Helmet or No Helmet? Whose Choice is it?

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May 26, 2014 | By: Brett Koranda

Staffers with helmetsThere’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics; as government expands, liberty contracts. – Ronald Reagan

The merits of wearing a helmet while aboard a motorcycle are well-established. The disdain of wearing a helmet because it detracts from the riding experience is equally well-established. I’m not going to settle that argument; that’s not my place and I’m inevitably going step on someone’s toes in that process. In fact – whose call is that? Who is most qualified to make the decision on whether or not you are going to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle?

Well, look out – as is becoming more and more the case these days – your governmental “betters” believe it’s their call. The quest to impose helmet laws on motorcycling ADULT citizens goes on and is picking up steam. The latest salvo comes in the form of a “recommendation” that all states have mandatory helmet laws for all motorcyclists from a federal task force. This is an unelected panel of experts appointed by the head of the Centers for Disease Control…an unelected official appointed by the head of the Department of Health and Human Services…an unelected official (albeit subject to senate approval) appointed by the President of the United States. And what is this committee basing their finding on this time around? What else…healthcare costs. Get used to it – the feds are increasingly looking to exercise more and more control over your personal choices and behavior under the guise of controlling healthcare costs with the so-called Affordable Care Act going into force this year.

Opposition in the motorcycling community to mandatory helmet laws is nearly unanimous. Organizations ranging from ABATE and the AMA to about every riding and owners club under the sun agree that there’s no logical case to be made for forcing adult American motorcyclists to wear a helmet against their will. Is that language a little strong? Extrapolate any federal mandate out to its logical end…it’s a massive bureaucracy forcing citizens to conform to a prescribed behavior it deems the “right and proper” behavior. I don’t think that’s overstated in the least.

If the government is that worried about my personal well-being on a motorcycle then how about advocating for motorcycle only lanes in highways? Maybe motorcycle-only highways? Perhaps they can mandate airbags be installed on the outside of all moving vehicles to protect motorcyclists? On second thought, maybe they out to reconsider even allowing motorcycles on the roads during certain hours. Eh, solo crashes still occur, so maybe the motorcycle should be banned altogether. Don’t laugh, there are people out their advocating just such a path in other areas of American life right now. Don’t believe me? Tune into the nightly news and you’ll get nothing but a steady diet of hang-wringing and regulatory proposals from self-appointed superiors and “experts.” Think about it. How many times have you heard them say this food or that food will kill you…only to have it recommended as part of a healthy diet six months later?

Additionally, I’m not afraid to take on the question on its merits. There are none from a public health standpoint. According to the American Motorcycling Association’s paper entitled AMA Position in Support of Voluntary Helmet Use in 2000 1.55 percent of total U.S. health care costs are attributable to all motor vehicle crashes. Therefore motorcycle crashes account for a miniscule percentage of health care costs. [Emphasis mine]

Full disclosure – I rode without a helmet for years and years, but made the choice to start wearing one a couple of years ago. The same goes for my wife. She started wearing one full time about a year before I did. I’ll even recommend that you wear a helmet. But that’s MY call to make and your call to make. I can’t tell you what to do. Nor should a bunch of politicians.

So, as these debates rage on please be sure to stay vigilant. Whenever a politician starts to lecture the “masses” about our own good take their words and run them through the prism of liberty. Does this proposal or that regulation impose on my right to make personal decisions about my life as I see fit? To me that’s the essential question one should have forefront in their mind. But that’s just me.

Comments (63)

I don’t care if you don’t wear a helmet. I just don’t want to subsidize your medical bills for the rest of your life, while you’re drooling on yourself after that Traumatic Brain injury that you some how survived, and deprived some other poor soul of your organs. Mandatory Million dollar umbrella insurance for riding helmet less isn’t too much to ask, so you don’t become a burden on society. And its not that expensive. About as much yearly as a decent helmet. If you ride a dirt bike without a helmet, everyone thinks your a Moron, Why doesn’t that common sense rule apply to Street bikes?

well steve i wear a helmet very time i ride,i just don’t think money should dictate what freedoms we have. Just like i don’t think we should wear a seat belt if u r 21 and over.It’s called freedom of chose.

