For Those Who Believe We Shouldn’t be Forced to Do Anything, This Lid’s for You!

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For Those Who Believe We Shouldn’t be Forced to Do Anything, This Lid’s for You!

Helmets Suck! HelmetChances 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?

Map of Helmet Law States

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.

Helmet Laws SuckIn 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?

By |2015-07-14T10:06:35+00:00July 14th, 2015|Categories: Editorial/Commentary Articles, Motorcycle Buyers Guides|47 Comments

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  1. Norm August 29, 2015 at 9:01 am


  2. Louis Burdge August 1, 2015 at 10:12 am

    The statistics state the deaths of helmeted vs. unhelmented riders but you never hear anything about the helmeted riders that survived the accident but are now quadriplegic.I would rather die doing what I love than spend my remaining life with a machine breathing for me.It’s illegal to wear a helmet in a car because they restrict your vision and hearing,it doesn’t make sense to me to wear that on a bike where I need all my senses to be acute.In auto racing a hans device is used in conjunction with a helmet to keep the force of impact and added weight of helmets from causing brain stem,spinal cord injuries.Street bike helmets amplify this type of injury but nobody reports that.If I was riding at high speed on a track then yes I would be in a full set of leathers,body armor and helmet but on the street I feel I should have a choice.I’m more afraid of becoming a quadriplegic than I am of dying.I’ve had brothers die with helmets on and I’ve had brothers that wanted to die because a helmet saved their life but left them forever dependant on a machine.I would rather my family attend my funeral than see me deteriorate on life support,speaking from experience with both.

  3. Brenboy July 30, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    I don’t want the “freedom” to pay for your stupidity when you are sitting in that wheelchair dead broke drooling on yourself from a traumatic brain injury which could have been easily mitigated by wearing a helmet. Unfortunately not all of you “freedom” loving who gives a shit types don’t die instantly when smacked down on your stupid brain cases, you linger in SICU until your distraught family (you know, those kids and wife you left behind) you selfish bastards, have to pull the plug. If you don’t believe in self protection and relish the thought of being a burden on your family and society then by all means enjoy your passport to new and different life… just don’t ask me to buy you the handicapped van or the rehab or that wheelchair ramp to your front door. I’d rather sweat than bleed anyday. Morons.

  4. Mike Hall July 30, 2015 at 10:10 am

    I’m an idiot!

  5. Colin July 30, 2015 at 2:20 am

    Here in Australia, there is a blanket helmet law across the country and has been that way for about 20 years. I would prefer to have the choice of whether to wear one or not but I can’t see politicians revoking the law. I would prefer the option of whether or not to wear a seat belt but mandatory seat belt wearing has been law here since 1965. You guys are lucky there are still some States with common sense.

  6. captainfifi July 30, 2015 at 12:26 am

    I’m french and I leave in France…here, you don’t have choice, it’s helmet ! your debate is very interesting for me because , here in Europe, we are thinking on the next steps : yellow jacket or not ? gloves or not ? long sleeves or not ? closed shoes or not…..
    For me and so many bikers ( I proudly ride a HD Crossbones), it should a question of choice with your insurance company ( you pay less, they pay less….)

  7. Grant Howze July 29, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    I have always been against helmet laws. I still am, even though I recently had an accident that sent me flying at 65 MPH where I landed on my head, then rolled about a hundred yards down the freeway. I will always wear a helmet now, but it should be my choice. There may be a few times I decide to go with out one and that should be a choice. I had 2 friends killed in accidents that died because of their seatbelts. One had it on too loose and it was very bad. The other I was in the car with when it rolled. Couldn’t get it undone before the car exploded. I know these are rare occurrences, but I had 2 friends that were gone within a month of each other. I still hate seatbelts.

  8. Jersey Mel July 29, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    One party of the helmet debate is never mentioned- the insurance companies that pay the health care costs.
    If a rider has the choice to wear or not to wear protective head gear, should the insurance carrier have the choice to pay or not pay for head injuries that may have been prevented by wearing protective head gear?
    Let’s include everybody in this discussion.

  9. Dave Snow July 29, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I’m OK if you don’t want to wear a helmet, but then you should loose your right to sue anyone for head trauma in an accident. Also, you should sign a wavier that no effort will be made to save you in the event you’re in an accident where you have severe head trauma.

