it anyways.

    With that said, I have no problem with those who choose not to wear a helmet or other safety gear. People can do as they please but I dont want to hear complaints after they get seriously hurt or killed because they chose to ride without it. Same thing if you smoke or eat unhealthy….dont complain when you get lung cancer or have a heart attack when you knew what you were doing isnt the healthiest thing to do. You know the risk and its your choice, but you have to deal with the results if everything goes wrong.

  9. Reinhart says:

    The only reason the AMA lobbies for freedom from helmet use is because most of their membership feels that helmets are unnecessary. I will give the AMA my money when they change their stance on the use of helmets.

    • Gene says:

      It’s all about freedom, Reinhart. You want to government tell you what type of helmet you need to wear? How about boots, jackets, gloves, and pants? We might as well have government protect us from all sorts of dangerous activities.
      Now I’m all about personal safety but as Bill said earlier and I quote “Simple… Those who don`t wear helmets, don`t really need them.”

  10. EZ Mark says:

    My state doesn’t have a helmet law, but I almost always wear a helmet anyway.
    The problem with helmet laws is they will eventually lead to stupid laws.
    Ask your friends in the military what happens when the government is in full control.
    In addition to helmets, they have to wear long sleeves and pants, boots, gloves and a reflective vest, no matter if they are stationed in Alaska or Arizona.
    If we keep letting the government be our mommies, we are eventually only going to be able to watch old movies of prople having fun.

    • Just Joe says:

      The government has an investment in the men and woman serving in the military, and, as ironic as it may seem, seeks to protect that investment. I’m glad that you “almost always wear a helmet”, but for me, dressing for the ride, even if just a quick errand, is part of what puts me into the mindset of being a rider.

    • daveA says:

      There have been helmet laws in various states dating back almost 45 years. What are these stupid laws of which you speak? Surely 45 years is long enough for these other laws to have been caused by helmet laws…

  11. Jason says:

    I think the AMA is on the wrong side of this one. I do not know how they can claim death by lack of helmet is a victim-less crime. Somebody has to pay the bills (including possible entitlement by the deceased persons family) and it will be us the tax-payers. The bills just don’t disappear into the afterlife with the deceased person. I don’t support nanny type regulation but I also don’t want to pay a (stupid) dead persons bills.

    • Gene says:

      LOL We already pay stupid living peoples bills.

    • kjazz says:

      What about a child left behind, or other dependents. They dont get written off. If the deceased is a responible party to several others, his choice to not protect himself may have lingering after effects…..for many years.

  12. Don Fraser says:

    We need to realize that as cars become more safe and eventually drive themselves, we as motorcyclists need to do everything possible to reduce the fatality rate. This would include wearing a helmet and high visibility protective clothing, at least a jacket and gloves. The AMA should be encouraging the use of protective gear.

    The other big problem that needs to go away is excessive noise. It seems like the riding public is doing all it can to eliminate this sport. Remember, in a democracy, majority rules.

    • carl says:

      Over a million people die every year from car accidents, I think we should get rid of cars.

    • Wayne says:

      ‘in a democracy, majority rules.’ That is precisely why this country is not a democracy, it is a representative republic, to avoid mob rule.

  13. Ryan says:

    I am for choice. Those that do not want to wear a helmet and be next day’s news, so be it. I don’t have a windshield so I like my full-face helmet. My issue is with those that say speeding is regulated and so should be helmets when it comes to safety. If I don’t weare a helmet, it only endangers me; those that speed excessively, endanger themselves and everyone around them.

  14. Gary says:

    I support freedom from helmet laws. In fact, I think all laws against victimless crimes should be revoked. That includes drugs, prostitution … whatever.

    But you’ll never catch me riding a bike (motorized or not) without a helmet. I can show you marks in some old lids that would have offed me.

    I am no dummie.

  15. Eldercanuck says:

    “There are many things that we can point to that proof that the human being is not smart. The helmet is my personal favorite. The fact that we had to invent the helmet. Now why did we invent the helmet? Well, because we were participating in many activities that were cracking our heads. We looked at the situation. We chose not to avoid these activities, but to just make little plastic hats so that we can continue our head-cracking lifestyles.

