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NTSB Pushing For Mandatory Helmet Law

Posted in Legal, Motorcycle, Newsworthy, Politics, Safety by Kurt Ernst | November 21st, 2010 | 11 Responses |

Me in 2004, somewhere in New York state.

If you ride a motorcycle, chances are good you have an opinion on wearing a helmet. In my experience, riders fall into two categories: one doesn’t want the government telling them what to do, and rarely (if ever) do these riders wear helmets. When traveling through states with helmet laws, these riders opt for the bear minimum to avoid getting pulled over. On the other side of the fence are riders, like myself, who wear a full face helmet each and every time we saddle up. Having eaten pavement in a crash, it’s not something I’d care to go through sans helmet.

The option to go helmet-less under all circumstances currently exists in Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire only, but an additional 27 states have only partial helmet laws. These usually require younger riders to wear helmets, while leaving older riders free to choose. Twenty states, plus Washington D.C., mandate the use of DOT approved helmets for motorcycle riders of all ages.

The National Transportation Safety Board is looking to change all this, and has put legislation requiring nationwide helmet use near the top of their wish list for safety improvements. This move follows a recent report showing that motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled in a period (1997 to 2008) where overall highway fatalities declined. Last year showed a reduction in motorcycle fatalities, but this was likely due to an economy-related decline in bikes on the road. Department of Transportation studies show that head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents, so the push for mandatory helmet laws is a logical next step in reducing fatalities.

What’s your take? Are you pro helmet laws or against helmet laws? Do you wear one when you ride? Why or why not?

Source: Autoevolution

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11 Responses

  1. Mark Smith says:

    Me? I always wore a helmet when I rode. You? You should be able to choose. Just don’t expect ME to pay if you end up messing yourself up.

    IMO, this country has become far too “I know what is best for you”. Everybody knows that wearing a helmet is safer. So is wearing a seatbelt. However, if you choose not to do either of these, it doesn’t necessarily make ME less safe. So long as your action doesn’t endanger others AND you don’t expect others to pay for your increased risk, you should be able to do whatever you darned well want.

    Oh, and nothing can help you if some moron passes you at 100+ mph on a 2 lane country road causing some innocent driving in his lane to lose control and careen into you.

  2. […] riders wear helmets. When traveling through states with helmet laws, these riders opt for the […]Read more… Categories: Uncategorized Tags: AMG, Global Debut, LA, Mercedes […]

  3. BigRuss says:

    i have always ridden with a lid on… so im all for it… hell most times im on the bike is with full gear… very few times have i gone with out any protective gear at all…

  4. Jim says:

    I hate the government telling me what to do. However, I always use a full face helmet. I know how to police myself. You’re absolutely right about the idiots that generally don’t like their government telling what to do. Here’s the way I see it, there shouldn’t be a law about helmets. However if you get in a wreck, you pay out of pocket. Not your insurance either (I don’t want to pay for your stupidity with higher premiums). If you can’t afford to pay for it, then goodbye you deserve to die. It was your choice.

  5. BigRuss says:

    its funny how much even the cheapest gear can save your ass.. had a buddy go down in a pair of riding jeans, some generic gloves and i think a 150 dollar jacket from cycle gear, aside from some serious bruises from low-siding he was fine… i think the worst he got was maybe a minor scratch

  6. Kurt Ernst says:

    I crashed at 60+ MPH on a country road wearing a full-face helmet and an Aerostitch suit. If I hadn’t been wearing gear, there’s no doubt in my mind I’d have shattered my left knee (already rebuilt once), broken my collarbone and lost quite a bit of skin from my face. That’s all it took to convince me that good gear is worth the money.

    Also, consider this: it was a cold day, so I was wearing liner gloves underneath leather gloves. Despite 2 layers of gloves, I STILL got a second degree burn on my finger from sliding across pavement.

    For the record, I’d been riding for better than 20 years when I went down, and always considered myself “immune” from crashing. I learned that there is no such thing.

  7. nospaces says:

    you three are harsh, I like it

    I’m going to take the New Hampshire perspective, Live free or die, man.

  8. Kurt Ernst says:

    Nosapces, would that be “live free on life support and a ventilator, thanks to a traumatic brain injury, or die?”

  9. DaveMofo! says:

    Most insurance companies refuse to pay for a fallen rider’s healthcare if they weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of crash. IF the rider lives, we as a society pay for that person’s foolishness by covering their healthcare from the crash that they can’t pay for. I HATE the idea of the government telling ANYONE what to do. Should it even be an issue? Riding is inherently dangerous, and the odds are against you. Just wear the god damn thing so the god damn nanny state can move on to mothering some one else. Stupidity can’t be legislated against.

    • Gerry says:

      I’ve had two accidents over 33 years of riding. Both accidents were without a helmet and both required me to received medical care. Reading the comment here about insurance refusing to pay medical care for helmetless riders made me wonder if something had changed over the years. So I checked with my insurance agent (call line) at Geico and had a friend call his agent at Dairyland. Neither company refuses to pay for riders that don’t wear helmets. I will typically wear a helmet but occasionally go bare-headed. Luckily, the claim about insurance companies refusing to pay appears to be just a wive’s tale.

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