Helmet Laws Rear Their Heads Again

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December 2, 2010 | By: Patrick Garvin

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.

Comments: 173 Comments | Categorized Under: Announcements

Comments (173)

It is about the right of choice. The only way it becomes a public safety issue is if they(suits) can prove that riding w/o a helmet can harm OTHERS. That is silly, so it’s just the dummies we elect to office thinking we’re too stupid to think for our selves. I don’t wear a helmet if I don’t have to, just don’t like it. I’ve lived in states w/lid laws, didn’t like it but rode w/one on, normally the least helmet I could find; ie a beeny. I’ve many friends that won’t if they don’t have to, also many that will no ,matter the law. Either way is fine as long as we the riders are free to chose for our selves.

The way I see it is if it is good for one then it should be good for all. If it is to be mandatory then everyone should where one not just motorcycles. This should stop the non riding voters from getting involved in hat the riders need or want. Right to choose should be our right and not the choice of others that are not affected by the decision.

This is definitely another intrusion into individual rights. I have been riding for 36 years and I rarely wear my helmet. It should be my call. What’s next? Mandatory boots or gloves or leathers? How about manditory helmet laws for all drivers and passengers in every type of vehicle? After all wouldn’t it save lives?

I have been riding for about 45 years. I have had two major accidents. Both were life-threatening and would have killed me if I had not been wearing a helmet. The last accident I killed a deer, fractured my skull and had a bleed, in spite of a helmet. Think what I would have had if my sole protection was my do-rag! I never ride without a full face helmet, and never will.

Thats your choice
And i should have mine

First off, you don’t know if yu would have been killed or not since there is no way to test that theory… Second, not everyone who has a motorcyle crash suffers head injuries. I have been riding 30+ years also and I had a serious motorcycle accident and suffered no head injuries at all, and no I was not wearing a helmet.

Some people find the initial snug feel a bit
uncomfortable. The GP-RSR like the GP-CAGLLARI and GP-MX3 is power by a 2 stroke 47cc motor fuel by
a mixture of gas and oil. Even if you are the safest driver around,
you still have to follow the law.

It should be about the freedom to choose. Insurance companies do studies that determine X number of people will live or DIE due to helmet usage. Which ever number favors their profits most determines what they lobby for to make laws. They really don’t care either way. NEXT it will be helmets in cars will reduce head injuries and therefore we should all be forced by law to wear helmets in cars….. after all it has been proven they are safe to drive in heavy traffic at high speed, such as NASCAR so why not in regular cars?

Laugh now but wait and see.

We live in the USA , freedom of choice should be a reality not to be touched or argued. Veterans have died to assure that freedom.

I’v been riding for over 50 years I put in 4 years 6 months in a war. And I don’t feel people who don’t ride and our goverment should have the right to forse helmets on anyone. If you are going 45 or 50 mph and impact a solide object and your body makes impact there is a better than average chance you will die and the helmet dident help you a bit. let those who ride deside every one knows the risk.

I wear a 1/2 helmet because I want to, but let everyone decide for them self. The goverment should deal with getting the drunk drivers off the roads. (ex: the woman in RI that had 8 convections on her record and on the 9th killed someone) Then the roads would be saver.

The safety aspect of wearing helmets really isn’t the issue. The NTSB, like a lot of other local, state, and federal agencies are caving in to an insurance industry that routinely spends millions of dollars buying influence in D. C. Insurers won’t have to pay, if we the riders, don’t abide by the conditions of a particular policy. Take a look at automotive seat belt laws. I wear a helmet; most of the time; by choice! I’ve been riding motorcycles for over 40 years and consider myself very very lucky not to have been seriously injured, or worse. Helmets, like seat belts, should be our choice. The consequences of my actions are my responsibility.

I ALWAYS wear a helmet. I don’t make many risky moves. I believe riders without helmets are taking an unnecessary risk. But I also believe we have the right to make our own decisions.

If only 3 states have no helmet laws and fatalities doubled during those years…it’s impossible to blame a lack of helmets for those fatalities isn’t it. After all people in 47 states wore helmets and I highly doubt all the fatalities occurred in 3 states.
I see people driving while talking on cell phones, texting, eating, putting on makeup, driving like freakin morons, working on laptops, reading newspapers, dogs or kids in their laps, and you wonder why accidents happen. You just can’t legislate a brain or the ability to use it.
I imagine the same folks that insist I wear a helmet also want me to take my Vance & Hines Big Radius pipes off because they wake up the idiot next to me. I wear a helmet in Mass where I live cuz I have to, when I ride in NH I don’t wear one. Guess where I’m retiring to?

After 60 years of riding, I am most greatfull for the helmet. If it was not for this creation there could be no response from me at all. Twice, I would have left brain matter along the pavement. Instead I lived, leaving me broken up but with my head intact, the helmets were shattered and in pieces. Perhaps its because Im older and wiser now or perhaps my ego has matured and I dont have to impress the world as to how tough I might be anymore. Wear your helmets my friends, a full face is probably the best, your face may thank you for doing so one day. Ride safe. Helgi

I wear a DOT approved Half helmet durring the hot summer months and a 3/4 or full face in winter. Its my head so i wear one but I dont like being told that i have to wear one.

In Minnesota we did not have a helmet law for a number of years, 1980 (plus AND minus). I always kept a helmet with me. In traffic, or on the freeway, I would wear one. Out on the open road or country lanes it felt great to go bare headed. Back in the ’70′s… California (under the Reagan administration?) published more than one report about increased NECK injuries due to wearing a helmet. The extra weight of the helmet propelled the head forward at increased velocity and upon impact created more serious injuries than without a helmet. Government control is not the answer. Common sense as to when to wear or not to wear is the answer. If I die on my bike, is that your problem. I think not.

The insidious concept that the Government knows what’s best for us and has the power to make all our decisions undermines the concept of personal responsiblity. I wear a helmet on the road because I choose to, but I say “F” the laws, the politicians, the lawyers, and the Insurance companies who own them all. If this was really America, Land of the Free, there would be no such laws.

AS a rider i feel i have to watch out for all other people on the road as i ride im always thinking whats this guy doing and where i can go if things go wrong . i think as we get more experance we tend to get lax at watching out for the other people mainly cars, a lot of motorcycle fatalities the rider could have done something to lessen that accident. its up to us not people driving cars cuase they wont ! that said why would you not want to protect your self anyway you could the helmet is not perfect but neather is the head that go in it. i have no trouble wearing one

Well lets start at the beginning. in 1979 I crashed at hi speed on the interstate and split a bell 3/4 shell across the to and back while riding my bike. 5 and a half months with a cast on my right wrist. I’ve had a few close calls because of 4 wheel cage drivers but nothing serious while riding without a helmet but that is attributated to experience…. This past april how ever I had the worst kind of motorcycle accident. The dredded left turn Idiot. I survived flying over his hood, windshield, and roof with only two fractured wrists. and never touched my helmet to the ground… was it fate or the practice of safer riding watching for clowns that are not watching for you… Helmets do save lives but it should be the riders choice. In 2007 I had a drunk woman run into my marked patrol car and knocked me out for couple of seconds maybe I should have been wearing a helmet then…… I live to ride and ride to live also being aware of those around me thats what really saves lives……

(LAWMAN)
RETIRED

The stats NHTSA provide are misleading. Fatalities are not from rider error but from motorists not doing what they should be doing behind the wheel…driving! When our legislators decide to look at the real problem behind accidents and deaths and the accurate number of deaths, then I will discuss these issues. I have both worn and not worn helmets and I can guarantee you they are not sufficient to save the head, brain or life when slammed by a 2300 piece of metal. Helmets only sufficiently are good for impacts up to 13 MHP. They are a plastic hull and also crack. A motorist will get a ticket for wearing a helmet in their car because it hinders vision and hearing in traffic. Amazing huh?

The number one cause of head injury fatalities are falls at home according to the CDC. Maybe we should wear a helmet at home. The number one cause of fatalities in automoble crashes are head trauma according to NHTSA, maybe we should wear one in the car.

I have been riding for 45 years and I ride without a helmet when I can. One issue that I have experienced when I lived in states that had a helmet law is the fact that it created another crime. I am a trusting person and I have had at least 4 helmets stolen from my bike when I had it parked somewhere and hung the helmet on the sissy bar. Now I am stuck riding home without a helmet and another crime has been commited. You go to a flea market in helmet states and there are thousands of “used” helmets for sale. There is no market or demand in states that don’t require helmets. I am probably to blame for tempting thieves by leaving my helmet on my bike. There is another law that can be enacted. It is illegal to leave a helmet on your bike.