I wear a helmet because: bugs hurt when they hit you at 70+ mph, it cuts back on wind noise, my helmet looks cool, you can put snarky stickers on them and riding with a helmet is the law in my state. One state over, there is no helmet law and it is a riot to see some bikers pull on to the shoulder of the highway, at the state line just to take their helmet off. Me, I am in favor of what ever floats your boat and let Darwin take care of the rest. Whatever you do or don’t wear, be safe out there.

Here’s a novel idea… Novelty helmets. Why is it that so many rebellious bikers like them? Well, they are lighter and more comfortable than the antiquated standard of one inch styrofoam in a crispy crunchy shell and they don’t look like a Martian. So why are the Feds pushing the old foam standard? Eh, well, it’s good enough… With the myriad of available components that are lighter and cooler, why are we not allowed to commission a better built helmet? Why are we mandated to wear food containers on our heads? I’ll bet there’d be a lucrative business opportunity for a helmet maker to produce a light weight D3O lined helmet that has enough airflow to feel like a comfy knit cap – in fact snow skiers in Europe are already wearing knit caps lined with D3O now because they are an alternative to helmets on many European ski slopes! And if you think snow skiing is a sport that is exempt from its fair share of head injuries, just ask Sunny Bono. Not to mention all these one-time-dropped and replaced helmets; why, the ghastly image of styrofoam helmets killing Mother Earth in land fills is chilling!! Just remember how they attacked McDonalds for all the little styrofoam boxes littering the land fills. So what’s the answer? Let us decide! Let opportunity and necessity create the market place, not antiquated big government standards.

I agree with your article almost in its entirety, except for the very beginning where you state the merits of wearing a helmet are well established. That’s not true and if you compare helmet law states with choice states, there is very little significant difference in fatality rates. If helmets were the cure-all, there would be a dramatic difference in mandatory states. The key to lowering death rates is #1, finding a way to stop car drivers from violating our right of way, and #2, we need to stop crashing by learning how to ride better. Funny, the ATGATT riders out there always preach that their helmets saved their lives. How come they keep crashing so much?

Many are missing the point here. This is not a debate on ‘why to wear a helmet’. It is about ‘who decides if you are to wear a helmet’.

I personally wear a helmet everytime, but I sure as hell don’t want the government taking credit for my good decisions. :)

The whole issue is the right to make your OWN choice. If you want to wear a helmet, by all means do, if you choose not to, it’s your choice! I’m 61 yrs. young, and have been riding most of my life. In my lifetime, I’ve been in 4 wrecks, 1 with a helmet, and 3 without. 1 involved a car, 1 was with another bike, and 2 were solo. Now I’m sure that there’s going to be some comments about me getting off the road, but the fact remains, I choose to not wear a helmet. It’s the whole freedom thing. When I’m on my bike, out on the road, it’s the best feeling, all my cares and worries disappear, and it’s just a very good and relaxing feeling. Now everyone knows that there are a lot of excuses out there why there should be a helmet law, but the bottom line is, it’s MY CHOICE! If you feel that you need to wear one, go for it, but that doesn’t give you the right to tell me that I have to. Ride Safe……….

I am a motorcyclist, have been on off again since I was a teenager. Just got a bike and am headed out in a couple of hours to get a brand new Snell/DOT rated full face helmet. Been down twice and I am pretty sure I would have been dead or a vegetable the first time without my helmet. As it was, thanks to the helmet and proper safety gear, I got up and walked away. As for choice is it like seat belts. Worse injuries drive up everyone’s insurance and healthcare costs. You have no right to drive up other peoples costs.

Do you drink alcohol? Do you smoke? Do you eat fast food? Are you overweight? If you answered yes to any of the above you are driving up my insurance rates. Are you in peak physicall condition? No? Then you’re driving up my insurance rates. You have to right todo that.

I hate the nanny state government telling me what I have to do period! It should be my choice. That said, I choose to wear a helmet both when I ride my harley or my mountain bike. I had one on a few years ago when I was involved in an accident caused by a lady driver who knew she had a history of passing out. I hit a falling power line and flipped backward off my bike. My full face helmet deflected the power line and absorbed the shock when the back of my head hit the ground. It saved my life, I still had a bunch of broken bones, but I recovered. I still say it should be my choice!

