I’m writing this on Wednesday, having only caught wind of it earlier this week, so I have no idea what the outcome will be. But I can tell you this: Although I wear a helmet 99 percent of the time, I don’t believe that any other adult should have to do so. Fact is, I could care less if you want to wear a helmet or not.
For me personally, I’m a fairly aggressive rider and, combined with texting teen-agers and general dumbassery of the squares in the cages, I think a helmet gives me the best chance of making it home to my wife and seven-year-old every night. I’m just not a fan of a government that tells me I have to wear a helmet or that I can’t have a gun.
What’s next? Government issued “uniforms” consisting of slacks and blue blazers? Restricted to diets of veggies and NA beer? If you’re pissed about the proposed helmet law, then call your elected officials and give them a piece of your mind. Otherwise, some dude in a $1,500 suit is going to make that decision for you.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation met on Wednesday to mark up the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2011. It happens to contain three areas of critical concern to motorcyclists. Top of the list is the Lautenberg Amendment filed on Tuesday. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) amendment would basically force states to enact mandatory helmet laws across the board by strong-arming their funding.
States without a mandatory helmet law would be required to use 50 percent of their grant funds for the promotion of helmet use. This directly opposes what motorcyclists fought for in 2005 when the motorcyclists’ safety grant program was put into place to promote and fund motorcycle awareness, education and training programs. The proposed amendment would provide zero funding for education and awareness.
The second and third amendments are issues motorcyclists should probably want to support. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has introduced an amendment that prevents federal tax dollars being used to lobby states to pass mandatory helmet laws. DeMint is also trying to stop the bill’s (SB 1449) altering of the definition of “motor vehicle equipment” to include motorcycle helmets. If approved, states could spend federal money dedicated to motor vehicle equipment on motorcycle helmets. The DeMint amendment would keep helmets out of the equation. Contact your local elected officials and voice your concerns about these proposals.