Helmet laws are in the news again, with The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) making a concerted push for states to enact tougher legislation regarding mandatory use of helmets by the motorcycle-riding public. Currently 47 states have some form of helmet law, with Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire the only states with no law regarding helmet use.
Figures compiled by the NTSB show the number of motorcycle fatalities doubled between 1997 and 2008. Such deaths declined in 2009, but even that year’s 4,400 deaths are unacceptable, especially when it surpassed the combined deaths of our nation’s rail, marine and pipeline mishaps.
Motorcycles make up only 3 percent of the registered vehicles on the road, but 13 percent of the fatalities, according to the NTSB figures. More alarming is the fact that motorcycle riders are dying on the highway at the rate of more than a dozen a day.
Personally I choose to wear a helmet, which wasn’t always the case. My first couple of years I didn’t wear a helmet but as my skill level increased and I became a more aggressive rider, I started wearing a full-face helmet on my daily blasts.
Now I feel naked if I leave the house without it. To me there are way too many uncontrollable factors out there that could wind up costing me life or limb. Loose gravel, motorists on cell phones, wildlife darting across the road — the list is endless. For me, it’s too great a risk to take. All I have to do is think about the wife and 6-year-old that I would leave behind and I’m snapping it on. Besides, the way I ride my bike I’d be stupid not to wear one.
Plenty of riders will tell you that a helmet impairs their vision. Or it’s uncomfortable and cumbersome. Some will even try to convince you that you are safer without one — a ludicrous notion! Everyone who owns a bike has an opinion on helmet laws. But is that really the issue? Is this more about rights than safety? Take a moment and respond to this blog post. Tell us what you think.