    The only thing dumber than the helmet is the helmet law, the point of which is to protect a brain that is functioning so poorly, it’s not even trying to stop the cracking of the head that it’s in…”

    - Jerry Seinfeld

    • Dave Kent says:

      “the fact is that we don’t pay huge sums of money for non helmeted motorcycle accidents.”

      You are absolutely correct, mostly because there are far fewer instances of health care costs resulting from non helmeted motorcycle accidents. A much larger percentage of those accidents results in a funeral, not health care.

      • daveA says:

        What data are you missing? We learned 30+ years ago that 74 out of every 75 motorcycle fatalities were of non-helmeted riders. This was in the Hurt report…maybe you’ve heard of it? I mean…are you seriously trying to argue that we don’t actually have data to support that it’s better to whack your head on the pavement in a helmet than it is in a Yankees cap?

        Don’t get me wrong…I get that you’re just ranting in a stream-of-consciousness sort of way, but I thought I’d ask anyway.

        Tell you what…we can do a non-scientific test and put it on YouTube. I’ll get a baseball bat, and you agree to let me hit you in the head. You can decide to wear or not wear a helmet. We’ll repeat it 50 times, and see how many of the times you choose to go helmet-less, so as to prove or disprove this idea that we aren’t really sure if helmets are effective.

        cliff notes: You’re a moron. Shut up.

  16. Jay says:

    I am a recently retired ER provider and I strongly object to having ER provider time taken away from patients with real medical disorders to treat idiots who do not wear complete safety gear no matter the recreational activity in which they participate. I can hardly wait for the day when insurance providers no longer must pay for any part of any medical care related to poor judgement in lifestyle choices.

    Why should people to make good lifestyle choices be required to pay higher costs of any kind due to the poor lifestyle choices made by so many of our fellow citizens?

    If your personal choice is dangerous please have the intestinal fortitude to live with the consequences.

  17. Gene says:

    We don’t need the government to protect us. Let us decide what protection we use if any. Now me personally live in a state where it’s a choice to wear a helmet but I wouldn’t be caught dead riding without one. Watch out there maybe a day when motorcycles are illegal because there dangerous along with skateboards. :)

    • Dirck Edge says:

      “I wouldn’t be caught dead riding without one”…..Jerry Seinfeld said that, as well.

  18. Bob Krzeszkiewiz says:

    I’d like to see the helmet law go away completely. Then we’ll never have to read another article about it and the AMA can start using our membership money to fight against some real important issues for a change. How much money has the AMA wasted over this over and over and over?

    Get rid of the helmet laws but allow insurance carriers to charge more for riders who wish to ride sans helmet. If they have an accident and do not disclose they ride hemetless (or are reported by LE at the accident scene), their medical coverage can be voided, insurance can be dropped or rates severely raised and can be backcharged for the higher helmetless premium that they should have paid in the first place.

    It’s in the best financial interest of the carrier and also benefits those of us who ride ATTGAT or at least with a real lid because our rates can remain reasonable.

    • Bob Hall says:

      Give the insurance company’s the freedom to refuse to pay claims related to non use of DOT helmets. Now no legislation of use required.

  19. fred says:

    I understand how people don’t like government intrusiveness, but why anyone would want to lobby AGAINST a safety item is beyond my comprehension. Then, why pick helmets? Lobby against airbags in cars. That would save people lots more money.

  20. Dave Barnett says:

    There are only two kinds of people riding motorcycles out there. Those with heads worth protecting and those without. I know my head is worth protecting, so I always wear a helmet. Which kind of person are you?

  21. mkspeedr says:

    I love the beginning of Idiocracy – “without natural selection – a dumbing down of society occurred.”

    I wish we didn’t have helmet laws so natural selection would come back into play but sadly I believe the cost of no helmets impacts my insurance and negative opinions of motorcycling – unfortunately we need to force people to wear helmets when they are not smart enough to realize the consequences on their own.

  22. carl says:

    Your “melon” your choice. Should we were helmets in cars? A LOT of head injuries in cars, race car drivers wear helmets with a full ROLL cage, yes they are going at high speeds but you can roll your car in the interstate as well with no roll cage or helmet.