I have always worn a helmet and always will. I began riding in Massachusetts as a teenager, where helmets were mandatory. I’m not sure if I would have started off wearing one back then, but had no choice. At age 18, I had a serious accident at 45 mph, wearing an open-face (3/4 style) helmet, and the ER docs agreed that the helmet saved my life. The open face style meant months of reconstructive surgery on my face, so now I wear a full-face helmet nearly all the time. I now live in Illinois, where there are no helmet laws. I’ve heard every lame excuse in the book for not wearing one, and in my opinion, they are all BS. They do not cut down on peripheral vision unless you are a bug-eyed frog, they do not cut down on hearing (loud pipes do that, though), and there is absolutely no medical or scientific evidence that cervical fractures increase with a helmet. Personally, I don’t care if we have helmet laws or not, because they don’t affect me. If you have a brain worth protecting, you’ll wear a helmet. If not, you won’t. That’s why I don’t join ABATE – they focus too much on helmet laws when they should be focusing on rider and cage driver education programs.

I have been riding for 40+ years and firmly believe it should be the riders choice, Every time iI hear a survey it is slanted to the point of veiw that the survey wants by various means, hence none are accurate.
I have ridden in free states and those that require a brain bucket. I prefer no helmet for comfort, and safety reasons. To me a helmet provides a false sense of safety,is heavy , causes tiredness, causes heat problems in the summer and some a side vision problem. the reason, is you see a lot of people riding in shorts and flip flops with a full face helmet, with the visor up and no eye protection. Personally i am convinced these riders are nuts, but consider it thier choice. A note” my state does NOT require eye protection”
I will admit helmets do save lives in certain crashes BUT also cause Death in others. With this in mind LET THOSE WHO RIDE DECIDE nuff said

Since the death rate of motorcyclists has risen steadily with the use of cellphones in vehicles, I propose that a lockout device be implemented so that the drivers cellphone is disabled whenever their vehicle is in gear. I have seen more idiots blow through lights and cross center lines while on their cell phones … It was bad enough when you just had to look out for the old blind ones, now everyone seems blind.

BTW, Give me Liberty!

What’s the difference in a helmet law and a seat belt law or texting law? If you people would take time to think rather than going along with the crowd, you’d realize that it saves lives just like seat belts on your car. This means lower ins. rates in the long run. Use your head for something besides a battering ram.

Let the rider decide….period….no other dialog is necessary. “Live Free or Die”

Good comments. As you say, it is not a question about whether it is best to wear or not, although I do question those that ride with a helmet and then wear shorts, t-shirts and tennis shoes. I would guess, and it is just a guess, that at least as many people die from massive internal injuries or bleeding from loss of limbs (because there is insufficient body armor protection) as there are that die from head injuries (due to lack of helmet). Seems to me that it is irrational to argue for only partial protection…either all or none. I am one of the stupid ones that does not wear a helmet most of the time, and depend just as stupidly on my extra caution for protection, but I know that someday it will catch up to me and I will probably pay for it. But, as long as I have sufficient insurance to take care of those who depend on me, and I am not a drain on society for my injuries, it is my choice, as you said, that is what it really gets down to, not a matter of rights, but of choice. Good comments.

Talk about a one sided comment. This is the land of the free! That is why I fought in VietNam (for our Freedom and why I belong to abate for years.
let those who ride deside………semper fi

I have ridden motorcycles since 1969 and would swear in court that they do block the vision, they do block the sound of whats around you, and they boil your brain on hot days and make you more susceptable to heat stroke/tireness/unalertness. I can also say that they saved my head from being scalped a time or two. With that said, I still believe that it is MY choice! I will choose when and where it is best for me to wear one. It is my live and I pay taxes to cover whatever happens if I am hurt/killed. But I would rather LIVE FREE 100 % of the time, then live repressed 100% of the time riding, just because I have a 1-3% chance of getting hurt. We can’t all live forever and that is NOT what God or life have meant for us. Seat Belt issue is the same…it is OUR choice…most of this is done for money anyway,,,by insurance companies and sales of the product with really NO bearing on what is safe. If that were the case we wound NOT have cars with headlight/turnsignals on the sides of cars instead of in the front where they can be seen by all in all directions! we would not have all the controls on the turn signal controls, high beams would be back on the floor, we would not have steering wheels so polluted with controls you accidentally hit all things when you least expect it.
AND you would not have cars that control YOU,,,you would have cars that YOU control!!!!

hi i live in the uk, and in florida, in the uk it has been a legal requirement to wear a helmet since 1970, its no big deal, i just put it on, same as my leathers, gloves and boots. if a loose stone hits your head it hurts without a helmet , and i have seen a lot of serious injuries, with or without them, remember all car drivers are idiots, it aint what you do
when i am in florida i enjoy not having to wear one , its so hot with one on, but only on short journeys. on the interstate i always wear one, its not about freedom of choice its just plain old fashioned common sense , some thing a lot of us bikers are lacking unfortunately

Every day in this great land of ours our freedoms are being stripped away in every aspect of our lives, the only way as “us” as individuals can make a difference is to be pro active, we need to vote, we need to tell our Representatives how we feel, we cant sit around and let others make our laws, if your reading this then by god you are capable of surfing around to find who you can write and what you can do to make a difference, I for one am tired of being told what I can and can not do by a bunch of yo yo’s sitting around in 3 piece suits…..

It still amazes me to hear all of the stupid reasons people use to avoid wearing helmets. How can any reasonable person not think of how much protection you get by covering your most vulnerable spot. These are the same people that were pissed about wearing seat belts. There are so many studies that show how lives are saved every day from the use of helmets. I have a co-worker that does not wear it just because he has to. He agrees that it is better to have it on but will not just to get back at the man! Who is the idiot here? Reading some of the responses about helmets weighing 10 pounds, REALLY! Helmets today made from carbon fiber and such weigh just a couple of pounds. They give great fields of view. I wish we did not have speed limits as I am a much better rider than the average and can handle speeds much higher than are allowed but you still have to protect the stupid jerks that would go faster than they can handle.

First let me say that I firmly believe the choice of wearing a helmet should be a personal one. Not mandated by law.

I am recovering from a stroke caused by my helmet. It was a half shell helmet that had a metal ring hidden in the strap that pressed on my carotid artery. Wind pulling on the helmet was enough to crush the artery and cause a massive stroke.

Helmets are not inspected for rider safety. Some pass DOT standards which are a joke. To believe that a puncture or impact test is enough to ensure you are safe wearing a helmet is fooling yourself.

In spite of my history I still wear a full face helmet and would by choice if there were no state law.

I wear a helmet in states that require it but prefer to not wear one. It should be my choice.

I live in Texas. The helmet law states that you have to show proof of health care insurance before you do not have to wear a helmet. I choose not to wear a helmet most of the time. I have the required insurance but feel that I should make my own decisions. We have WAYYY too much govt. intervention in our lives.

I’m 65 years old and have ridden a chopped, hardtail Panhead Harley for 50 years without wrecking. I don’t wear a helmet and avoid states that require them. Any BIKER, not the weekend warriors or the truck and trailer show guys that trailer their Hawgs to Sturgis and other “biker” functions, will tell you how much peripheral vision and hearing are lost, and how much neck damage and pain can result from the force of wind against a helmet. I need FULL use of my vision and hearing to avoid the idiots out to kill me with their cars and trucks etc. Wear one if you choose to, but don’t try to put one on me or the BIKERS I ride with.

I agree with those that say helmets should be a choice. I live in a state with a helmet law and I abide by the law. But when I go across state lines on occasion I will take the helmet off. My choice. I have to have the insurance to cover the injuries that may be sustained in the event of an accident. Hell that is what insurance is for. You weigh the risk.

When I ride I wear boots gloves leathers helment in the winter loose the leather except vest & wear half finger gloves in the summer. I do it cause I have seen a lay down & what it will do to you. I do this by choice except for helment. State law. When I go to a state with no helment law I still wear one. It should be up to the rider. When there is a fatality it usaually other bodily injuries that are the reason for the fatality. If all they have to do at the NTSB is harass the bikers. Lets get the cagers to stop texing and talking with a phone glued to their ear.Usaly the bikes not at fault its the cager that caused the accident. Lets do something to protect us from them. Their killing us were not killing us.Just like when a big rig ties up with a cager it’s the truck who the NTSB comes down on not the cager who caused the accident. When are they gonna be held accountable. We have lost 3 brothers hit by cagers and died of internal injuries not head injuries.

