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 Michigan Helmet Law Repealed
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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 04/14/2012 :  10:01 AM                       Like
Lots of bells and whistles on this "helmet law repeal":
A. Mandatory rider education
B. Mandatory minimum $20,000 medical coverage

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/...e-helmet-law

DataDan
Advanced Member
540 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Peer Review: 1

Posted - 04/14/2012 :  12:05 PM
I expect something similar to what happened in Pennsylvania after their repeal in 2003: Growth in registrations, along with an increase in deaths, but little change in the fatality rate per registered motorcycle.

Two other interesting effects were seen after the Florida repeal in 2000: Crashing became more dangerous--more deaths per crash, a predictable outcome. But it also became less likely--fewer crashes per registered motorcycle. The net result was an unchanged fatality rate per registration. If I find detailed data for Michigan like Florida publishes, I'll be following that aspect too.

The effect helmet law advocates expect after repeal--mass carnage--did not occur after the six repeals in the past 15 years (AR, FL, KY, LA, PA, TX). They assume that with or without a helmet law, the same riders will crash in the same ways, but with a helmet law all will be helmeted and less likely to be killed. But that's not what happens.

In fact, a helmet law has a significant effect on the riding population: Enacting one decreases the number of motorcyclists in a state--California registrations dropped sharply after enactment of an all-rider law in 1992. And repealing one increases the number of motorcyclists--the six repeal states saw registrations triple between 1994 and 2010 while registrations doubled in the 19 states (plus DC) that maintained all-rider laws.

My speculation is that being able to ride without a helmet attracts potential motorcyclists who wouldn't ride otherwise. But they aren't a high-risk group. Possibly older and not high-mileage riders--people who just cruise around town occasionally, adding little to the population risk.

Another prediction I'll make about Michigan is that any increase in deaths that occurs in the next few years will be attributed to helmet law repeal by helmet law advocates and the mass media. It's a state with a lot of year-to-year variation in motorcycle deaths (128, 109, 137 for 2008-2010), so a jump is sure to occur soon. And if registrations increase as I expect, that will tend to increase fatalities, though not necessarily due to increasing average risk in the population.
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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 04/14/2012 :  5:30 PM
SMARTER's efforts to prevent repeal of Michigan's helmet law cited several studies. http://www.smarter-usa.org/veto_repeal_appeals.htm
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RickRussellTX
Male Standard Member
165 Posts


Hawthorne, CA
USA

Honda

CN250

Posted - 04/15/2012 :  1:18 AM Follow poster on Twitter
quote:
Originally posted by DataDan

Two other interesting effects were seen after the Florida repeal in 2000: Crashing became more dangerous--more deaths per crash, a predictable outcome. But it also became less likely--fewer crashes per registered motorcycle. ...

The effect helmet law advocates expect after repeal--mass carnage--did not occur



I think the science res ipsa loquitur.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/art.../PMC1448295/

quote:
Florida's Motorcycle Helmet Law Repeal and Fatality Rates

On July 1 2000, the State of Florida exempted adult motorcyclist and moped riders from wearing helmets provided they have medical insurance of $10 000. Monthly time series of motorcycle occupant deaths are examined from 1/1994 to 12/2001. The interrupted time series analysis estimates a 48.6% increase in motorcycle occupant deaths the year after the law change. The impact estimate reduces to 38.2% and 21.3% when trends in travel miles and motorcycle registrations are controlled.

...

Since travel increased in Florida, the impact estimates based on the absolute number of deaths are probably overstated. Conversely, the estimates that correct for the motorcycle registration trend may understate the law?s impact. The large increase (19.6%) in Florida motorcycle registrations in 2001 suggests that changing the law may have stimulated interest in motorcycling and increased motorcycle registrations. Substantial increases in motorcycle registrations also occurred in Arkansas (47%), Louisiana (13%), and Texas (12%) the year after their helmet laws were weakened. The extent of such a law-induced effect is currently unknown. On the basis of registration and miles traveled, it is estimated that between 46 and 82 additional motorcyclists died in Florida the year after the helmet law changed.
In 2001, only 53% of Florida underage motorcyclists who died in crashes wore motorcycle helmets; for adults the figure was 39%. That is, the legal age restriction is barely effective and amounts to a de facto helmet law repeal.


