wear a helmet, no matter how stupid your state laws are
April 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm #3834
Kentucky legislators were paid off by rich and stupid riders to change our previous mandatory helmet law, so we now have thousands of idiots cruising around with no helmet or a ridiculous cereal bowl helmet with no energy absorbing foam liner, no jacket, no gloves, and no boots- they think they are so cool while they slowly destroy their hearing. Some call them future organ donors. I got this from a web site:
“Helmets decrease the severity of head injuries, the likelihood of death, and the overall cost of medical care. They are designed to cushion and protect riders’ heads from the impact of a crash. Just like safety belts in cars, helmets cannot provide total protection against head injury or death, but they do reduce the incidence of both. NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmets reduce the likelihood of a crash fatality by 37 percent. Norvell and Cummings found a 39 percent reduction in the risk of death after adjusting for age, gender, and seat position.
Helmets are highly effective in preventing brain injuries, which often require extensive treatment and may result in lifelong disability. In the event of a crash, unhelmeted motorcyclists are three times more likely than helmeted riders to suffer traumatic brain injuries.
While no real-world crash studies have yet evaluated the effectiveness of novelty helmets, or helmets that do not meet federal performance standards for preventing injury or death, recent NHTSA laboratory tests suggest that head injuries are much more likely with these helmets than with ones certified to the US Department of Transportation standard.”April 3, 2010 at 1:00 pm #25385
I am originally from Florida, which did away with the helmet law back in the ’90s. Originally I didn’t care until I realized once I started riding how hazardous it is to have debris kicked up by cars end up smacking you upside the head. I have numerous scratches on my helmets from small rocks being kicked up and hitting me in the helmet. If I weren’t wearing one, it would have caught me in the head and hit hard enough to possibly make me lose control of the bike. This changed my entire outlook on the matter.
The state I currently live in, PA, did away with the helmet law as well back in 2005 or 2006. There is a stipulation to it, however, and that is that if you are still under your learner’s permit or have had your motorcycle license less than 2 years, you are required to wear a helmet. FL had a weird stipulation as well. The state of FL does not require you to carry insurance on a motorcycle (or didn’t back in the 90s anyway), but only people who have insurance are allowed to go without a helmet. The FL insurance law is weird. You’re not required to carry insurance on your bike, however, if you are involved in an accident or cited for a moving violation while operating a motorcycle uninsured, it can result in loss of your Class M license.April 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm #25386
Several states have replaced an earlier mandatory helmet law with a more “free” helmet law.
I suppose we should also make seat belts, air bags, and electronic stability control optional for all cars, and let football players go back to wearing 1910 style leather helmets- if they are total dumbasses that want to risk more concussions while increasing the health insurance costs for everyone.April 3, 2010 at 6:48 pm #25387
Much like WZ touched upon, even if it weren’t for the fact that it can save your life, with the bugs, pebbles, etc, that’s out there, why would you consider riding without a helmet?
I remember last summer I was pretty excited, I had a perfect afternoon off, I was on Vermont Rt. 17, a legendary motorcycle road, for the first time on my bike. I was about to hit the first serious twist when this giant green thing-either the biggest bug, or the smallest bird, in the state-exploded on impact with my face shield. I had to pull over and find some tissues to wipe it down; truly gross, but a minor inconvenience. If I hadn’t had a helmet with a face shield it would have been traumatic, and probably pretty painful.
As for protecting my noggin, I’ve been wearing a helmet to ski(and snow is usually a bit softer than pavement) since the mid 90’s, when it looked rather odd to see an adult with anything other than a wool hat. My bike may be naked, but my head will never be.April 5, 2010 at 4:31 am #25420
In Alaska, only passengers are required to wear helmets. I always think that it is absolutely incredible to see these guys riding around with a helmet strapped to the sissy bar and a bandanna on their heads…
Dummies.July 2, 2010 at 8:59 am #27301
often people who don’t wear helmets have a set argument as to why they feel the way they do about it… they’ll either claim the helmet hampers their awareness or visibility of their surroundings… or they’ll just be blunt and say it doesn’t look cool to wear a helmet.
for the argument of lowering visibility, thats BS. anyone who rides and bike (or rides a bike well) knows where you look is where you go, so you’re focus should be forward or through your corner at all times. and it’s not like the helmet takes away your ability to hear anything, if anything it makes the wind LESS intense, not to mention the roar of your bike if you’re riding something with loud pipes.
as for the cool factor, this is the one i really dont get. the beauty of helmets is that you’re options for colors or graphic styles are endless, and honestly matching your bike with your gear is pretty damn cool looking. and if you’re willing to shell out the extra cash for the pricier model helmets, you can get some pretty rock’n art on a very high quality helmet.