I have been riding for 46 years now. When
I started riding, helmet use was not mandated where I live. Over the years, the Nanny State evolved into making it a requirement for me to where a helmet. I went along with the law, cause I am after all a law-abiding citizen.
I started riding in Montana in my late 20s, and soon discovered the delight of riding without a helmet, and very quickly realized, that I could see and HEAR much better without the damn thing!
I got involved with an ABATE of Montana chapter oin the late 80s, and that is where my real education about helmets commenced.
I wish every person that advocates for helmet usage would come to understand, that all helmets tested in the United States have to meet FVMSS 218 (Federal motor vehicle safety standard 218).
The impact requirement for any DOT approved helmet is only 13.4 Miles Per Hour! I have talked with DOT representatives, that have told me, that it would be physically impossible to build a helmet that would meet a higher impact requirement, due to weight issues. Therefore, I must conclude, that the helmet is only effective in low speed, and low impact accidents.
The most important thing to remember with all these statistics that NHTSA is throwing around about increased motorcycle deaths, is the FACT that motorcycle ridership has been on a continuing upward climb. If the statistic of actual miles ridden to deaths was used, we would find that rider deaths have actually been declining over all those years.
The State of Florida has some very interesting statistics, regarding this phenomenon, and I urge any one who wants to intelligently discuss this issue to check those statistics out, before making a comment about the efficacy of a helmet.
I will just make the point about one part of the Florida statistics, and that is that there were more motorcyclists killed in the State of Florida while wearing a helmet, than those who were not.
I believe in freedom of choice above all else. If an individual chooses not to wear a helmet, it should be up to them to make that decision. I am not going to tell anyone that they can`t ride their bike without a helmet. Again, it`s a matter of individual choice, after weighing all the statistics and options.

I live in Quebec in Canada and the helmet is mandatory and when I go riding in the U.S. I wear my helmet even when I already had a serious motorcycle accident (14 fractures) and fracture was the most serious that of my helmet, because he broke into two pieces if I had not worn a helmet that would have happened?
That said, I’m still the free choice.

I do believe that wearing a helmet is a good thing. I also feel that the Government forcing us to wear a helmet is an infringement of our right of choice. They have no back bone at all. The politicians are weak spinless cowards with the insurance industry stuck in their back pockets. I am so sick of the government “Protecting Me” from me!

Let,s just look at one statistic and decide that M/C helmets will improve that infamous number. Let’s not put any thought into the real issues and just require everyone, regardless of experience or social statue, to wear a helmet at all times when operating a M/C on public roads. Let’s just forget about our rights as US citizens to the freedom of choice. Let’s all write about how we believe that a helmet will save us from certain injury. Let’s just roll over and let government make our decisions and choices for us. Nothing about this law makes any sense. It’s time for us to fight this legislation at all costs.

Lets just look at one statistic and decide that M/C helmets will improve that infamous number. Lets not put any thought into the real issues and just require everyone, regardless of experience or social statue, to wear a helmet at all times when operating a M/C on public roads. Lets just forget about our rights as US citizens to the freedom of choice. Lets all write about how we believe that a helmet will save us from certain injury. Let just roll over and let government make our decisions and chioces for us. Nothing about this law makes any sense. Its time to fight this legislation at all costs.

The government is trying to protect us from ourselves again! I thought it was the other way around, if you read the constitution and the declaration of independence, it’s the citizens duty to protect democracy!! Personal freedoms are exactly that, our choice, good or bad. Write or call your representative if you beleive in your personal freedoms and rights.

Once again, the federal government seeks to intrude into personal rights and freedoms. The point is not only safety; it’s intrusion into our personal rights as citizens. Ok, helmets SOMETIMES help. If an eighteen wheeler runs over your butt, that helmet is moot. if you get centerpunched by an old lady doing 50, once again moot point. But one thing that always made this country great was our right to make decisions, and that right is rapidly disappearing. Yup, I wear a helmet on the highway, but when I get up on a Sunday morning, I’d like to be able to hop on the scooter and go 2 miles through my neighborhood ,SPEED LIMIT 35, and go fetch a Sunday paper at my local convenience store. Instead, I don helmet, gloves, and leather vest on top of my boots and jeans. If the government wants to do something about bike safety, stop these young yahoos on their ‘busas and GXSR’s wearing flip flops, shorts, and tank tops with their FULL FACE HELMETS.

I’m for wearing a helmet but, it should be a choice – not a law

I don’t wear a helmet & that is my choice, besides if a car is coming at you head on what good is a helmet going to do you ? , see what happened to those riders in California ,14 dead & yes they were wearing helmets.

truth is the fed. will blackmail every state in to helmets one day. it about freedom of choice not the helmet i`ve rode 50 yrs. now and never been down.i `m also starting on third generation riders in my family.

The government needs to stay the hell out of my personel buisness. I have been riding for 30 plus years and I choose not to wear one unless I’m forced to. They need to do a study on how many people have paralized from a broken neck from wearing a helmet. I know two guys myself that are now riding wheelchairs. I have told the ol lady for years that the day I can’t throw my leg over my scoot she needs to put me out of me misery

I live in Illinois and I don’t wear a helmet while ridding in states not rquiring them and don’t want to . I find them very uncomfortable and distracting , Ive been riding motorcycles for 43 years . I guess if they change the law I’ll try to find one that’s more comfotable if that’s possible because I won’t stop ridding. There like seat belts I hate wearing them also and know for a fact they save lives but I still don’t wear one of those all the time either.

right or wrong the ntsb will tell you to wear the helmet wheather you like it or not.thats the way it is now days.obama don’t want to pay your med. bills if you crash,its cheeper if you die

Joe from PCB – - hate to tell you but when someone is disabled, they DONT get Social Security Disability.
The only people who get money from that are the lawyers who tell the injured party they will get them help. The insurance companies are hoping to get (or keep) the politicians in bed with them here. Its not hurting the public. Its hurting the insurance companies (if the injured party lives) But lets face it,
if you go down at highway speed, its bye bye thats
why we have skulls on all our stuff.

I think it should be you to personal choice. I ride in states that require and don’t. All the four wheelers drive the same. its up to me how I die if I have a choice and a helmet will not make the difference.

As a retired police officer. I’ve scooped up my fair share of gray matter from the Roads in NY. I’ve also had the misfortune to be on the scene of many bike accidents, where the riders were wearing headgear.
In my opinion I’ve seen many injuries, most of which, if they were sustained by me, I’d have preferred to have not been wearing a helmet and sustained fatal injuries, rather than spend the rest of my life in someone else’s care, unable to care for myself. A lifetime of skin transplants and being seated in a wheelchair, is not my idea of survival.
Others may not feel the same, To each hisor her own. We’re all old enought to decide what’s in our own best interest. I don’t want someone telling me want to do. Just a point of interest, When the NYC Police Dept was tracking motor vehicle accidents wherein seat belts were not worn. The uniform service was ordered to mark Seat belts worn in all injury free accident and the converse, “not wering seat belt, regardless if they were wering a seatbelt or not. Ponder this, while I don’t dispute the value of seatbelts in a front on crash. Think how comrotable you’d feel if you were T-bonedand held in place by the seat belt and being almost cut in half by the on-comming vehicle. Seen that, more than once…

I agree with Chico!
I too have been riding a long time and own a helmet, (a shorty half shell), I complies with DOT and I only wear it when I am forced to. I detests being told by our government that I must wear it for my own good as if I’m too stoopid to figure it out for myself! I believe in freedom of choice, and wish the government would back off and support motorcyclist by inforcing other laws on the books, like no cellphone use while driving and driving under the influnce…. Getting these types of drivers off the road will help and save the lives of auto drivers too! Let me ride my loud motorcycle as I wish as I ride with respect of others motorist and try to avoid cars & trucks out to kill me! Making more laws only to infiinge on my rights is the way states draw more revenue….

When any individual, under retirement age, chooses not to wear a helmet and is injured to the point of being disabled, we are all paying for that persons’ lack of responsibility when that person begins drawing disability payments from Social Security. I cringe when I hear — “LET THOSE WHO RIDE DECIDE”! When there is a law designating the manditory use of helmets & those who are injured have used proper attire to diminish injury, I feel O K with that!