    With choice comes responsibility. Why should taxpayers pay for someone who choose to not wear a helmet?

    Afterall, it’s a free country, right?

    • Michael April 11, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      Reply to Dave Snow, as far as signing a waiver – should the same be true for those who consume alcohol before getting in a car and driving? If you’re in an accident, and are impaired while driving, should you too be deprived of every effort to save your life – in my opinion, the joker that drinks and drives is putting not only himself at risk but everyone else whom he/ she comes in contact with… I agree, “with choice, does come responsibility” so let me choose. Ride safe !

  10. Don Keaton July 29, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    I basically agree. I will always wear a helmet at speeds above 25mph. I don’t however think it should be a law. I do think a helmet gives you a greater chance to walk away, but bottom line is that it should be left to the individual rider. The problem is when you starting quoting stats, the question would be, would those who died while not wearing a helmet also have died if wearing a helmet. Has the overall fatality per accident rate gone up? I don’t think statistics should necessarily be a factor in a freedoms issue, but accurate statistics could help with training and encouragement. Incidentally I am even more opposed to mandatory seatbelt laws.

  11. john goss July 29, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    for those wanting to keep your right to choose join your local ABATE chapter Ilive in Kansas and choose to not wear a helmet when ever possible

  12. Vern Hill July 29, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    I feel the same as Rick & Steve it should be your choice. Self protection is good but the choice should be yours to make. Hey some political dude from Cali. wanted motorcycles to have seat belts. {not kidding}it’s true

  13. Cody July 29, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I tend to side more with it being the rider’s choice. I’ve had friends wreck that had they been wearing helmets they likely would have broken their necks (lay-down/sliding accidents) but also understand a helmet is good in a blunt force/immediate stop-type incident. When you leave the house to ride for the day, your own personal deity or conscience should dictate whether you feel more likely to slide or smack should you be in an unfortunate accident that day. The seat belt argument doesn’t fly much for me as those help drivers stay behind the wheel and maintain some potential for helping avoid a worse accident based on those around you…not relevant to a biker that will have already lost all control of their motorcycle by the time a helmet comes in to the equation.

    • Mike Hall July 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      You’re an idiot!

  14. Larry Novak July 29, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I’m a Canadian and thanks to politicians who probably have never rode a motorcycle force people to wear them. How would they like it if we as citizens forced them to do things they don’t like not a chance. Me I am forced to wear one if I had the freedom to choose I would ride without one. As Americans fight for your rights just like the armed forces fought for your freedom. A lot of motorcycle accidents are caused by careless vehicle owners who don’t pay attention to motorcyclists and cause serious accidents. I have had many close calls and once had to lay my ride on it’s side due to a stupid cage driver. I have ridden motorcycles for almost a half a century and yes if I had a choose I would ride helmet free because when the good lord wants you he will take you, you won’t have no say in the mater. This is only my thoughts from Canada.

    • Conor B July 29, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      I can agree with this sentiment, sir. I do believe it should be your right, to an extent. My only opposition is not to the freedom of not wearing a lid but to the fact that someone has to pick up the pieces of brain matter from all over the road if you inevitably crash. As for the politician, they work for you. So you do have a say in what they vote on. Or at least should have. Ride on!!

      • Mike Hall July 29, 2015 at 2:34 pm

        You’re an idiot!

        • Larry Novak July 29, 2015 at 3:05 pm

          In reply to Mike’s comments I might be an idiot to you but as a retired first responder I have also cleaned up smashed in heads who were wearing helmets I still think it should be a persons right to decide to wear or not to wear. Just for your information I was dispatched to a bike accident and it was a good friend of mine and the helmet pushed into his brain and killed him instantly so if I am an idiot than so be it keep wearing your skid lid.

    • Gary July 29, 2015 at 10:46 pm

      “I would ride helmet free because when the good lord wants you he will take you”

      What if your an atheist. I guess you have nothing to worry about.