    We should make helmet mandatory in the tub just in case you slip and smack your head, alot of people hit there heads and pass out/drown in the tub.

    Where does it stop?? As long as there are lawyers it never will cause they have to make a buck.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      I understand some states go so far as to require high school football players to wear helmets.

  23. Gutterslob says:

    Can someone explain to me (like you would to a grandma) what “lobbying” actually is? I’m no fan of politics, nor am I the most educated when it comes to legal and economic matters, so whether it’s this helmet fiasco, AIPAC lobbying presidential candidates, tech giants or the RIAA lobbying the senate, I just don’t quite understand it.

    I’ve read up a bit here and there, but am I right in thinking that there’s always some sort of financing (or promise for financial backup) involved? If so, then isn’t that a form of corruption?

    • Dave Kent says:

      Lobbying is, quite simply, legalized bribery. It’s legal because the one’s who benefit from it are the ones who make the laws.

      • Gutterslob says:

        Thanks.

        I’m saving that quote, btw. Will give credit to you if I ever use it. :)

  24. Chris Werkman says:

    I’m 63 and scatter-brained enough without assistance from the pavement.

  25. Tom says:

    I got hit by a car on my bicycle (he was cited). I guess I was thrown rag-doll style over the car and landing on my head. While I was knocked out for a second I never sustained long term head injury (my left side and arm were another story). Thank you Giro, you saved my bacon.

    I never see anyone riding a bicycle anymore without a kewl looking helmet. It’s almost uncool to be seen riding a bicycle without one these days. While it is safer I think its more a fashion statement that people have them. Same thing with motorcycles.

    Sportbike kids spend $500-600 on a helmet and ride in tank top, shorts and flip-flops.
    Harley crew ride with $500-600 in leathers and were novelty helmets…

    I just WISH for motorcycle helmets with venting like my Giro.

  26. Ricardo says:

    I love motorcycles and mountain biking, and just yesterday riding my bicycle on a trail, I had an accident, my bike’s front wheel locked in a rock and I was thrown off the saddle forward landing on my head and left shoulder. Yes I was wearing a bicycle helmet and the helmet cracked, this saved my head from injury!! I was probably going 10 miles an hour on the bike. So just imagine an accident on a motorcycle without a helmet, the first thing that hits the ground is your head weighing almost 14 pounds, and it will crack open on impact. So I don’t care if it is the law, WE ALL MUST WEAR HELMETS, just think about your family and it will all make sense.

    • Bob Krzeszkiewiz says:

      I’ve had countless wrecks on the mountainbike from stumps and vines hooking me. Never landed on my head once. Always tucked and rolled into a side fall. However, it wasn’t until I got my first cycle helmet that I realized just how close my head was coming to low hanging branches. I heard some scrapes on top of my head and realized I only had about 1 inch between my skull and a low hanging branch. :o

  27. CHEF says:

    Well I am guilty of riding without a helmet daily, I like to speed, and I like to have fun on my several bikes, but that is my choice. I always have a clear mind as I am sober, and I am very aware of all vehicles around me at all times. I constantly use my horn to warn ALL around me that I am there. I know it may annoy some but its my life I HONK for! just my two cents

    • butchy says:

      Sorry CHEF, but I find it ridiculous that you taunt death daily, brag your courage to do it here, and then admit you are too scared to ride by a car without beeping your horn. That’s rich…

  28. butchy says:

    More training. More enforcement. Carry more insurance. All good Utopian ideas to justify choice laws. But in the real world, the only thing that is going to decrease rider deaths/severe brain injuries is universal helmet laws…all 50 states. Some people equate laws of choice with more freedom. That’s just crap. Following that logic, then why can’t you ride 100 mph legally on your motorcycle? Call it “speed choice”. Imagine 30 states allowing motorists to choose the speed they drive at.

    It’s unpopular for whatever reason to say mandatory use is a good thing. I’ve been around motorcycles for 10 years and I’m still amazed at the regurgitation of the “helmet laws suck” nonsense.