Where does it end? Next it will be mandatory training wheels, roll cages, and on and on and on. I wear boots, gloves, and leathers, because I choose to. I wear a helmet because my state says I have to. Yes, you may be safer with a helmet, but if I choose to ride without one, that’s MY business, not the government’s. If someday I can’t make my own choices, then maybe someone else will be justified in making them for me. But I am fully capable of making my own choices now, and if I choose not to, it’s none of the government’s dang business. We’d all be safer in cars if we wore helmets, too. So why aren’t they required for cars if safety is the issue? If motorcycles are that dangerous, maybe they should be outlawed. 4400 deaths? How about the 50,000 due to drunken drivers? Let’s tackle the BIG ones first.

need to outlaw text and cell phone use by drivers.

Nah, lets just put 100 airbags in cars and make all motorcycle riders wear protective bubbles to compensate for these morons.

My experience says text-messaging and cell phone use by drivers is the number one danger to riders. I don’t have any answers to this dilemma but I will tell you to be extra careful. The roads have been taken over by careless dumbasses. Don’t expect it to get any safer.

One accident – 0% my fault. Helmet very badly scraped from forehead to chin just off center. Without helmet, or even with open face helmet, would have required major face reconstruction. Shit happens to even the most careful, course-trained, defensive rider – let alone aggressive riders. Need more to be said?

Helmets should be by choice. Where are the stats on people that do wear helmets? I’m sure there are quite a few of them also. Most accidents accure because of people not seeing motorcycles. there are more accidents from stupid people pulling out in front of a motorcycle. just like that cop that killed 3 bikers stopped at a red light. granted they weren’t wearing a helmet, but even if they were they still would have been killed. educated the people in cars to look out for bikers and I’m sure the accidents rates would go down. I personally don’t wear one, don’t want to wear one. I’ve been riding bikes since I was 14 yrs old, and I’m now 60. I’m not saying I’ll never have one but 90% of all accidents I’ve seen were cars running into or pulling out in front of a biker. We as bikers are very safe riders. we have to watch out for others, watch for sand, dirt and oil on the roads, tire parts, rocks and other garbage on the road and If I’m in a area where there are wild game crossing or in places were they are know to be we make it a point to find a place to spend the night or make it home before it gets dark. Thats when they come out. What we do is just smart riding.
most of the the public could care less about us. So until the public is more informed that we as bikers are on the road also their will be accidents.

Let’s face it, if we are in a wreck we are more exposed therefore more likely to be killed, helmet or not. I believe everyone should wear a helmet at all times. However, I am a Constitutionalist. No adult citizen of the USA should be required to wear one. Nor should we be required to wear a seat belt. Minors, I would go with a yes.

Wouldn’t ride without a full face helmet – saved my live twice – once at 45 mph and another at 65 mph.

Doctors can fix everything on a person except their brain and spinal cord. We really haven’t got good protection for the spine, but we do for our brains.

There are those that argue that if they have enough insurance, they should be able to ride without a lid. That is fine, as long as the insurance lasts, but I personally know of one biker now on SSI Disability (paid for by us who contribute to Social Security) because he had a catastrophic brain injury because of a motorcycle accident and not wearing a lid. Insurance paid for his initial care, but because of his decision to not wear a helmet, he will never be able to work again and we’ll be picking up the tab.

True, training drivers, riders and a lot of other things will help cut down on accidents, but requiring me to wear a helmet when I ride my motorcycle doesn’t bother me in the least bit. I get my freedom from the road, not from some law.

I think the issue of increased deaths is attributable to two factors. The number of riders has increased and the fact that many are new riders.

I have been riding HD’S since 1970. Other brands prior to that. I ride my motorcycles. I couldn’t tell you how many miles over the years but I can tell you my current bike has over 100,000 miles on it.

Where I live it seems that a majority of deaths or serious injuries are of the new rider group.

I choose to wear a helmet even though it is not mandated in my state. I think that it should be up to the individual whether they wear one or not but they should also consider the benefit of one in an accident.

Hawaii currently allows you to ride without helment, shirt, shoes… if you are an adult.
Street Bikers United Hawaii [www.sbuhi.org] works to keep it the riders’ choice.

I wear a helmet, jeans, boots, gloves but it is my choice. I am the editor of the SBU Maui Newsletter [www.sbumaui.org].

I LIVE IN INDIANA AND I HAVE BEEN RIDING CYCLES ON THE HIGHWAYS FOR 38 YEARS WITH OUT A HELMET .
WHEN I GO TO OTHER STATES WHERE WE DO NEED TO WEAR HELMETS BY LAW I CAN REALLY APPRECIATE THE FREEDOM OF NOT WEARING A HELMET.

LET THE RIDER DECIDE

Biased rediculous article. The author explains his pro helmet views. Any anti-helmet views as being “a ludicrous notion!”

I’ve been riding now for about 3years. Ever since I took the MSF course I learned to ride with a lid. To this day I feel VERY uncomfortable without one. I guess it’s kinda like riding without putting on shoes……… It just makes sense.

As a 47 year plus rider, who has been down twice, both of which were “Left Turners” and have yet to sustain a real injury, I will agree that there MAY be an instance where a helmet MAY give some sort of protection. Just think about strapping a 5 pound weight to your head, just above the weakest joint in your body, your neck. Inertia from ANY collision WILL break your neck. The neck is not designed to hold the head rigidly stable, it bends, easily. I have had many more friends die from broken necks caused by collisions than from facial injuries. Strap a sack of potatoes on your head, experience a collision and guess what breaks, not your face, but your neck. You will look really good at the funeral, but will still be the guest of “Honor”. Roughly 2 million miles fo riding has shown me that education, not regulation saves lives. Oh yes, “Land of the Free” and all that “personal freedom” that millions of our brave militairy have given their lives to insure, is rapidly going the way of the dodo bird and carrier pigeon. Simply give us the “freedom” to make our own decisions.

I have been riding for 35 years now, with and without a helmet. Your ignorant if you dont think a helmet will increase your odd’s of survival. To what extent depends on the circumstances. Yes we need to keep educating the average 4 wheel driver. But just like any other sport that is enjoyable, it doesnt come with out a degree of danger. But the Government needs to stay out of my buisness and let me make the choice.

This Helmet Issue is just another way of control by big Brother. If you riode and decide to wear one thatsd your choice and not the Law dictating what you do on your ride. I have run a Towing Company for many yuears and have seen my share of horrors and to be frank most who died did have a helmet on and it made no differance at all. I always take mine with me and do wear it in heavy traffic and city riding but on the open or back roads it hangs on the sissy bar and I can enjoy the ride. Besides one can always feel the boxed in and lack of sight and hearinf a helmet can do to you. Yes they are in some ways a nessary item but no one should tell anyone what to wear or when to use it. I have been riding sense 1967 and have had my share of lay downs Etc. and can not say one way or the other a helmet would have done anything but add 10 or more pounds to your neck. Whats next ? A roll cage? Let Those over 18 who ride decide. Hutt

I just turned 49 and have been riding since the 70′s here in Oregon. We didn’t have any helmet laws until the early ’80s. I couldn’t imagine riding WITH a helmet. It took all the “free” out of “freedom”. However, forced to adapt or face a ticket, I found that I really don’t feel safe if I don’t wear one now. In fact, the first day I purchased a full face helmet, I caught a large bird in the face at 60 mph. The full face helmet probably saved my life. No, I am not the coolest cat on my Harley in a full face helmet, but I am alive. My choice is to wear a helmet, but I still don’t feel my choice should be everyone else’s. I believe in freedom of choice. If an adult want’s to ride without a helmet, then let’em. There are already enough people telling you what you can and cannot do. Live free, ride free.

let those who ride decide..

I am 57 years old and should be allowed to decide if I want to ride with a Helmet.I drive to Florida to ride with out one,And its my life dont need The Goverment telling me I have to.

Given that the majority of motorcycle crashes involve untrained/unlicensed, often alcohol-impared and a car/truck that violates the motorcyclist’s right of way, it would make a lot more sense to focus on rider education, severe penalties for impaired driving, and better motorcycle awareness training for all drivers.

A helmet will definitely improve a rider’s odds of surviving a crash but taking steps to make the crash not happen will have a bigger payoff than requiring use of helmets.

I think it should be a choice. I live in Florida. I live in Daytona Beach and I honestly see a difference in drivers here than in other cities. Daytona Beachers seem more cognizant of bikers because there are so many here. Not to say there aren’t idiot drivers (and riders) here, of course there are. But we may be a bit more visible. I often do not wear a helmet. But lately, after seeing someone have her skull opened to relieve the swelling and will be in rehap forever and possible brain damage, and her partner dead (Cyndee and Pete)….well…I am starting to wear my helmet more. I know if my noggin its the asphalt, I will have a better chance of surviving with brain intact if I have on a helmet. That is only common sense. I’m not so much concerned about it ‘saving my life’, but about how life will be if I live.