I don't know if 46 to 82 people constitutes "massive carnage". 20% increase in deaths per registration and 38% increase in deaths per mile seems pretty serious to me.

If people want to frame it as a rights issue, I have absolutely no problem discussing it as a rights issue. But the assertion that mandatory helmets do not save lives -- either absolutely, per mile traveled, or per registration -- is unsupported by evidence.
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halsey
Male Senior Member
321 Posts


davison, mi
USA

Harley-Davidson

Road King

Posted - 04/15/2012 :  9:28 AM
Friday morning, after the news of the repeal hit the street, I did see many "rebels" cruising. Saturday while filling up, the guy on the other side of the pump told me, and I quote, "Lose that bucket brother, it sure is a whole different ride without it." I just looked at him.

Do what you want. But I suspect most of those folks giving the helmet a toss are just begging Darwin to do what Darwin does best: clean up the gene pool.
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Night Train
Male Advanced Member
1667 Posts
[Mentor]


Sydney, Nova Scotia
Canada

Harley-Davidson

99 Sportster XL 1200

Posted - 04/15/2012 :  2:13 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
quote:
Originally posted by halsey


Do what you want. But I suspect most of those folks giving the helmet a toss are just begging Darwin to do what Darwin does best: clean up the gene pool.



I've seen this comment, and others similar to it, a number of times and each time I do I get the feeling the person stating it needs a good slap upside the head. It is fine to have a good mindset when it comes to safety gear and riding habits but in my opinion, that is fine for those of us who choose to do so. It doesn't make us any better or any smarter than those that don't, and it certainly doesn't guarantee that we won't die on the road, even with all our safety gear.

In Canada, where helmet laws are universal, our fatality statistics don't vary from the overall stats of the US. Our helmeted fatalities are just as dead as those that die in States without helmet laws. I've known too many that have died over the years and all of them were wearing helmets.

It comes down to personal choice, and I would suppose to some that freedom of choice means more to them than life itself. For them it may be every bit as right as our feelings about wearing a helmet. I don't believe that makes them any less of a person or possessing any lesser quality gene pool than the rest of us.

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halsey
Male Senior Member
321 Posts


davison, mi
USA

Harley-Davidson

Road King

Posted - 04/15/2012 :  5:42 PM
I've seen this comment, and others similar to it, a number of times and each time I do I get the feeling the person stating it needs a good slap upside the head. It is fine to have a good mindset when it comes to safety gear and riding habits but in my opinion, that is fine for those of us who choose to do so. It doesn't make us any better or any smarter than those that don't, and it certainly doesn't guarantee that we won't die on the road, even with all our safety gear.

First, I would fair better from a slap upside the head wearing a helmet than the less protected man. Second, the joker was commenting on my safety attire. Now I am sure he could give me advice on how to push a beer keg with his front wheel, or have his "woman" chew a hot dog off a string whilst riding on the back of his ride, but when it comes to safety equipment he forfeits in the conversation as I was actually wearing mine.
Third, it isn't about being better than someone else. Smarter? Yep. The helmet law repeal is in my opinion folly at best. States rights and so on? Well better get rid of any laws that are imposed on the people when driving. No seat belts, mufflers, taillights and so on. Oh yeah, car seats are an infringement as well.

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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 04/15/2012 :  8:11 PM
Sometimes a helmet comes in handy when "things get out of hand". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96FlbMlBo0k
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Night Train
Male Advanced Member
1667 Posts
[Mentor]


Sydney, Nova Scotia
Canada

Harley-Davidson

99 Sportster XL 1200

Posted - 04/16/2012 :  3:59 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Halsey, you won't find me debating the virtues of safety gear. If I wasn't a strong supporter of it, I wouldn't be on this great site. My bone of contention was related to a solitary comment that had nothing to do with safety gear per se as much as it did with "attitude".

In the exchange at the pumps that you described, you took the other rider's comment as a personal affront to your safety gear and if your body language depicted your "attitude" I would suspect the other rider rode away with a negative attitude about you and your safety gear. Two negatives don't make a positive in any situation.