    Whatever your opinion, you can’t run from the facts. The only thing…repeat…the only thing that is going to get non-riders off our backs for being bikers with a death wish is to decrease the deaths. The only thing that will do that, frankly, is to get a larger number of riders to wear helmets. Universal laws do that. Repealing laws will do the opposite. Until we get close to 100% usage, numbers fatality numbers will remain the same. It will be a sad day for motorcyclists when all 50 states have choice laws and the death toll of *your riding buddies* climbs to 6000 or 7000 lives per year. Just sayin…

    • Jake says:

      butchy says:
      “It will be a sad day for motorcyclists when all 50 states have choice laws and the death toll of *your riding buddies* climbs to 6000 or 7000 lives per year.”
      And that’s just what America’s motorcyclist organization (AMA) is promoting:
      “Lobbying Efforts…by the AMA…Knock Back Mandatory Helmet Laws”
      :o(

  29. bill says:

    Simple… Those who don`t wear helmets, don`t really need them.

  30. Tom R says:

    Regarding helmet use, an amazing contradiction I frequently see is the leather-clad cruiser rider, with the the “loud pipes that save lives” dutifully installed, yet equipped with a plastic pudding bowl on his head in my helmet-law state. Of course without the law there would be NO helmet.

    We all choose our own degrees of safety. Ultra concerned in some respects, utterly careless in others. Watch for the too-slow driver-10 to 20 mph below the speed limit-who will casually just roll right through any and all stop signs (watch for it, you’ll see what I mean).

  31. mark says:

    I generally dislike government interference in the private affairs of individuals, and so my inclination is to let people make up their own minds whether or not to wear a helmet.

    But I also think people who don’t wear helmets are idiots. Just like the squids on sportbikes riding around in shorts, flip-flops, and no shirt. My helmet saved my life when I was hit by an SUV last year; accidents happen, and I simply can’t fathom why people wouldn’t prepare themselves as effectively as possible. And even on a more basic level, being hit in the head with rocks chucked up by cars ahead or by large bugs is unpleasant!

  32. Joe bar says:

    Generally speaking, I never ride without a helmet. However, I am guilty of testing my mopeds with a short blast down the street sans lid.

    I have a neighbor who calls the cops every time he sees me do this.

    For this one reason, I support helmet choice.

  33. Tim says:

    When I think of sports where there is a threat of trauma to the head, participants wear helmets either by choice or mandate. Beyond that, I happend to notice my truck mirrors the other day after a two hour trip on the highway at 70mph. All it would take is one large grass hopper in the eye at seventy and you’re a cyclops.

    I wear a red/white full face and a neon yellow jacket regardless of weather. My wife and kids need me.

  34. DeltaZulu says:

    Being that the world is getting more and more crowded and overpopulated, I think that helmets should be a choice. This also works to Darwin’s advantage, as the less intellectually potent (read: stupid) people will thin themselves out by not wearing helmets and eliminate themselves sooner and end the chances of their lesser genes from reproducing. And, I don’t claim to be very smart, however, I am JUST smart enough to realize that I would rather crack a helmet than my head.
    Also, love the comments “I’ve been riding for 42 years, and never had a problem” which means “I am so great that I love boasting about myself”, “why, when I was in the (insert organization here), I was a legend…. at least in my own mind. But, like I say, Darwin will thin them out soon enough.

  35. Nick says:

    I am for choice, there is way too much government interference in our lives. That said, not wearing a helmet is one of the dumbest things you can do on a motorcycle.

  36. Dave says:

    The helmet issue never seems to go away, but I do feel the AMA could use it’s time more wisely. Maybe it should be a personal choice, but I will not ride without one and mine is bright yellow. It has helped me be seen many times by inattentive drivers.

    Now if you want to talk about something that harms motorcycling more than anything else, let’s talk about loud pipes!!

  37. Dave Kent says:

    I’m for choice, as a matter of principle. Personal choice is the fastest eroding benefit to living in the US of A. That said, try this physics experiment before you make this choice:

    Find a brick wall with at least 100 ft of clear space in front of it. From a distance of 100 ft, run as fast as you can into the wall, using your arms to keep your head from impacting the brick. After you wake up, if you can still remember why you did that, consider how much more difficult it would be to keep your head off the pavement at traffic speeds. If, after this experiment, you still choose to ride without a helmet, I honor your choice, but my opinion of your intellect will be severely degraded.