I have been a solo Officer for several years now. I only wear a helmet when on duty. They kill by breaking your neck in a ricochet like a queue ball. I was in a horrific crash 4 years ago from a drunk driver who had flipped his vehicle over and left it. It was 4AM and I could not see it. My helmet was found over 100 yards down the highway. WOW a lot of good it did me. Truth is all helmet laws were enacted by AMA (American medical Association to allow for your organs to be harvested for profit. That is why Texas repealed it many years ago. I only wear one if it is cold or raining when I am off duty. It is YOUR CHOICE not someone else’s, especially government. I will not comply with unconstitutional laws. I won’t write seat belt tickets EVER. Stand up for your rights.

I find it ironic that you cannot enter a Bicycle Charity Ride without a helmet, yet you can drink, ride without a helmet at any motorcycle charity event.
PS everyone should wear a helmet. period

It’s my choice. I choose not to wear one and I live in Michigan. I keep one on the bike in the tour pack for a passenger though. So they can choose for themselves.

My father lobbied for the helmet law in Missouri .
He was 6’2″ 225 lbs. of solid muscle. I am 5′ 10″
about 159 lbs. when the law was passed. There was never any doubt about members of my family
wearing helmets. No helmet ! No ride ! My older
brother had a car drive directly into his path while
turning left in front of him. He came out of the Coma
20 days after leaving part of his head on a telegraph post. This all happened a very long time ago. Mid 50′s. I still have the helmet and the 47
Knuckle Head ( but the 39 – 45 in. ) he was riding
left the family later on.

I don’t recall ever thinking about the Gov. taking my rights away. I viewed it as the Gov. trying to help
all riders -not just me.

Remember the Gov. didn’t have to tell me to
wear a helmet . My Daddy already had taken care
of that. At 71 I just ordered a new tire and a
battery for the Knuck from J&P. Not been on the street in a long time and probably won’t be
much now. I am in the church Pipe Organ business
and I just gotta hear those pipes again.
Peace Daddy–Peace everyone- put your helmet on
and ride safely. Ken Kavanaugh

The same argument (Obama Care) for requiring helmets to be worn could be argued in favor of abolishing alcohol. There are more accidents, deaths, injuries and health care cost associated with alcohol than motorycle injuries with or without helmets. Maybe they should make alcohol illegal like the prohibition days. A very large portion of the general public would be screaming then.

Government does because they are empowered to do so by “The People”. Your personal liberty is not a consideration. If an equivalently assinine law were written that affected the average Joe, the cry and hue would be deafening. But the 2% (us riders) are a problem to be managed. Moral of story? Be glad for what you got, scream loudly to representative organizations that WILL listen (like the AMA) and PRAY.

The tide will turn someday though. Cars will become the transportion of the rich and the average Joe will be stuck riding bicycles and motorcycles. Look at modern China.

my bike my life my choice!

Helmets like safety belts should be worn period

You can wear a helmet 24hrs a day for all I care, just don’t F— with my right to choose.

So you are saying that we as adults dont have the right to make discision for our self, after all it is our life,not the goverments

Helmets like seat belts kill and injure! I’m permanently disabled because of wearing a seat belt. If I had not been wearing a seat belt I would have walked away uninjured. Because of the seat belt I ended up with severe lumbar injuries, and had to have 3 major surgeries to date. I have had 2 friends die because of helmets. Because of them wearing a helmet they broke their necks. All helmets do are help to keep you pretty for the funeral. As a matter of fact several years ago the University of Wisconsin Madison did a helmet study and found that the human head with or without a helmet can not handle an impact over 30 mph. Back when I could ride a bike I had the miss fortune of laying my bike down twice. Once with a helmet on and once without. the time I was wearing a helmet the first thing to hit the ground was my head. The other time without my head never came close to hitting. Helmets hare heavy, obstructive, and extremely hot, which all increase fatigue and distraction which is a perfect mix for a possibly fatal accident. If you want to wear a helmet that’s your choice but don’t force it on the rest of us who choose not to. to this day I still ride but a trike now thanks to the seat belt law and can never ride a bike again. So unless you can come up with something to contradict one of the top Medical schools in the country, or first hand experience let those who ride decide.