But God it feels god with the wind blowing in my hair and the sun glinting off my sunglasses.

I am really more concerned about the guys I watch stagger to their bikes on Main Street totally bombed and ride off.

Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I agree that it’s a personal choice. I sure don’t want a Washington bureaucrat to tell me I must wear a helmet to be safe.

It’s so easy to quote statistics to prove a point – HOW MANY of those killed on motorcycles were wearing and how many were not? NTSB should look at the number of distracted-drivers or un-safe drivers who instigated and caused the motorcycles accidents that claimed lives.

You can’t legislate common sense so don’t try.

I deplore laws that require responsible adults to wear helmets as an infringement on individual freedom, but I wouldn’t ride without a lid myself. You see, I spent several months in an Army hospital once where I observed the almost-always permanent effects of cranial and spinal injuries. Individuals who oppose the idea of wearing helmets always quip, “What the hell, everybody’s gotta die.” That’s undeniable, but there are a lot worse things that can happen to a motorcycle rider than death. I know, I’ve seen plenty of them. Besides, in 40+ years of riding I’ve been hospitalized twice with severe injuries caused by careless cage drivers. If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet and protective clothing in either collision I probably wouldn’t be able to ride, support myself financially or compose this message now. My final thought is, “Ride without a brain bucket if you’re a grownup and that’s what you want to do, but be prepared for the very likely consequences.” Being sorry for a bad decision won’t get a person out of a wheelchair. In the majority of spinal injury cases, nothing will.

The gov’t doesn’t care if you live or die, what gets them going is the head trama costs that the state or county has to pick up for uninsured medical. Most insurances will cover the bike and a passenger, but not driver. I agree with it should be your choice. I do wear a helmet, but at 70 – 75 mph I do not believe it will be a life saver. It does help against bugs and debris kicked up by cars, but it is not a 100% sure thing

I chose to join the army and risk my life being shot at in some other country. I should also have the right to choose to, or not to, wear a brain bucket. I have been riding for 20 years, crashed a couple of times, and never once regretted going without a skid lid. Kids have no choice, when they are old enough to make the decision to join the military, they can make the helmet choice. Cage drivers cause more motorcycle deaths than motorcyclists.

The question here is what is it worth to you? I’ve ridden both with and without helmets. When I ride dirt I have a helmet on 99% of the time because I PURPOSELY take chances. Sure, we’re taking a chance on the street everytime we ride but are the sights, sounds, and smells without a helmet worth the extra risk involved? Most of the time to me, it is. I’m an adult in my 50′s with health insurance, so I should have the right to make that choice. In a free country, I believe I should keep that right.

Riding a motorcycle is an ego trip. You can’t look tough
and macho wearing a helmet. As for me, I ride a very
nice cruiser and choose to wear a helmet, jacket, boots, and gloves not only to feel safe but it has become my image and I think my head is worth saving.

Riding a motorcycle is an ego trip. You can’t look tough
and macho wearing a helmet. You want the public and
the chicks to notice you especially if you’re riding a nice or customized bike. As for me, I ride a very nice
cruiser and choose to wear a helmet, boots, jacket and
gloves not only to feel safe but it has become my image and I think my head is worth saving.

The Govt. doesn’t give a s**t about saving our lives. They care about how much money it costs the Insurance Corp. Here in Canada, the Govt. runs the Insurance and they don’t like to have to pay the hospital bills. Personally I would where my helmet anyway but it pisses me off to have someone else tell me that I have to.

RIDING WITHOUT A HELMET IS JUST PLAIN STUPID…
IF YOU DONT YOUR AN IDIOT….LONGBEACH CA.

I ride to be free not to be safe . To be safe is to not get on the bike in the first place . helmet laws are the first step in getting our right to be free taken away from us. I ride with a helmet it is the law in mo. It is not fair to not have a choice !

It is relatively funny, I am self employed, pay life and health insurance and am financial comfortable. I do not understand why I must wear seat belts, wear helmets to protect “MY” well being when I can smoke to excess i.e. cancer and a host of other diseases and can drink (not drive) to excess cuasing sirosis of the liver etc. DUH, Where is the equality. It’s all about politics and revenue. Just a bikers thoughts.

I use one because I choose to, but it should be choice. If the cages, wouldn’t be in such a hurry, or on their cell phones,eating, puting makeup, or just plain day dreaming, we would all be alot safer.

Too many import drivers that can not drive cars properly never mind looking out for bikes!

Too many people on phones, texting, GPSing, etc. while driving, this includes COPs typing on their computers while driving.

The government should put their efforts into proper training of drivers of 4+ wheel vehicles first.

The number one rule in industry is PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is a last resort. Time to wake up 4 wheel drivers that they don’t own the road any more than a 18 wheeler ownes the road over 4 wheel drivers.

I personally wear a helmet, only to make it easyer to ID my body after some brain dead distracted 4+ wheel driver hits me.

Bottom line . . . Riding is a risk and it’s mine to take. I don’t wear a helmet most of the time because I’m sensitive to buffeting (tried all kinds of helmets) and it takes the fun out of the ride. Would prefer to be able to wear a helmet all the time, but still don’t want others to force ANYONE to. Every new law is a freedom lost – we really don’t have much of that left.

I’m 53 years old and have been riding all my lfe! This country was based on freedom! What happened to that? I do believe there are times you might need a helmet, but it should be my choice! Let the government focus on the important issues and leave us bikers alone!

Well, as a rider north of the border we must wear one. I most often have on my 1/2 helmet (a bit more than a bennie). I have ridden in the USA a few times, had an opportunity to ride in MN a few years ago, rode no helmet, to be honest, I didn’t get the big attraction, after an hour I put it back on…Ride safe my brothers!

I often wonder how many riders, without helmets, that hit the pavement, say to themselves…thank god I was not wearing a helmet!
I live in Albuquerque where helmets are not the law, except for minors, and said constitutionality seems to be nothing short of muddied by 20-30 years of statistics that could very well prove thee law to be wrong. As for myself, I wear a FFH because it increases my chances of surviving one hell of an impact, and increases my chances of watching my grandsons graduate high school, college, and maybe even getting married. If the law is ever repealed then HURRAHH…but for now the law is the law. By the way, I ride an 02′ mint Goldwing. Here is another thought;very, very few drivers in Albuquerque have respect for the driving laws in this town, and that makes for a bad mix when on a bike of any kind.

Choice is what this country represents and is all about.Freedom to make your own decision,I wear mine depending on what type of riding I am doing.But,I think wearing one is a good idea.The government needs to take care of more important times in these days especially.. instead of interfering on my rights.

First off, I wear a helmet. I would regardless of the law. I live in Michigan. Why do we a a mandatory helmet law for motorcycles, but scooters and bicycles and snowmobiles, which are all allowed on public roadways in this state don’t have such a law. You have to ask, WHO and WHAT are the law makers really after.

Freedom of choice .
National health care will kill it

Helmet laws are just a bandaid to the real problem. Most the comments on here tell of lazy/stupid cage drivers. let’s educate them. If they do injure/kill a rider, all they get it a hand slap, that needs to be changed also. With that said, most my riding is with a helmet. Helmet usage needs to be a choice!

I live in West Virginia and one would have to be a foolish person to not want to wear a helmet in our state because of the mountainous and curvy nature of the landscape here…at this point we have to by law wear a helmet and if the laws were to change I’de like to think that most riders of this beautiful state would continue to wear them…

I bet the majority of the bikes that are in accidents are crotch rockets and I bet that most of those riders are Military Personal and are wearing helmets.

i agree with Lee, i’ve been riding for over 38 years, been through the helmet law and now without,, it’s the careless car driver that causes all these accidents. why not just say that car drivers have to wear helmets too..then, see what the politicians think about it..let those who ride decide..

If the Government forces us to wear helmets, they should provide the best at no cost to the rider.

