Chances are, if you don’t live in Iowa, Illinois or New Hampshire, your state requires you to wear a motorcycle helmet when riding. If you think that’s a load of bull, check out J&P Cycles limited edition Helmets Suck! motorcycle helmet.
The Helmets Suck! helmet was designed with the pro-choice rider in mind. This half helmet is comfortable, lightweight and affordable; you might actually decide you like it (but your secret is safe with us.) This limited edition helmet will be available beginning in late August and will only be available for a limited time.
So, which side are you on? Maybe you’re not on either, but not surprisingly, there are two very opposing sides of the pro-choice vs. pro-helmet argument. The pro-choice side: riders who want to have a choice and couldn’t care less if other riders wear a brain bucket. And the pro-helmet side: those who see bikers riding down the highway without a helmet and can’t imagine what they could possibly be thinking. “Are they crazy? Why aren’t they wearing a helmet?!”
We were curious as to what some of our employees had to say:
Mr. Happy-to-Wear Helmets:
Forty-seven out of the 50 states currently have universal or partial helmet wearing laws. The only three that do not are Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire. If most states have motorcycle helmet laws, shouldn’t they all?
For those who don’t know, universal helmet laws apply to all motorcycle operators and passengers: everyone must wear a helmet. Partial laws only apply to certain motorcycle operators, such as those under age or who have little experience.
Regardless of age and experience, my opinion is that all motorcyclists and passengers on motorcycles need to wear helmets. I know, I know—why should we be forced to do something? Safety—wearing a helmet during a motorcycle accident has been proven to lessen a victim’s odds of receiving life threatening and debilitating injuries.
According to the United States Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the 4,957 motorcyclists who were killed in 2012, 42 percent were not wearing a helmet.
Moreover, the NHTA estimates that of the states without universal helmet laws, 62 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2012 were not wearing helmets. Compare that to just nine percent in states with universal helmet laws.
Restricted vision, ability to turn one’s neck freely and simply not having a choice are some of the top reasons why motorcyclists chose to not wear a helmet. I’m sure those who are against being forced to wear a helmet felt the same way regarding seat belt laws when they began being enforced on a state-by-state level in some capacity in the mid-1980s.
Helmets these days come in a variety of styles and surely there is one out there that meets the expectations and comfort level of even the pickiest motorcyclist! As more states convert to universal helmet laws, it might be a good time to check out the newest in helmet selections. I am certain time is coming for the states that remain with no helmet laws.
Mr. Leave the Law Alone:
Now before I even get started here, I want to say that I am expressing my personal opinion. If you are reading this, please don’t miss the point. I wear a helmet every day. I wear it because I choose to wear it, not because I am told to wear it. I know many will disagree with my opinion, but that’s what freedom is all about, and I am good with that!
I never considered myself to be a political person until recent years. With the influx of information that can be obtained today through our cell phones, it has opened up a proverbial “Can of Worms” for me that I have a hard time ignoring. It seems every time I look at my phone or turn on the news I am bludgeoned with stories of complete ignorance. People making poor decisions that affect everyone and no one seems to notice. Sometimes I feel like the country I love is simply falling apart at the seams. My biggest struggle is that I feel powerless to do anything about it.
In my opinion, the helmet laws are a glaring beacon of the mentality our politicians have accepted as common practice. These laws are a sign of people resigning to the feeling that they cannot be individuals with opinions, but must succumb to the “politically correct” wave that is the flavor of the day in order to avoid being ridiculed, or in some cases, face consequences. This country was founded on freedom—the ability for the individual to choose what they wanted to do. Any time you lose that ability to decide what you want to do, you are losing a right. You are simply being told what you have to do.
Currently 19 states have universal laws. That means 19 states have decided that you must wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, or you will be pulled over and ticketed.
Twenty-eight states have partial laws. These states have decided that you have to be a certain age in order to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Most states say if you are 17 or younger, you have to wear a helmet.
What’s ridiculous about these partial laws is that they rarely work. The states put these partial laws in place so they could tell Congress they had a helmet law.
The important thing to recognize here is that the states didn’t put these laws in place because they were concerned about the welfare of the motorcycle community. They put them in place because the government told them if they didn’t, they wouldn’t get any more federal highway construction funds.
In 1976, the states lobbied against Congress to stop the DOT from assessing financial penalties on states without helmet laws, but the damage was already done. Those citizens already lost the right to choose.
Again, being a former racer, I have hit the pavement at speed a few times. Those experiences provoked me to decide to always wear a helmet. The issue here is losing the right to decide.
That being said, I will end with a quote from one of our founding fathers, Samuel Adams: “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
Which side are you on? Does it really even matter?