You’re comparing apples and oranges Mikey! Let’s not get distracted!
Unjust laws have no place in a free society!
Let those who ride decide!

I think it’s a choice we all have to make for ourselves. Michigan, my home, removed it’s mandatory helmet laws not long after years of enforcement. This reversal came with little or cursory objections from the very large insurance lobby which legislative bodies have. My personal theory as to why opposition was so light is that helmets may actually tend to increase health care costs.

Generally, even a low speed accident can turn your brain into jello, which tends to kill you. If you survive an accident which may have killed you without a helmet, insurance corps may have to pay for long term care, or even lifetime care. Now that’s just my theory and I tend to be cynical.

Personally, I think, if you have people you care about depending on you it’s damn selfish to risk causing them suffering for that little extra feeling of freedom.
I hate my helmet, but I do wear it…cause I have people who depend on me.

That’s my choice today. In Michigan, we now enjoy that choice.

Well I am from Canada and we have helmet laws.
I have always admired the American people for their strong opposition to an over abundance of regulations.
Keep it up!!!

I figure the only difference in helmet or no helmet is open casket or closed casket anyway.
Stand strong you guys.
Cheers, Wade ,PEI, Canada

I think everyone should have to wear a helmet as soon as you walk out your front door, you know, just in case you get hit by a falling 747 or something… Let those who ride decide!

as long as they have medical insurance to cover that squshie mellon head if if hits the ground. NO PROBLEM

I like to wear mine inside too! meteorites you know.

I agree it should be your choice.

A couple of things… Perhaps if it were enforced that drivers do just that, DRIVE, rather than text, facebook, eat, cause they are not fat enough, just to name a few things, maybe we would all be safer, drivers and riders alike. Second perhaps the DOT could be receptive to using newer lighter weight materials to make helmets from, in order to reduced the number of neck and back injuries caused by the weight of current helmet design. I’m 50/50 on wearing a helmet, it just depends on my mood.

I definitely agree on the updating of helmet certification standards. I think helmets could be made lighter/thinner/better vented … voluntary usage would increase!

Rats,my post keeps disappearing. Hmmmm

A few wrong things about this article. First “Opposition in the motorcycling community to mandatory helmet laws is nearly unanimous” Ahh no! I ride every day and support helmet laws. Other cyclist who don’t wear helmets defiantly do raise MY insurance cost. If you do not believe this talk to anyone who works in the insurance industry. And 1.55 percent of health care cost is actually extremely HUGE when you consider the percentage of people who ride in the US are around 2%.

To put that into perspective the CDC report on vehicle crashes puts car related injuries at $70 billion per year. Yet motorcycle related crashes are are $12 billion. So if take the data that 90% of american say they drive regularly (generous since many who don’t drive ride) and use the same rate that motorcycles have for health cost, cars health related cost would be 45 times as much as they do now.

So you support mandatory helmet laws due, in part, to the perceived increased cost of health care/insurance if one gets in an accident without a helmet … correct?
Tell me, do you then also support tripling or quadrupling health insurance premiums for bikers due to the apparent higher risk of injury?

Martin Niemoller;
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”

If you support mandatory helmet laws because it is ‘safer’ … what is your argument when they start legislating or banning motorcycles for the sake of safety??

dude, are just making up numbers. here are some real numbers, between 100,000 and 440,000 people die each year from medical errors, depending on which estimate you look at. most agree that it is most likely around 220,000. i think the CDC needs to adhere to the old adage “physician heal thyself” before they start telling the rest of us what is safe!!!!!!

I agree it’s a personal choice. I live in California; it’s the law to wear a helmet. When I’m traveling through a state that’s helmet free, I go helmet free. MY CHOICE!

One subject I didn’t see anyone comment on is, a few years back, a couple of states had it, if you died in a motorcycle accident it was mandatory to donate your body…that’s outrages. In other states, you could be denied health insurance because you ride a motorcycle. I guess the way they see it, since we ride, we don’t have sound judgment.

This is how the government works; they chip away at your RIGHTS under the pretense of it being for your own good. I guess they think we can’t determine what’s for our own good.

Governments have a mandate to protect the public health.