A few years ago in Fl. where I lived until Jan. 2010 the helmet law was done away with. Freeing me to CHOOSE whether or not I would put the lid on. Sometimes I wore it and had no problem with vision, and my kneck is fused reducing range of motion. Other times it was just to tempting to go out without the helmet. I had a choice and believe that’s the way it should be. The only time I almost got splattered was win a police officer in an unmarked car ran a stop sign and then stopped right in my lane. I skidded to where my front tire was touching his drivers door. I went off and didn’t know it was a cop until he rolled down his window. Then he kicked his door open knocked me and my bike over into the street. Within minutes there were 5 marked police cars and lots of cops. It all ended win the officer came over and appoligised for what he had done. That’s all I wanted. So I went on to work. Helmets should be a choice, but do consided your family and friends while making your decision. Been riding since 1973.

It should be a personal choice. Do we make people in cars wear helmets? At 75 MPH a helmet might save your life. Helmets while getting in or out of the bathtub, might save a life. Where do we draw the line? I encourage safety, but at what cost and level. Look at many accidents and it was rider error or reckless driving. It is up to you to manage the risks in your life, not the government. We should not rely on someone else to manage the risk for everyone.

If the government is involved, you will find a money trail somewhere. I “choose” to wear a helmet, law or not. I will hurt no one but myself if I choose not to wear a helmet. If the government really wanted to save lives, cigarettes would be illegal. LOL, the tobbaco industries have way too much money for that to happen.

for a country that was built on the freedom flag ,you don’t have any freedom to chose .I have to by law have a helmet.i have been run over 3 times still don’t like to be forced to where a helmet..

I also think its a personal choice. I do wear a helmet 100 percent of the time. After my wreck caused by a dog darting in font of me, I hit the pavement face first. Outside of getting the wind knocked out of me and slight rash where my pants curled down, I was virtually injury free.

Had I not been wearing a 3/4 helmet, a good part of my face would be peeled off against the pavement.

helmet laws suk. if they want to decrease the number of fatalities, then make the cage drivers hang up and quit texting!!!!!!!!!! have seniors who are seventy plus take a drivers test every time they renew their license. i had a relative killed by an old lady simply because she could not see him. if these measures were taken ,there would be a dramatic drop in injuries and fatalities.

its our fault we have to keep dealing with this problem all we have to do is elect the people who will stand up for us we are the people we have the power so get off your ass and vote

it is all of our faults we have to deal with these issues if we would get off our ass and vote for the people who would stand up for us we would not have to deal with this shit over and over we are the people we have the power all we have to do is put the right people in place

It definitely should be a choice ! Too much government in our lives PERIOD !!

What if the law said helmets were NOT allowed? Totally stupid…as stupid as saying they are required. We MUST protect freedom of choice!!!

There is one major statistic that is always left out and that is the fatalities per million miles driven. In every state that has mandatory helmet laws the death rate is higher than the states without. If helmet laws actually worked this statistic would show the opposite effect. Statistics show that per crash there is virtually no difference in survivability if wearing or not wearing a helmet. From these statistics one must draw the conclusion that you are more likely to be in an accident if using a helmet that if not. A rider not wearing a helmet is more likely to receive head trauma, whereas a helmet wearer is far more likely to receive neck injuries, basal skull fractures (the injury that killed Dale Earnhardt) are many times more common, rarely does a non-helmeted rider receive this type of injury. I have studied this subject for several years because I have had two good friends die in crashes from severe neck trauma while wearing helmets, chances are they would have survived without helmets. Please don’t get me wrong, a properly fitted, quality helmet may save your life in a wreck but let those who ride decide, not some bureaucrat riding a desk.

Copied from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motorcycle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

List of motorcycle deaths in U.S. by year
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Annual U.S. motorcycle deaths Year Deaths
1994 2,320
1995 2,227
1996 2,161
1997 2,116
1998 2,294
1999 2,483
2000 2,897
2001 3,197†
2002 3,244
2003 3,661‡
2004 4,028
2005 4,576
2006 4,837
2007 5,174
2008 5,290
† some NHTSA lists show 3,181
‡ some NHTSA lists show 3,714

This is a list of motorcycle deaths in U.S. by year from 1994 to 2008. Motorcycle fatalities have increased each year since reaching an historic low of 2,116 fatalities in 1997. In nine years, motorcycle deaths have more than doubled in the United States.

Since 1980, motorcycle ownership among riders aged 40 and over has increased dramatically, from 15.1 percent in 1980 to 43.7 percent in 1998. The mean engine displacement of the motorcycles involved in fatal crashes has also increased, from an average engine size of 769cc in 1990, to 959cc in 2001, an increase of 24.7 percent.

This combination of older riders on higher-powered motorcycles is partially responsible for a steady increase in motorcycle deaths from the late 1990s until 2004.

Half of motorcycle fatalities in single vehicle crashes relate to problems negotiating a curve prior to a crash—almost 60 percent of motorcyclist fatalities in single vehicle crashes occur at night

I am 62 and I have been riding since I was 15. I have had 2 near fatals including a head on by a drunk driver. I was not wearing a helmet either time and went head-first into the drunks windshield. Don’t tell me that helmets are always good for you. I believe they should be a choice not a mandate. Less goverment is what it si all about.

Patrick,

Well it took you till the very last sentence to get to the real issue. and I quote “Is this more about rights than safety?”

You are correct in asking that last question, It is about RIGHTS. Period… End of story…We have way to much government sticking their heads in peoples rights that it is very clear that the way things are going..We won’t have any rights left. I wear a helmet, because I know it’s the right thing to do. But I should have that choice, Wake Up People.

I learned at the early age of 16 to wear a hemet and the value of one. One day i had to drop my bike because of a Blue hair and slid along way part on my helmet. When i got up to take it off it came off in two peices. Thats my story and I am stickin to it!
I wouldn’t ride with out one. I live in Florida and it gets hot but I ride with a full face helmet. I don’t agree with the helmet laws as nor do i agreewith mandatory seat belts too much like Communism “IT SHOULD BE A MATTER OF CHOICE” thats what America is all about. The beuracrats ain’t gonna pay for a funeral!

Sometimes I do, some times I do not. It depends what is going on and where I am going. Living in the panhandle of Florida seems that we have more then our share of accidents. Many of the death are causes by cages, some by the riders themselves. But the number that are killed wearing helments are pretty much the same as those not wearing them from what I can gather from the news. Again like many have posted, it is a should be a choice. But I think we should be told just what kind of protection that a DOT helment is tested for. I heard and read that is for only a 6′ fall from the bike to the concrete. What about a 5 to 10 mph crash, id 10 to 20 mph crash, will they tell the test results.

The wearing of a helmet should be a personal choice. If the Gov’t wants to make something mandatory how about making it illegal to use a cell phone illegal while driving. Even the use of a hands free device because you are still distracted with your conversation.

You have to wear seat belts in a car for safety, a car must have air bags, etc. , there are many safety rules for cars and should be for motorcycles also..the comments it should be the cycleist choice does not make since, if there were no laws for anything what a crazy place this would be…helmets does save lives at 40, 50 and up..I have several friends that been involved in motorcycle accidents at different speeds and Yes the helmet they had on was almost destroyed but they walked away, even at 60mph..also who pays the medical bills at the hospital when you show up and you have not medical insurance, it is the public, including non riders…I have been riding over 50 yrs and yes use a helmet, it has saved me, I use to believe it would not, but any help I feel is good , just like seat belts…try to think of your family and others, besides just thinking about your self…

I wear one all the time.about 20 years ago a lady pulled out in front of me,I went flying over her car and hit my helment frist,it cracked in half,if not for it I don`t think I would be here right now.but like all has said it should be YOUR CHOICE.

I live in KY where any one over 21 who has had their full motorcycle endorsement for more than a year has the choice to not where a helmet. I choose not to. I believe it IS an infringement of rights to force someone to wear a helmet.

Aside from the fact that it should be my right to choose, I believe that when it’s your time…it’s your time. It doesn’t matter where you are, who you are, how you live your life, when your time is up you’re gonna go.

I could slip walking down my basement steps with a basket of laundry in my hand and crack my skull on the concrete floor, or choke on a piece of candy, or get bit by a snake in the garden, or fall out of my deer stand, or get struck by lightning. Or I could live to be 102 and die in my sleep. There’s no way to tell.

So I’m going to live my life the way I want to because I know I’m not going to live forever, nor do I want to.

I wear my lid every time I ride, but I did not always.
I would rather have the choice of wear or not. In the case of crash and burn the lid makes the open casket thing better for your survivors.
The whole point is, I personally do not like some
SOB’s telling me what to do.

I only wear a helmet when in a state that requires it. When I do wear a helmet, it definitely hinders my vision and hearing. Most of the fatal motorcycle accidents I’ve read about have been contributed to internal injuries, not head trauma..