      • Larry Novak July 30, 2015 at 9:12 am

        So True Gary So True

  15. Conor B July 29, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Damn right they suck! Free country. 2nd amendment right bear arms ..why not right bare skull!! But really, have you seen what happens to a skull hitting the pavement at 40+ mph? I have. First hand. I can guarantee you won’t feel it that’s for sure. But when it does happen, and it does frequently, some poor state trooper or local public servant gets the privilege of scooping your low IQ off the double yellow lines. That stops traffic, potentially causing accidents. Puts them at risk of being hit, or killed. And after all that “mess” he’s supposed to go home and kiss his wife like theres nothing wrong? Riding without a helmet in those states is your right, but think outside yourself. If you still think its worth it then maybe you should ride helmetless

  16. Richard pearcy July 29, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Looking forward to the new helmets

  17. Eric July 29, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Personally, I find it interesting, if not funny, when I see someone wearing a helmet, but also riding with shorts and flip flops, and/or no shirt. I would toss this out there that good footwear and clothing options are just as much of a safety factor as helmets…well, maybe not as much of a safety factor but close.

    • Putnik July 29, 2015 at 11:20 am

      You can live without limbs. Without head – no!
      Good enough reason?

    • HarleyM1 July 29, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      I totally agree, I live in the desert of Arizona where there is no helmet law over the age of 16. Time after time I see guys riding with shorts and flip-flops and wearing a helmet. I don’t get it. When I ride on a highway with speeds over 70mph (mostly because I don’t want my hair a mess) I wear a helmet but around town I don’t. Also in this article it posted that in 2012 out of 4957 motor cycle deaths 42% were NOT wearing a helmet that means 58% were. LET THOSE WHO RIDE DESIDE!

    • Don Keaton July 29, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      It’s equally ironic to see the guy wearing full leathers or denim, boots and vest, but no helmet.

  18. Travis Wampler July 29, 2015 at 9:34 am

    I think that the younger generation now doesn’t realize just how many freedoms that our government has taken from us in the last 30 years . If we the ( American People ) do not start standing up for our constitutional rights we will soon be stripped of all of them . The freedom of choice is just that . If a person wants to wear a helmet let them if they don’t then let them be .
    For the states that have the partial helmet law . (GREED )
    Let’s make a stand now .

    • Putnik July 29, 2015 at 11:27 am

      Yes! Let’s get rid of seat belt law, speed law, smoking law… And other “stupid” laws… 😀
      Freedom of choice? So, you’re “pro-choice”? For abortion?

      Freedom is NOT that you can do what ever you want. Freedom is you are SAFE from those they want to do what ever they want.

      • steve webb July 29, 2015 at 1:07 pm

        follow sheep follow,you have to be protected from yourself ? and yes Iam pro choice, people need to keep thier damn noses in thier own business

      • Chris Cockrum July 29, 2015 at 6:43 pm

        Get out of this country then. Move to China where a universal government tells you what’s right seeing as that’s what you NEED to survive. Hell I’ll even pay for your ticket as long as you don’t come back. Stop trying to change this beloved country, move to one that’s already the commy way that you wan it to be.

  19. Robert July 29, 2015 at 9:23 am

    I choose to NOT wear a helmet when I’m cruising around town on my Harley or taking in the sites. There is nothing like the feeling of freedom and the clarity of peripheral vision that riding without a helmet brings. I ALWAYS make my passenger wear a helmet in all circumstances. When riding on the highway or on roads above 45 mph I always put the helmet on. To each his/her own; that is if you state does not have a helmet law or has a partial law.

  20. Robert July 29, 2015 at 9:18 am

    What “opinion” did you expect the JP Cycles guy to have? Of course he’s advocating for helmets because he is trying to sell them. If he would have expressed the opposite opinion he would have been shooting himself in the foot business wise.

  21. Dan Hullinger July 29, 2015 at 8:34 am

    This is a touchy subject but I do have an opinion. Research has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that helmets save more lives than not wearing one….so yes, why would not wear one?…because you looker cooler without one?

    So should it be required? I say yes, because to not wear one is simply selfish. What about friends, family and first responders?…. Would you want to be the first on scene and be forced to see the mess caused by a skull striking pavement or another immovable object? Heath insurance costs are also driven up by all the needless head injuries.

    But for now, in most states it’s a choice….and I choose to wear one even though I don’t have to.