This is a good and right function of government.

The idea that government is inherently bad is…foolish, frankly.

The distinction here is that the risk mitigation analysis is one that we prefer to do for ourselves on, perhaps, a daily and periodic basis.

But if you think that in leaving your helmet at home, statistics are on your side, then you clearly haven’t looked at the science.

I used take my helmet off when riding through free states periodically, but I did so knowing full well that in the event of catastrophe, the likelihood of fatal or permanent brain trauma is significantly greater than it would be if I had a helmet on. As in, virtually assured.

Denying this kind of meaningful science does a serious disservice to our shared passion.

It makes motorcyclists look like madmen with a death wish. This is a stereotype we should be actively working to change, not exacerbating.

Wearing a helmet makes you safer.
Not wearing one may be something you consider an inherent liberty (a strange stretch of the definition of liberty, to say the least) but it certainly isn’t WISE by any sane analysis.

Like smoking.
You can do it, but it’s idiotic to pretend that it isn’t ridiculously risky.
Come the heck on. Cut the bullshit.

Two words on why to wear a helmet……GARY BUSEY

It’s simple. Let those who ride decide.
uhmmm except for non licensed passengers and those under 18…

I ride with a fullface helmet. I had a bad crash in a sharp curve on a back road. I don’t remember anything about the crash. I will tell you if I wasn’t wearing a fullface helmet I would have lost my life or a least my face would have be destroyed. Think about that next time you ride without a helmet. I did bust myself up pretty good but I’m well now and bought a new bike. Back on the motorcycle again and loving it.

“Opposition in the motorcycling community to mandatory helmet laws is nearly unanimous” Ahh no! I ride every day and support helmet laws. Other cyclist who don’t wear helmets defiantly do raise MY insurance cost. If you do not believe this talk to anyone who works in the insurance industry. And 1.55 percent of health care cost is actually extremely HUGE when you consider the percentage of people who ride in the US are around 2%. But why let facts get in the way of “freedom” buzzwords, fallacious arguments, and anti-gubment sentiment.

Since you are 10 times more likely to die in a hospital from medical malpractice than riding a motorcycle without a helmet, shouldn’t we require more safety regulations in hospitals? What about head injuries/deaths in bath-tubs or standing on a ladder…shouldn’t we require helmets be worn to reduce the cost of medical care for these folks as well?

I can make this short. no laws that require the government to think for me. No seat belt laws, No walking and texting laws, No helmet laws, if I want to be an organ donor that is my right. no safety laws unless it is something that can hurt someone else like children they are not allowed to vote they have to be told to be safe but the adults this way the stupid can be weeded out of the population. and the IQ of the general population will be naturally selected!!! I don’t want as an adult to be told I’m stupid and I can’t think for my self if I can’t then I need to face the consequences of my choices. I wore a seat belt be for it was a law now it makes me made every time I put it on. I wear a helmet in a state that says you don’t need one and I love that it’s my choice as an intelligent adult but no laws No more “I’m to stupid to be alive laws” if your to stupid to take care of yourself then let them go please !!!

The problem with texting is the same as drunk driving you will likely take someone else with you when get in an accident. You have no right to do things that create hazards for the rest of us – PERIOD.

Well. I live in Brazil and our government does this all the time. We are already obliged to wear helmets with visors down or eye protection at all times. This year, they were talking about making those dorky airbag vests mandatory, but I think they let that one be for a while. They’re all just missing the point, even because our public health system sucks so much, most of us who can afford, have private care plans. So even the whole health care costs argument don’t stick. What happens here is that motorcycle sales have gone thru (and still is) a huge sales boom. Harleys suddenly got more affordable a few years ago when harley dropped theyr old distributor here (rizzo). Alson, now we can finaly buy KTM, Ducati, bmw or triumph cycles. The sales of cheap small motorcycles are also going thru the roof. There’s lots of people trying to dodge the traffic problems by going from cars to motorcycles. All of that means there’s a lot of inexperienced motorcyclists out there. Most of them can’t even drive cars safely. That sends the statistic skyrocketing. All of the sudden, bikes are monsters that kill lots of people. and the corrupt mercenaries we call government think they should do the cheapest thing about it. Like a drunk angry father,they just yell at us to put the f####g helmet on and leave him alone.
You should fight for your right fellas! Down here it’s already a lost cause. Maybe I should try to get me a green card, hey?