I Firmly believe Motorcycle Helmet use should be person choice, if over age of 18. I have had more biking incidents over the past 40 years of riding then I’d like to remember, but I still own one of my early helmets, not a scratch on it from blunt force.
They have their place but I feel they are a false sense of security.
My last accident, 3 years ago in Billings Montana, two of us went down with out helmets or leathers on and I tore the knee out of my Best Jeans! Just gotta fly like an Eagle.
So long:
Gord

I’ve been riding for 40 years and have read and listened to this debate over and over agian, to the point where it has become rediculase. It is a simple matter of the feds wanting thier noses in every aspect of your life. Whether you wear a helmat or not isn’t really the issue now is it! I believe statistics can be twisted to show anything you want by simply adding some facts or leaving out others.
For all those who wish to play the insurance game, do you really think my wearing a helmet or not wearing one really efects YOUR bill? Get a life. I have my own medical and don’t require YOU to subsidise me so I wish to make my own choice, don’t try to do it for me.

I’ve been riding over 50 years and when I started riding nobody wore helmets, not even law enforcement. I think it started in the middle or late 60′s. I think it is a personal choice, it could save your life or it could take your life, depending on the circumstances. Its your choice and I don’t need the Govermnent telling how I shoud dress, eat, and when to go to the bathroom, etc……

I’ve been riding over 50 years and when I started riding nobody wore helmets, not even law enforcement. I think it started in the middle or late 60′s. I think it is a personal choice, it could save your life or it could take your life, depending on the circumstances. Its your choice and I don’t need the Govermnent telling how I shoud dress, eat, and when to go to the bathroom, etc..

I was part of the radical group that smashed their helments on the courthouse steps many years ago.
I’m 64 years old and it’s not because I’ve worn a helment. I started riding when I was 9 and so far haven’t stopped. I don’t agree with the seat belt law either, my car my life should be my choice. We are losing our FREEDOM one stupid law at a time. This is just another example.

If they are so worried about me, why then is it okay to go surfing with a life jacket? Why are those the DON’T ride passing laws for those of us that do ride?

Helmets are a good choice, when riding I wish in all states we had the choice to choose. That being said being a guy who has the scars to prove it wearing a helmet can help. And no I don’t believe the author is trying to sell helmets dummy.

We have a helmet law in Michigan so we are forced to wear one.I would wear one most of the time given the choice.That is I think the issue,choice.

I live in Texas where we have a choice to wear or not to wear a helmet if you are over 18 and have completed a rider safety course or you have a medical insurance policy of 10,000 or more. I started riding in 1966 and have never worn a helmet by my choice except if I am in a state where it is required and then I only wear a novelty helmet. That is my choice and I think if it were not for the cage drivers no one would ever have to wear one. As far as statistics go I would like to know out of all motorcycle related accidents the number of them that were solely the bikers fault. I’d be willing to bet that the number or precentage is less than 20%. Most all of them around the Houston area there is always a cage involved that was not paying attention, cell phone, eating, makeup, drunk or high, and in some cases just to dam old to still be behind the wheel. Then you also have the people who don’t secure the stuff that they are hauling or carrying and it ends up in the highway in front of you and that results in an accident. I say don’t punish bikers for the things the cagers cause, punish them.

Gotta disagree with you, Greg R. If helmets don’t protect then fatalities would be much higher in all forms of racing that use helmets. Probably to the point of being banned by the government as being too dangerous.

I’m Pro-Choice all the way, but I’ll wear mine every day, thank you.

Mandatory helmet use by motorcyclists is unreasonable. The Government wants to ‘protect’ motorcyclists but shouldn’t cagers be required to wear them as well? Statistics prove that the majority of car/truck accident fatalities involve head trauma. So why not ‘protect’ everyone by making everyone wear helmets, especially specially drivers of convertibles? All that jagged metal and broken glass would certainly put car/truck drivers at great risk.

When will it stop??? It should be a matter of choice what each person does with their life. When it effects others in bodily damage then it should be looked at. Pretty soon you will not be responsible for your own actions because somebody else will. Oh ya that’s right we are at that point already. Enough is enough people need to be responsible for there own self!! We have a freedom of choice.
Let’s stop taking that away.

When states make this law, it goes from a safety issue to a rights issue. If you lose the right to choose, (even if it’s for your own good) you are still losing your rights. I wear a helmet, but I do not take kindly to someone telling me I have to wear a helmet. It should be my choice to do so.

I believe it is the governments responsability to inform us of a danger and give us the choice of wearing one or not. If our choices only affect us and you are over 18 then it should be a choice. Secondly if you have to vote on this only motorist who have a drivers license to ride should be able to vote on it, it is easy to impose rules on something you dont understand or dont like. In my state there is no choice I have to wear a helmet but given the choice id wear one anyway.

I’ll wear my helmet when kids on school busses wear seatbelts!

The idiots on the road are still gonna do what they want to regardless of the law!!! But I think helmets should be made mandatory, because without one my Uncle wouldn’t be here today. In my opinion if you ride without a helmet you may as well playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun, you don’t konw when the gun will go off, but it will go off!!! So don’t be airheads and wear your helmets, IT DOES MEAN YOUR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have always worn a helmet and have been saved by
it more than a few times. I do not like the helmet law as I believe in freedom of choice. If we let the Government make up these laws,we would be wearing seatbelts on our bikes in Salt lake City as they tried to implement this there in 1987. On the other hand to save other pople from killing themselves without a helmet just for being stubborn maybe we should just go with the flow(which I do not particularly go for but for safety’s sake there is not very much more we can do about it but support it.
I have been riding Harleys (and crotch rockets)since 1971.

I noticed that wearing my full face helmet makes me ride more aggressive while wearing my beenie makes me feel less secure therefore riding more defensive. Maybe going back to no helmet will save lifes by making riders more acutely aware of their mortality as wearing the full face is giving the false security impression of invincibility. Besides the obvious “freedom of choice”

For me it is about rights and legal parity. I am required by state law to wear a helmet riding in California, but 2 million school bus riding children aren’t required to wear a seat belt. Maybe drivers of cars and trucks would be safer if they were required to wear a helmet? Or would that mess up Nancy Pelosi’s hair? Let’s apply all laws equally and fairly and let’s repeal those that aren’t.

I am a firefighter and have been for 28 years I ride a 2008 goldwing and was hit by a texting driver last Oct I have been on my bike with out my helmet but very little I have to put on my seat belt in my 4000 lb car but my 800 lb bike that will out run my truck no helmet our government at work

Statistics (either way) can be manipulated. How about making everyone who drives a motor vehicle wear a helmet. They’ll be safer. Can’t argue with that logic.

Nobody wants to clean up the mess – ever think of the civil servants left to deal with the crash? Wear the lid!

I’ve been riding for 48 years. I started by not wearing a helmet for the first couple of years, but the more road experience I gained, the more I realized wearing one was in MY best interest. I have been wearing either a full-size or 3/4-size helmet for at least the last 45 years and wouldn’t ride anywhere without one. That being said, I believe wearing one is a personal decision and would never dream of forcing another rider to wear one, and neither should the government.

I have to agree with Mark… in Canada, there is no choice, and that’s wrong!

I would still wear a helmet on the highway because of all those idiots that don’t know how to check their blind spot when they want to switch lanes, the jerks still blabing on their cell phones, and the rest of the un-curtious idiots out there that simply don’t know how to drive! But, if I want to just cruise through town, or take the back roads, I don’t think a helmet is neccasary.

Living in Idaho, an adult is not required to wear a helmet, but the skull’s design is less sound than that of an egg in a lot of ways. It is a pain in the butt to wear a helmet and more than understandable not wanting to wear one on a really nice day. Murphy’s law is in effect at all times, and if you have responsibilities like a family wearing a helmet makes a lot of sense. Personally, I wear a mixture of full face or half helmet as a responsiblity. Little extra weight on your head acts as a reminder to ride defensively.