    Just my humble opinion.

    • HarleyM1 July 29, 2015 at 7:16 pm

      Bullshit! What research where, when, The are facts are what they are. Helmet users dye from broken necks more then head injuries. Get your facts straight. Wear a helmet if you want but don’t lay your Kumbaya on the rest of us. Let be up to the rider not the government or you. LET THOSE RIDE DESIDE!

  22. Gary July 29, 2015 at 8:08 am

    I choose to ride with a helmet. The key word is choice……It should be up to the rider to decide.

  23. CG July 29, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Wear a helmet!!

    • jeffrey swift July 29, 2015 at 8:13 am

      I’m going on 72 and live in Georgia was living in Florida I enjoyed riding around town without a helmet but always wore one on the Interstates due the high speeds and oblivious drivers in autos I’m for the right to chose

    • Mike Hall July 29, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      You’re an idiot!

  24. Aaron Botelho July 29, 2015 at 7:34 am

    The problem here is the way the data is misrepresented. They claim that 42% of fatalities weren’t wearing a helmet. So that means that 58% WERE WEARING A HELMET. So if we use their example, you’re less likely to die NOT wearing a helmet than if you are.

    The data that really needs to be presented for interpretation would be out of 100 accidents involving a riding wearing a helmet, how many were fatal? And also the same question regarding helmet less riders. Then you could actually compare the potential lethality of riding a motorcycle without a helmet. Last August, the 23rd to be exact, I t-boned a Buick and when I hit, was probably doing roughly 30 miles per hour. I was wearing a high quality wool Fedora and pair of RayBan aviator sunglasses. I more or less walked away from the accident and still wear both the hat and sunglasses. Although now I almost religiously wear a helmet.

    The problem is here, that helmets are protective, yes. But they are no end all, be all of safety, nor are the anyone’s savior. There are a specific type of motorcycle accident where helmets are beneficial, but not as many as you would think. Only accidents with high enough kinetic energy to damage the brain significantly but specifically low enough not to cause major trauma to the body are effectively handled by a helmet. Otherwise it’s just luck. Also, helmet laws don’t save lives at all because you can still ride in sandals, shorts, and no shirt in most states that have helmet laws.

    • Chris Cockrum July 29, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      Finally, someone using their brain. Thank you for being a true American that can see past bullshit statistics and doesn’t regurgitate everything they hear. I appreciate your ability to be an individual.

  25. Julian Haber July 29, 2015 at 7:33 am

    I think it should be a choice. I was recently in a motorcycle accident and got 14 broken ribs, fractured a couple vertebra in my back and lost part of my right leg. I was not wearing a helmet and had no damage to my head at all. I may have been lucky this time but I would still like to have the choice.

  26. Kevin Z July 29, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Helmet laws were and have been passed by states when the federal government tied states highway funding to helmet laws.

    In my opinion riders of legal age (18 in most states) should have the freedom of choice to decide helmet or no helmet. The federal standard to test helmets is only designed for low speed impacts. Our efforts as motorcyclists should be geared towards safer driving, not safer crashing.

  27. Dr. E. P. July 29, 2015 at 7:29 am

    I live in New York. Laws galore. I used to ride my HD with the obligatory “egg shell” helmet. Hey, it is part of the HD thing. Having been a biker for many years i never gave it a second thought-until the sunday morning when one of my Fire Rider Brothers was involved in a collision with one of his neighbors no less. Needless to say he probably would have not sustained the severe brain trauma he did had he been weraing a helmet that actually offered his head real protection. Just look at Gary Busey’s motorcycle fall and the result from hitting his head on a curb from a motionless position. No, i dont like having laws crammed down my throat, but protecting one ‘s brain i think is much more important than any politician ‘s stance. Ride Safe

  28. Paul Gassenheimer July 29, 2015 at 7:23 am

    I think this a great editorial…Little by little-chip by chip our freedom of choice is being melted away and has been going on for years…Seems the people who scream loud enough and long enough get the favorable results

    We have forgotten how to do this and remain complacent to let it continue by others…It will never ‘correct itself”….Paul

  29. Rick July 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I feel that if you are 21or older you should be able wear or not to wear a helmet the choice should be your own choice .

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