  38. Fastship says:

    What is the real question, a helmet which may or may not protect from injury or the legislative imposition of same? In the European Union legislation is pending which will, amongst other things has the following intentions:

    It aims to stop owners and bike shops carrying out modifications to motorcycle power-trains, from the airbox down to and including the radius of the rear tyre.

    Implement legislation to enforce the reporting to the authorities by bike shops, of individuals who make such modifications

    It aims to prohibit the fitting of any engine re-mapping device

    It (the EU) admits that there is no evidence to say there is a problem caused by modifications, or what size that ‘problem’ may be.

    It aims to make ABS compulsory on every machine from 50cc up, adding hugely to the purchase price of cheap commuters, which is against the wishes of manufacturers too, who believe combined braking is often better suited

    It aims to limit the availability of aftermarket parts that may alter performance

    The technical substance of exactly what is included will be written after the legislation has become law in what are called Delegated Acts!

    The European Ombudsman has found the Commission has a case to answer that the legislation has been drafted in breach of European Treaties (evidence must exist to justify a new law)

    Other procedures seem to be at odds with democratic accountability

    In case you think that this is not a US problem think again – most of the good bikes are now European and many Japanese bikes too will have to physically modified to make it impossible to modify your own property (your bike) how you wish.

    One other recent “development” by Kawasaki which is relevent to this argument is a device with the innocent sound acronym “EDR”. Can you guess what it stands for? It stands for many things but Kawasaki call it an Event Data Recorder and it constantly records such data as your bikes speed, crankshaft speed, throttle opening, g-loads and many other parameters besides. Data is stored in the event of an accident and can be accessed, in Kawasaki’s own words “after obtaining riders consent, receiving a court order or where required by a law enforcement agency, other government authorities, or third parties acting with lawful authority”. YOU won’t have access to it though. EDR is planned to be fitted throughout the range of Kawasaki bikes – I have therefore, owned my last Kawasaki.

    I remember when compulsory helmet laws were introduced here in the UK and the argument against centred around personal choice and civil liberties. “Don’t be silly” I clearly remember being told by those in authority – “It is for your own protection”. Thin end of the wedge I thought and look where we are now.

    • Bruce says:

      Hate to break it to you, Fastship, but every major motorcycle brand already incorporates this sort of data logging at some level or another.

      For example, you crash into a wall, breaking several components on the motorcycle. The ECU stores these as technical faults and then saves the previous conditions, often 10 or more seconds prior to the incident. These data will include speed and throttle position at the very least, and can certainly condemn you in a court of law.

      Big brother is riding on your back seat… if you are the paranoid sort.

      Getting back to the helmet discussion, i find the argument silly at best. In particular, i like the above statement comparing the “right” to choose a helmet to the “right” to choose a speed limit. I want to ride without a helmet, and i deserve the right to ride at 150 mph too!

      What other sports would you do without the standard safety equipment? Football? Fencing? Skydiving?!

  39. Doc says:

    I advocate wearing helmets but am against helmet laws. If we give up the fight, the next mandated item will be armored jackets, them pants, then airbage, then roll cages, and then extinction of our beloved sport. The line is in the sand, and if you don’t get on the right side of the fight, you only have yourself to blame when they take away our right to ride.

  40. soi cowboy says:

    It seems to me that the bulk of the ama’s time is spent on the helmet issue at the expense of land-use disputes and non-HD manufacturers, although loss of offroad riding areas is due to urban expansion and no amount of lobby money would be able to stop it.
    The other point is blatant favouritism of HD in drag racing and road racing (since HD can’t build dirtbikes) They passed over the formula 450 class, road racers built from 450 mx bikes, for the xr1200 class. Now it seems that the xr1200 is no longer available in the usa. Oh well… And another thing, there does not appear to be any concern about the high injury rate in 450 motocross. About a dozen of the top names are out due to injury. Is the ama even aware that this is a problem? How much longer are sponsors going to pay 6 figures for a rider to podium one or two races and then sit out the season with an injury?

  41. Dave on the Rex says:

    I’d like to see some kind of private, non-governmental financial incentive for helmet use, but I’m unable to come up with a mechanism.

    Ask any policeman, you can’t legislate away stupid.