I want to be perfectly clear in stating that if my jurisdiction repealed their helmet law, I would not stop wearing my helmet or other gear. If confronted with a statement at the pumps by another rider as you were, I would be more inclined to reply with something along the lines of, "I hear ya man, but I've tried riding without my lid and I just didn't like it. But I do enjoy putting it on because I choose to as opposed to being legislated to. After all it is a matter of Freedom of Choice". That in no way comes across as condescending, or leaving him feeling that I think I'm superior to him in any way. Who knows, it may even plant a seed of thought somewhere.
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Nightwatchman
Male Standard Member
135 Posts


Littleton, CO
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750

Posted - 04/16/2012 :  2:54 PM
If I may put in my 2 cents, I think that helmet laws and seat belt laws are one in the same. I choose to wear a helmet on my ride because I want to. It is a personal choice and I believe that the same should be true with seat belts in a car. They essentially perform the same function. I often do not wear my seat belt when I drive. I know I can get away with this because of the fact that in Colorado, seat belts are not a primary offense (like a front license plate). You can't be pulled over for not wearing it, but you can have that tacked on as a secondary thing when pulled over for something else.

Semantics aside, I wish the governments of this country would just butt out of our personal choices.
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DataDan
Advanced Member
540 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Peer Review: 2

Posted - 04/16/2012 :  4:04 PM
quote:
Originally posted by RickRussellTX
I think the science res ipsa loquitur.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/art.../PMC1448295/

Correlation is not causation. While the spike in Florida motorcycle deaths in 2000 occurred at the same time as helmet law repeal, it wasn't necessarily caused by it.


Starting in the mid 1990s the US experienced a boom in motorcycling, with registrations increasing 7% a year for the next decade, ultimately doubling from 1998-2008. This obviously increases population risk due to growing numbers. But it also tends to increase average risk because the influx of novices decreases average experience in the population. As both Hurt and MAIDS found, rider inexperience is strongly correlated with crashing. So a year-over-year increase in motorcycle deaths during that time is to be expected, and even an increase in fatality rate per registration is predictable.

To test the hypothesis that helmet law repeal leads to more deaths as found in the NIH paper, their example of Florida can be compared to other states, because it was one of six that repealed all-rider helmet laws 1997-2003 (one, Louisiana, later reenacted an all-rider law). Did the other five states see similar increases? And what happened in the 19 states that maintained all-riders laws during that time?

Because registrations grew 50% more in repeal states than in the states that maintained helmet laws, a meaningful comparison must be based on registrations. So the rates referred to below are deaths per 100,000 registrations (mileage exposure by state isn't available). Repeal year is shown in parentheses.

  • Arkansas (1997). After helmet law repeal, motorcycle registrations soared, quadrupling in 10 years. But the fatality rate has generally declined, never revisiting the 1996 pre-repeal rate.

  • Florida (2000). Fatality rate did indeed spike sharply in 2000 as described in the NIH paper. However, half of those deaths came before the 7/1/2000 repeal. And the period they focused on, 1994-2001, includes the end of a long motorcycling slump in the state, in which both registrations and deaths were at long-term lows. Though the 2000 spike in deaths was sharp, it didn't continue beyond the time of the NIH study. The rate then dropped below the 1994 rate and was flat until it plummeted after the 2008 recession.

  • Kentucky (1998). Less affected by the US motorcycling boom than other states, Kentucky registrations grew only about 50% over the 10 years following repeal. However, deaths climbed sharply, quadrupling in the same period. If one is going to cherry-pick data to make a case against helmet law repeal, this is the place to go.

  • Louisiana (1999, reenacted 2004). Like Kentucky, a poster boy for maintaining an all-rider helmet law--with one big difference. Registration increase was modest, 60% in the 10 years after repeal, but deaths nearly tripled. However, reenactment of the helmet law in 2004 had no effect on deaths. In fact, the fatality rated climbed to a new high two years later.

  • Pennsylvania (2003). Helmet law repeal had no effect on fatality data. Registrations began to increase in the mid 1990s and continued smoothly upward. The fatality rate has been basically flat for 20 years.