Better to focus on DRIVER training/awareness, laws against cell activity while driving, and discouraging riders from riding intoxicated, a HUGE cause of m/c accidents. Helmets save you WHEN you crash. Better to PREVENT the crash.

You’re right on the ball w/ this comment. Helmets rarely save anyone over 35 mph and can contribute to fatalities via broken necks or spinal cord injury. Had a fatality here last night (Rally at Beech Bend KY – helmet free state)… head on collision caused by a drunk driver in the wrong lane. Don’t know if he was wearing a helmet or not yet… don’t think it would have mattered.

Welcome to the new government, how many states have seat belt laws???? Well I live in Wisconsin and they will force you by way of a ticket to wear your seat belt but for now, you don’t have to wear a helmet, I am sure it won’t be long just like seat belts and you’ll be wearing a helmet as well. Apparently our government is smarter then we the people….

Oh great, another anti-gubment screed. “Opposition in the motorcycling community to mandatory helmet laws is nearly unanimous” Ahh no! I ride every day and support helmet laws. Other cyclist who don;t wear helmets defiantly do raise MY insurance cost. 1.55 percent of health care cost is actually extremely huge when you consider the percentage of people who ride in the US are around 2%. But why let facts get in the way of “freedom” buzzwords and anti-gubment sentiment.

I put an order half hour ago and I just notice that I order a wrong size so I call the 1 800 number and there no.answer and I try the live chat and I told him that I need to cancel one.of my order and they said they cant do anythin to cancel my order because its already on there warehause shit only half an hour after I put the order and they cannot.cancel.one of my order that stupid I order some parts from the other company before and I dont have this problem but here with J&P my first time I if this problem can be resolved I I never order any parts of my bike this company again and im going.tell all my fellow Harley Davidson Rider my experinces ordering parts from J&P

So.. you’re upset because they are extremely fast with fulfilling and shipping your order?

You ordered the wrong size, its not their fault. just wait for it to come and then send it back. I think they even take care of all the return shipping etc for you, you know, because they “suck”.

And if you need the helmet ASAP, just order the correct one right now. Like I said, when the wrong one comes just send it back for a refund.

Also why are you posting this here?

Well played, Pete.

Cuz he needed a helmet a loooong time ago

So Pete, do you not have a non Harley Davidson rider as a friend or is it because he/she doesn’t ride a Harley they don’t deserve to hear about your ordering experience?

If you order as well as you write I’m surprised you even got the order placed. :)

People die with or without helmets, just like seat belts.

My issue is this: they will not enact helmet laws because it’s a good idea (motorcycle injuries are miniscule in the grand scheme of transportation). It would happen because there’s money to be made. If a helmet law goes into effect a politician will pad his “campaign budget”, helmet lobbyists get paid, and the helmet manufacturers make a profit, emptying our wallets all in the name of Safety!

If I spend money on a helmet it’s because I wanted to, not because I have to.

Personally, I choose to wear a helmet about 50% of the time–depending on road, traffic and weather conditions–although, I am not sure I should. The NHTSA report cited by the Centers for Disease Control clearly focuses on traumatic brain, and head and face injury statistics. According to the study, there is a 1.4% greater likelihood that a non-helmeted rider involved in an injury related accident will suffer a moderate-to-critical traumatic brain injury. What they fail to mention is that the same study indicates that non-helmeted riders overall are far LESS likely than helmeted riders to suffer moderate-to-critical injuries of the neck, thorax, spine, abdomen and extremities!

Actually, all of this ultimately doesn’t matter. FREEDOM matters. If left unchecked, the gov’t will take away our right to choose… helmets for now, motorcycles later.

Perhaps those in our all-knowing government should require all car operators to wear helmets. Statistics show that many more automobile passengers suffer traumatic head injuries in accidents than motorcyclists. Wouldn’t there be an uproar? Perhaps not.

JackS makes the observation that helmeted riders have more non-head injuries than helmeted riders. That argument has been around since 1972, when helmet laws were first being debated. Turns out that if you’re dead they don’t waste time counting how many bones you broke. It is a fallacious statement.