    If we’re talking societal costs of bad choices, how about we start looking at the public costs of human reproduction, and the cost of other peoples’ offspring?

    • Bob Krzeszkiewiz says:

      “If we’re talking societal costs of bad choices, how about we start looking at the public costs of human reproduction, and the cost of other peoples’ offspring? ”

      Now you’re talking. Let’s audit this sytem,, have auditors in every region social services are offered, put caps on it and remove the abusers from it. They cost us more than anything else.

  42. Louis says:

    I once read an article that said “if you want to save your life, wear a helmet. If you want to save your face, wear a full-face helmet”. I split the difference and wear a modular helmet. One thing I think is a mistake is how many riders wear helmets that are flat-black or just dark in general. If you give the other motorist a chance to see you they usually do, so make it easier on them and wear a white or bright primary color helmet. It especially helps if you ride at night and wear a white helmet. Motorcycles have small taillights and even I can hardly see them sometimes. Just an opinion from an old guy…

  43. widdy says:

    Without my helmet I’d already be dead, or just brain dead if the rest of me would have survived my fall. It was the difference between hearing a loud bang and spilling my brains across the street.

    I won’t even ride my bicycle without a bicycle helmet. I’ve seen several massive crashes and saved lives thanks to helmets on bicycles too! In one instance the helmet came apart in our hands as we took it off our friend, shattered from the impact, but he didn’t even suffer a headache.

    I no longer snowboard without a helmet either. One good smack on the ice that left me with a two day headache was enough.

  44. Andres Freire says:

    I believe in the safety of my helmet, I wear it every single time I ride. However, I want to have the option of not wearing one (even though I never will). It’s the fact that it’s the law that makes me want to have a choice.

  45. Honyock says:

    I have seen the results of major brain injury all too close. I choose to wear a real helmet when I ride. I resent being forced to pay for diapers and 24/7 care for those who don’t.

    • Muck says:

      Ludicrous comment. I have insurance and you won’t be paying anything and the diaper comment is SOOO cliche’.

      • Chris says:

        You have insurance, as do Hanyock and I. We all pay premiums based on the casualty rates experienced by our insurance companies. If you stack up and sustain a severe head injury, Hanyock and I ineffect DO pay your frieght with the premiums we paid to that date, and with the elevated premiums we will pay in the future while you are riding a blowtube-controlled wheelchair (diaper or no). The money don’t come from the sky, Muck.

        • kjazz says:

          Okay, I cant resist….. You’re saying there is “ample evidence” that “they” (whoever they is) are prepared to say “HUMANS GOTTA GO TOO…” when CO2 reaches some hypothetical level??

          …and this notion is firmly connected (“ample evidence”) in your thinking to the helmet issue……??

          Hey I’m not criticizing you….. I just want to try to understand what you’re saying here. If you take the time to write it…..I’ll read it. But I STILL wouldn’t bet any real money on which side of the controversy you are on. Several snipets above/below seem to contradict themselves. NOthing personal.

    • Joe bar says:

      That argument has been debunked. The actual impact is far less than people fear.

  46. johnny ro says:

    Good, another helmet string.

    I myself am too dumb to realize I need to wear a motorcycle helmet when its not legally required. 42 years of riding and no problem so far.

  47. Rich says:

    I am ambivalent on the subject. Perhaps we need to require insurance coverage commensurate with the risk? Those who choose to ride sans helmet should pay for the privilege. Choices have consequences (or should).

    • tla says:

      good point, this might be a fair way to do it, except what if you don’t pay for the privelege and then crash without a lid?

      • Dave says:

        Forfeit your non-liability coverage.

        This used to be such a hot-button issue with me. I’m a lot more lax about it now. I choose to wear a helmet at all times and I’d rather share the road with helmetless riders than more 8,000lb SUV’s. I just wish everyone would wake up in the morning and realize that they all have others who care about and rely on them and that a helmet is the tiniest infringement on their experience compared to what it can save.

  48. Jake says:

    If education fails then legislation (and enforcement) is the only answer.

  49. Steve says:

    The helmet is to motorcycles what a seatbelt is for an automobile driver. It is the single most important piece of safety gear and it should be mandatory, some people are too dumb to realize it.