not to mention, in my personal opinion, the helmet (specifically the full face variety) is an integral part of the modern motorcycle look. when i think rider, i think someone walking into their local cafe with a helmet under their arm. it turns heads and it looks cool. someone riding bald or with a bandana or something just looks like a cocky moron, and a statistic waiting to happen… not someone who’s more skilled.
wear a helmet, ride safe… and dammit, look cool while you do it.July 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm #27303
Whatever your personal choice of gear is. One thing should remain constant. The freedom to make your own choice…… the airbags ARE optional as with ABS. I’ve said it before… focus on what you do while your riding your ride……everyone else’s risks are their own.July 2, 2010 at 7:40 pm #27304
I get the personal choice thing and it sways me, it really does. My problem with it is there are other people at risk, even if just emotionally, when a rider gets injured or killed in an accident. If that can be helped or prevented by having safety laws it makes good sense to me.
I don’t just mean the rider’s family either. I mean others who may have been involved in the accident (regardless of fault) the EMT involved, the bystanders who witness it, the traffic issues created in a serious or fatal accident, the resources used at the hospital, the police—many people are impacted when a rider gets seriously hurt or killed on the road. To me that means one’s personal right to risk their life does have to be weighed against everyone else’s right to have risk to their well being and resources managed and limited when possible.
It will always be a gray area when we are talking individual rights vs impact on the public. The people who can admit it and see both sides are the only ones who are worth talking to about it, but sadly it is not solvable and will always become a matter of opinion instead of fact.
EliJuly 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm #27305
If we were to take what you state to heart on any level may as well just live in a bubble and pray it does not pop. Any tragedy, drama….or anything that does not have the end result of a smile will negatively impact someone. With the rationale of that then we need to just go ahead and outlaw all motorcycles, planes, trains, and automobiles. There’s bound to be a wreck and lord knows we Don’t want to risk that. It amazes me how willing some seem to be to give up their freedoms for the sake of a sterile, non risk taking, boring life. Do you honestly think the government would stop at just helmets? Next will be our bikes…… because their is just to much risk involved. Then maybe your car………oh and may as well paint everything beige since it is a neutral color…..wouldn’t want to risk your eye sight would you? Oh and any and all music….since that requires speakers and could potentially destroy your hearing.
Sounds extreme I know, but every freedom you give up leaves a slippery slope to another gone. Let people live and make mistakes to learn from and there is progress made in growing. Make the decisions for them and you stagnate learning, progress and the joy of living. Best example……. ask a teenager a question and see how many times you hear the response ” I don’t know” before you get pissed. No experiences to learn from, whether it be theirs or someone else’s, and it will become the worlds motto.
Instead of freedom killing legislation. … educate, inform, and then step back allow life to progress. I wear my helmet always…no matter the state….. Its to great of a risk for me personally not to, but if someone else is cool without it…it is not upon me to dictate to them what to do because I deem it appropriate.July 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm #27308
Look, if you read what i said carefully you would see that I conceded your point and said it is a gray area with another side to it. Gross exaggeration can go both directions and does little good when debating REALITIES. For example are you saying that there should be no safety laws? That anyone should be allowed to drive any vehicle any way they see fit at any speed, any age, whether drunk stoned or sober? Burn tires in an uncontrolled fire in the walkway between our and our neighbors house while blasting 120 decibel show tunes at three in the morning on a work day?…it’s weak. I know you are not for that and you know that I don’t think all vehicles and colored paint should be banned. Being scared to make any laws because it would kind of makes you as paranoid and unrealistic as the people you are mocking.
Yes I agree that we live in a nanny state, the knee jerk reaction that all safety restrictions bad and we will be imprisoned in bubbles is just as ridiculously fear based as those who would ban motorcycles. It’s a risk we take living in a society of laws that we need to manage as group and individuals. Saying that helmet laws will certainly lead to a loss of all rights is the same vein as saying riding bikes at all will lead to certain death. Let’s do our best to be as even keeled as we can and we will win some and lose some until the end of humanity–live with it.
I do not want people to learn and grow by risking someone else’s life or liberty. If you don’t have the judgment to not drink and ride your motorcycle, as an example, and you swerve into my wife’s lane and cause her to wreck and be killed, or even just miss work for a day or two, I am not going to be impressed with an assertion that you lived and learned from your mistake that was your right to make. In fact the number of repeat offenders for any infraction shows that that is not how bad judgment becomes good. I am positive that you know folks who make the same stupid mistakes over and over and over again at increasing consequence. The cemeteries are full of them AND the innocent victims of their bad judgment. I’m sorry, but if you need to hurt yourself or someone else to figure out what is acceptable risk then I am happy to have the entire group decide for you before you cause damage.