Being from Illinois (one of the remaining Helmet Free States) I believe that it SHOULD be a matter of choice. For many years I rode without one. Why? The feeling of freedom! Now I am MUCH more likely to grab it on my way out the door… But again it is MY choice!
What gets me with all of these quoted statistics is the knowledge that you make any thing relevent to something else just by skewwing the data. Or picking WHAT data you want to include. NOTHING was stated as far as the actual number of motorcyclists in NTSB’s “facts”. Nor is is stated how many of the accidents were CAUSED by an idiot in a 4 wheeler.
With growing concern I see an exponentially increasing number of Distracted Drivers on the road. Instead of FORCING helmet use, why not focus on the ROOT of the problem and work at removing the distractions that IMPAIR Awareness? Make the penalties HIGHER for distracted driving!!!
(Point in case the “Nail Painting Accident in Illinois”… Killed a Rider when she blew a traffic control at 55 mph. She was painting her nails and didn’t SEE the biker in HI-VIS YELLOW stopped at the red light! Her sentance was the equivalent to a slap on the wrist.)
Now before someone goes off with “*&%$# Bikers”… I do realize that there are some in-DUH-viduals that consistantly break the law and are not worth my riding with. Key words, breaking the law and endagering other people.
Forcing Helmet use is akin to plugging a leak in a dam that only a few bricks are left. If the Governemtn is so concerned for our safety, then focus on helping us attain a SAFE RIDING ENVIRONMENT!
(To Fellow Bikers, join your local Motorcycle Rights Activist group!!!)
To 4 wheelers > Put down the dang cell phone and DRIVE!

I am 48 years old and should b be allowed to decide my own fate. I take full resposibility for my actions. Reguardless of what someone else thinks.

As a young man in the 70′s & 80′s living in Washington there was no helmet law and I rode without one. In those days we lived a bit more recklessly and I was not married, had a child, owned a home, business etc. As I’ve aged in years and responsibilities I now never ride my scoot without one. There is no reasonable argument that riding without one is no riskier than riding with one. Please if that’s your philosophy you will become a statistic that your family will carry the burden for the remainder of their lives. I have been down once in forty years of riding and the only reason I’m able to comment on this subject is because I was wearing a helmet. The choice may be yours but think of your family and friends…..is thier life better with or without you?

well, as in the helmet laws for new riders yes, until they can get use to their bike .they can be the safest riders in the world but, while learning it only takes one idiot to cut them off and well, it can be a mess all of us riders have been there. after a while riding with a helmet they should be required take a riders skill test and if they pass the option is theirs . i personally always were a helmet as do my passengers. thats my choice and if you do not want to wear a helmet thats you choice also . should people in cars wear helmets? some should !! loud pipes save lives !!!

I only wear a helmet when in a state where it is required. It does distort vision and hearing. Most fatal motorcycle accidents I’ve read about, death was due to internal injuries, not head trauma.

My vacations are to states where I can choose to wear a helment or not. I choose not to wear one and I choose to ride as safely as possible. I am 57 years old and have had three wrecks, two with a helment one with out. The helment did not help me when I was wearing one and I believe would have hurt my neck if I had been wearing one in the other wreck. When there is the possibility of something causing more harm than good, it should be a choice not a law. We have too many laws

I believe it should be an individual choice. If you don’t value yourself and your loved ones enough to protect your head, that’s your choice, albeit a rather stupid one. With all the different styles of helmets available now, everyone should be able to find a compatible, comfortable helmet that meets his needs. I also think many people do what they want anyway with no respect or regard for the law, so our states should just save their money by not deliberating the passing of such laws.

I think it should be a choice. I’ve never had a good helmet block my vision, but a full face or 3/4 quarter will affect your hearing. Half helmets catch to much wind to wear at highway speed unless you have a windshield (I don’t).

I agree that the numbers don’t tell the whole story as the number of bikes on the road did increase considerably during that time period.

No problem with riders not wear’n helmets. They should state that on their insurance card. See if their premiums go up? I don’t think I should pay for their stupidity or is that machismo?

I think that it should be a personal choice along with seatbelt laws, needed for kids but I am 55 and should have the constitutional to be stupid if I so choose. I choose to wear my helmet but should not be forced to. If the insurance co. don’t want to cover me because of this choice that is fine.

My first beef is the statement “fatalities doubled between 1997 and 2008″ I would like to know how many bikes were on the road for that period. My guess is that there were twice as many motorcycles by 2008. Motorcycling has jumped in popularity in the last few years and many of those are non experienced newbies. The 50 year olds that are riding their first bike that is a 1800 instead of learning on a 250. Stat can be twisted to prove any point you wish.
Wearing a helmet should be your choice.. ya they are safer than not wearing one but so what? No one should have the right to tell you what to wear.
I live in Canada and we have to wear helmets right across the country. I love going to the states where I can take the stupid thing off.
I suffer from pinched nerves in my neck every year from forcing that stupid helmet threw the wind. The strain leaves immediately when I take it off.
I wear a helmet when I dirt ride because I know I will wipe out eventually, usually a couple times a day. I play the odds. They are my odds to play, no-one else’s.

If I decide to ware a helmet it should be my own choice

I have not been riding long, since 1974, and I know I am safe rider. I will have to say that the full-face helmet does not block any part of my peripheral vision. In addition, air going by the ears at even 20 miles per hour muffles or alters any sounds that would happen to travel by way of eardrum. I was in a motorcycle accident way back in my earlier days of riding. The reason I got up right after the accident was clearly due to the protective gear, and mostly the helmet since my head was sliding down the road instead of my butt. So, what saved me was knowing I am protected and staying very relaxed knowing I was wearing the right stuff. Keep your head on!

I think it is a infringement of my rights to tell me I HAVE to wear one. It has been proven by the DOT that helmets block peripheral vision. That’s why we don’t have to wear one in our cars!!!! Sounds like you all just want to sell more helmets!! Heck you are more likely to break your neck with one on!!!If I crash its only me,and I’d rather die than be a paraplegic!!!! Ride Free-Live Free!!
Michael T. Enck
Savanna, Il.

I think it should be the riders choice.There is no silver bullet for reducing fatalities in any segment of traffic.I think education will go farther than a helmet.Why;because that helmet is only good for low speed crashes. And if you ride a bike in a way that makes you feel you need one maybe you better re-think how you ride.

I wear my helmet for the fact of road debris that can get kicked up by cars and trucks. Before the helmet I got pegged by a large bug and it dazed me, never again. I know on those nice days it’s tempting to go without a helmet but I won’t do it anymore.

I’m not sure why they have to pass laws that people either want to be protected or not on their own accord. I say let the people decide.

All the helmets in the world will not save my A** at 70 mph. The only thing that a helmet will do at 70 mph is make me a 70 mph projectile…..lol A missal……Now, instead of just my life…..I will be the tool of destruction to someone else. Helmet do not save lives at 70, 60, 50 or 40 mph so why bother? It’s just another way for our controlling governments to take more of our hard earned $$$. Like they don’t get enough of it now. Oh but lets go and spend a Trillion dollars to bail out a couple more poorly run corporations why don’t we…Ya want a helmet statistic? Your dead with or without a helmet at those speeds. How about another statistic, Most bikers don’t want helmets laws and it’s our lives not the governments. What next? Martial Law???

If you want to wear a helmet, more power to you. If you want to wear pink panties, what business of mine is it? As far as I’m concerned, I should be able to make that decision for myself. I appreciate everyone’s concern about my safety, but the point is, it is my concern, not anyone else’s. I live in Mississippi, and we are required to wear helmets. After living in Florida for several years, I find helmets to be bothersome. As far as I’m concerned,the only difference wearing a helmet makes in a severe crash, is whether it’s an open casket or a closed one. Just my opinion.

I have been riding for over 45 years. Worn a helmet probably 99 percent of the time. By my choice. We do not need laws to enforce common sense. Make the choice, live with the results. It’s up the the rider not the government. Kinda like smoking, you know it eventually going to , at the very least shorten your life span and at the worst, kill you. Choose not to wear a helmet, at least fill out the organ doner card on your license and do some good for someone else.

I live in Pennsylvania and after a billion years they finally let you ride without a helmet,but i still wear mine and so does the rest of my bike family.I had a good friend who got clipped from behind by a blue hair that wasn’t paying attention,sent him flying 6o’ and thank god he was in full armour helmet incuded,that saved his life.Its not us bikers its the car Jockeys that dont see or pay attention to us.So keep it real and wear a lid cause its the only thing between you and permanent roadrash…Ride Alive…

Guess I’m ludicrous, but a big cumbersome helmet does block my vision and hearing. I feel safer with my brain bucket. What are the statistics of deaths of cyclists wearing helmets vs. those not wearing them? How many cyclists in accidents blame their helmets for obstructing their vission?

Personally I wouldn’t ride without one because of 4 wheelers but I think it should be a choice.Ater all we are suppose to be a free nation.(NOT)

I love it without the lid !!!!! I reaLLY DO !!!!!

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