I have to say I find this whole “liberty” argument a little pretentious. I know lots of people who make the liberty argument in support of guns and helmets, and yet are not respectful of those who would claim a right to liberty in matters of who they marry or whether to carry a child that is in them through no fault of their own. So we should all understand that we each have standards regarding what constitutes the greater good to society, and which in some sense will trump liberty every time. Beyond that threshold, whatever it is, we are all happy to deny liberty of one flavor or another to others.

So just remember, there’s nothing in the Constitution about motorcycle head gear. Get a good helmet, use it properly, and keep the shiny side up! Your loved ones will thank you.

Brett …I believe that the liberty of one is above the collective whole….. the idea of healthcare and riding with no helmet was used by the Dick Floyd ,democrat, in 92…. his whole argument was that the general population was paying for the injures sustained by the helmetless rider…his statement shows his attitude”They Have to wear there helmets,now,regardless.I enjoy sitting out by the freeway and watch them coming in, all in their cute helmets. They’re fools,Hells Angels and wannabes the whole bunch of them”

Brett, In a way I have to agree with you; I definitely have libertarian tendencies myself. But a counter argument would be that when we are on government property, which the road is, we are subject to the rules of the road. What would it hurt if I were to just ride my 414 lb. motorcycle drunk? It might be fun (actually it is fun, though I haven’t done it for years. The bike seems to run better!). At least, riding where no pedestrians or bicycles are present wouldn’t pose much of a risk to anyone but me. And there are other rules, for instance, we have to have our headlights on. —- No disagreement, I’m just sayin’.

Hi Ross – thanks for reading the blog and taking time out to respond. Here’s the thing, I can ride in the presence of bicycles and pedestrians without a helmet and pose no particular threat to them. Not so riding intoxicated. Riding with your light on requires no alteration to your personal choices or any outlay of extra funds. In my state, it’s just on when you start your bike. :-)

Just food for thought.

“…when we are on government property, which the road is,…” THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT OWN THE ROADS, WE THE PEOPLE, DO! The road were built with Taxes paid by the working people. Stop buying into the nonsense!

I ride in NYC where there’s a very good reason to wear a helmet, despite diminishing the riding experience.

In a city like New York, there probably ought to be a fine for not wearing a DOT helmet (and, of course, there is), but one of the reasons I’m dying to ride in a state like Arizona, for example (I’m assuming it’s not illegal to not wear a helmet there), is specifically so that it’s less crowded enough to NOT have to wear a helmet and to simply enjoy the open road.

In general, isn’t it the same debate as car seat belts? In NYC, you get a ticket for not wearing your seat belt, and of course, the city/state doesn’t really care about your well-being – it’s just a way for the city to make some extra cash.

And when it comes to health care costs vs. helmet-wearing (this may sound a bit insensitive), how many riders who get into accidents involving head injuries actually live to incur health care costs?

The gov’t shouldn’t interfere with anyone’s rights or freedoms, but they do, and will continue to – that aspect isn’t any different from the debate on gun control, or marijuana, etc., and hopefully your state will acknowledge and push back on federal legislature regarding mandatory helmets.

Also, if riders feel it’s worth fighting to protect, then they will fight along with the aforementioned associations, but ultimately – as with many, many other things in this country, if it becomes law, then that will suck, but we will just have to start riding in Mexico.

Simply put: in GENERAL, this country isn’t the country it used to be, and is becoming less and less free by the day – which ultimately is what riding is all about.

If anything, I’d say that the issue on federal helmet requirements is less about helmets and safety, and more about freedom as a metaphor.

Big government is the real threat. Where can we buy helmets to protect us from them?

P.S. This article needs to be edited a bit.

Hi Pete – As I stated, I wear a helmet. I think it’s a great idea to wear a helmet and I encourage every rider to do so. I just maintain that it should remain a personal choice, not yet another government order directing how I live my life.

…oh and thanks for commenting! Hope you get out to AZ soon. Arizona requires helmets for underage riders only, I believe.

…just be sure you daub on a bunch of SPF 30 before you ride if you’re previously in the habit of wearing a helmet-the sun in Az can be fearsome…..

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