And as for your teenager example, get the kids off the television, internet, video games and you will see a lot more help with their life experience than allowing unsafe behavior to remain legal whatever the cost to society.
I know you are a very smart guy, I like reading your posts and your straight forward style is appreciated by me. I agree with most of your opinions and I respect your views on the things I have no experience with myself. I can’t stand the political tactics of the day that include ridiculing opposing views by hyperbole to the point of lunacy in order to be “right” about a matter of opinion. It is another way along with over legislation, over litigation etc that I feel we are headed in the wrong direction in this country. It doesn’t solve anything or often waters down your point and you end up preaching to the choir instead of actual positive debate. Try not to do it, your views should be able to stand on their own merit.
EliJuly 2, 2010 at 10:28 pm #27311
Yes I agree with you that some…again …some laws out there should be and are effective. Well effective as deterring those that are law abiding and a measure to punish those that care not to and get caught. I exaggerated the point as dramatization usually gets the point across in most cases. Reading your response I know likely we sit in the same state of mind for most points, just maybe not in the presenting of it.
Your second to the last paragraph is an absolute podium I take up every chance I get. It agrees, as we seem to be doing, on the point of educating the nature of cause and effect. Teach them nothing….they learn nothing. Experience nothing…you learn nothing. I concede some of my exaggerations are maybe a bit far out in the field. However I stand by them more on the examples of the very reason you agree we are in a nanny state of life.
I meant to try to be less identifying in my response as I didn’t want to come across debating agreement. Guess as my kids would say…. phail. My intentions were to show the other side of the coin in a manner to get some folks to stop and think. I would like to think in most situations common sense would rule the day…. but as a teacher from the past would say “Common is only defined by which tribe you hail from”.March 2, 2011 at 4:01 pm #29323
(Image blocked due to graphic nature)
I dont want to see my head like this so I recommend and suggest everyone to use helmet while riding.
Thanks and regards,
– Nexx-usaMarch 3, 2011 at 6:36 am #29327
Looking up there, I agree that not wearing a helmet is just plain stupid when you look at the statistics. However, I do agree with Munch as well, that sometimes you need to let people make decisions for themselves. Also, something Munch may agree with too, a coworker of mine often says that we are trying too hard to keep stupid people alive.
Helmets do not always make people safer. Safety gear itself does not always make people safer, same with mandating it. There are a number of factors at play here. One is that sometimes people are unfamiliar with the safety gear and will use it improperly and perhaps put themselves at a greater risk because of it (not likely with helmets, but the point is valid). Another is that some people with intentionally use the equipment improperly, I know of a person that still refuses to put on their seat belt, they will go so far as to stretch it across their chest and tuck it under their butt. There are always going to be some people that will simply not use the equipment, mandatory or not. The one reason that many people tend to forget is that when we feel safe, we tend to take greater risks. It is not a hard-fast rule, but going atgatt can (not will) make you stupid, thinking going along the lines of “I have my gear on, I’m safe, now watch this wheelie” (a little hyperbole, I know).
Now, the one of the top safety tips I hear/read (other than atgatt and rider training) is make yourself as visible as possible. I don’t know about anywhere else, but here in Oregon the easiest way to make yourself visible on a bike is to have a light-colored helmet; it even seems to be more effective than a light colored jacket.
I like the PA law that WeaponZero was talking about, having new riders wear helmets and letting more experienced riders choose. It lets you have your freedom, but keeps new riders protected while they are most likely to have an incident. A decent balance.March 3, 2011 at 11:57 pm #29332
The problem with having new riders wear a helmet for the first year or two is that many new riders break the law, and are only caught after they crash and get hurt. The most famous examples are Arnold Shwarzennegger with his less than full face helmets, former Terminator movie star and ex- California governator; and Ben Rothlisburger, Packers quarterback (I know the spelling is wrong for their foreign last names).
Here is one article about Big Ben, it makes you wonder if he would have done better during the last Superbowl, if he did not break his face and rattle his brain in 2006 while a noobie on a 1,300cc Hayabusa with no fricken helmet on in city traffic, not even one of those goofy Nazi helmets with no liner and a spike on top:
Here is an article about The Ahnold’s crash:March 6, 2011 at 9:34 pm #29335
It’s one thing to post in a video that has a warning. That way people don’t have to watch it. But not everybody wants to be scrolling through a forum post on their lunch hour just to see an impaled leg chillin half-way down the page. How’s that chicken leg tastin’ now?
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