  • Texas (1997). Repeal kicked off a surge in motorcycling, with registrations tripling between 1997 and 2007. In the years following repeal, but before the recession, the fatality rate increased by about 20%.


  • Repeal states combined. From 1996, the year before the AR and TX repeals, until 2008, registrations climbed 275%. The fatality rate increased by 25%.

  • Helmet law states combined. Over the same time period, registrations in the 19 states + DC that maintained all-rider laws, registrations grew by 180%. The fatality rate increased by 33%. Though the percentage difference in fatality rates differs depending on choice of begin/end years, the relationship is still the same: The fatality rate increased slightly more in the states that maintained all-rider helmet laws than in those that repealed them.

My conclusion is that repealing a helmet law can invigorate motorcycling in a state, encouraging more riders to take up the sport. But, in general, it does NOT seem to increase the fatality rate per registered motorcycle. I speculated about why that might be in an earlier post. A dynamic effect changes the population: Maybe it's the addition of lower risk riders who won't buy a motorcycle if they have to wear a helmet. Maybe existing riders who choose to ride unhelmeted are keenly aware of their vulnerability in the event of a crash and change their riding habits.


Now, a few readers may have cut straight to the concluding paragraph without following my reasoning. And, they might conclude: DATADAN IS A HELMET DENIER! Not even close. The evidence for the effectiveness of helmets in saving lives and reducing injuries is well established. For example, read the US DOT paper Motorcycle Helmet Effectiveness Revisited (PDF), which shows that helmets are 37% effective at preventing deaths. That is, for every 100 unhelmeted riders killed on motorcycles, 37 would have lived had they worn a helmet. I always ride with a helmet--not that I have a choice here in California--and I did even before our all-rider law was enacted in 1992.

Rather, the question addressed in this post ISN'T whether helmets work. It's a more subtle one: Can government justify an all-rider helmet law by claiming it will save the lives of those who choose to ride? I don't think it can.


Data used for this post is from NHTSA'S FARS database and the Federal Highway Administration.

Edited by - DataDan on 04/16/2012 5:38 PM
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halsey
Male Senior Member
321 Posts


davison, mi
USA

Harley-Davidson

Road King

Posted - 04/16/2012 :  5:18 PM
In states that enacted the free to do what you want statutes, what is the statistic on smashed eye sockets, busted jaws, crushed teeth and so on, vs a helmeted rider?

Nighttrain, I was not rude to the guy, I simply remained silent. Body language, well both hands were on the pump, I had my back to him, and I was slightly bent forward trying to top off the tank. Not sure what bad attitude through body language I could of given off.

I really am not concerned for a guy's feelings who knowingly runs down the road, without a helmet. If he wishes to become a possum's brunch, have at er'.

As far as registrations going up in helmet less states, that's odd. I have never heard anyone make mention of the fact they would buy a bike, "but, we got them stupid helmet laws". Must happen, which further solidifies my outlook in regards to Darwin.

Nighttrain, I am glad you clarified your stance on safety. Even though you and I disagree, I do respect you as a senior rider, and do enjoy your posts, and will continue to do so. Perhaps I should carry a business card, with this site's address on it, and tell folks to check it out, I don't have time to argue.
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Night Train
Male Advanced Member
1667 Posts
[Mentor]


Sydney, Nova Scotia
Canada

Harley-Davidson

99 Sportster XL 1200

Posted - 04/16/2012 :  5:45 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Halsey, we may disagree at times on some things, but that is natural in the normal course of events. Overall, we agree on most things and in particular all things safety. I believe I came up short in making the point I was trying to make so I will just rein in on that matter.

I like your thoughts on a business card with this Site address on it. I have some blank business cards, perhaps I'll just do that. Thanks for the idea.
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2082 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 04/16/2012 :  6:33 PM
quote:
Maybe existing riders who choose to ride unhelmeted are keenly aware of their vulnerability in the event of a crash and change their riding habits.
On other forums I have found this to be a familiar argument. The argument is, usually, that helmets give a false sense of confidence and encourages riding above ones skill level.

quote:
As far as registrations going up in helmet less states, that's odd. I have never heard anyone make mention of the fact they would buy a bike, "but, we got them stupid helmet laws".
I can see where it might be a deciding factor for those that are on the fence about riding. I can also see where it would project a level of safety that we know does not exist (see my first comment). I can also see where some might think that the "hassle" is not worth it as contrasted with just jumping on, hitting the starter, and going.

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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2263 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 04/17/2012 :  2:59 AM
quote:
Originally posted by halsey

Friday morning, after the news of the repeal hit the street, I did see many "rebels" cruising. Saturday while filling up, the guy on the other side of the pump told me, and I quote, "Lose that bucket brother, it sure is a whole different ride without it." I just looked at him.



That does seem a bit bold to me but I suspect he was just (in his mind) celebrating the freedom he perceives by the sudden change in law.
If I weren't too aggravated to speak nicely, I might have tried a light-hearted response like
" Oh,,, I've ridden without a helmet once or twice before but I choose not to."
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Aisak
Junior Member
27 Posts


Wayne, MI
USA

Harley-Davidson

Dyna Low Rider

Posted - 04/17/2012 :  3:26 PM
So far I've only been told once that I should ride free and lose the helmet because the law was repealed. I smiled and let the guy know that my wife, kids, and I all like the way god made my face and that I prefer to take the steps I can to keep it that way. I then wished him a good day and went about my business.

Being a resident of Michigan I do find it odd that in my car, which has had years of innovations making it safer, I am required to wear a seat belt but I can ride without a helmet.

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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2263 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 04/18/2012 :  1:43 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Aisak

So far I've only been told once that I should ride free and lose the helmet because the law was repealed. I smiled and let the guy know that my wife, kids, and I all like the way god made my face and that I prefer to take the steps I can to keep it that way. I then wished him a good day and went about my business.



Nice way to handle that situation.
I'm not going to tell a complete stranger anything about how he/she should gear up unless it comes up in converstaon of they ask me my feelings.
If it's a friend or family member ... ? I'll probably wrestle them to the ground until I can "help them into the gear".
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SkootchNC
Male Advanced Member
1063 Posts
[Mentor]


raleigh, north carolina
USA

Harley-Davidson

road glide

Posted - 04/18/2012 :  9:26 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Ed in Miami

My experience is that the guy who now rides sans helmet or with a shortie is not at all interested in me educating him about the virtues of a full-face helmet. However, this is the same guy who will tell you how ridiculous you look with your hi-viz yellow jacket. One guy sneered at me: "Who looks like you?!" He a cruiser guy who's really interested in his macho biker image. I don't think he's alone.



see now... THAT'S funny !!!!! , here he is... possibly thinking how much of a "rugged individual" he is.... while dressed up, like everyone else in his peer group... sneering at you... some one who is (to him) unique.

But you're right... talking safety equipment to some folks is a waste of your time...

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halsey
Male Senior Member
321 Posts


davison, mi
USA

Harley-Davidson

Road King

Posted - 04/18/2012 :  6:47 PM
The irony is that the freedom that the helmet less seek, could actually be the catalyst for a life of imprisonment. Painkillers, being bed ridden, or worse of all, becoming a parapalegic, would be the greatest loss of freedom I could imagine.
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AMJIce
Male Standard Member
123 Posts


Laguna Hills, CA
USA

Suzuki

DL650K9

Posted - 04/19/2012 :  1:01 PM
I think we need to be careful about inappropriately assigning motivation, despite the cultural (i.e., riding preferences) differences we may have; I know that most Harley riders I see never wave to me, an adventure-tourer rider, but that doesn't mean I think all of them are idiots or have some nefarious motives.

I own a firearm and am very passionate about defending those rights but I do not ascribe malice to non-gun owners because I believe in my superiority - or, from a more apt analogy, I am more safe against crime because dialing 911 gets the police to me in minutes, "when seconds count," as the cliche goes; rather, I take the opportunity to educate and when they are not reasonable about it, I bid them a good day, knowing that a salutary benefit that they themselves may be ignorant about is that they are safer when other people around them, unbeknownst to them, are armed.

I believe I am safer when I am ATGATT and I ignore disdainful looks from those riders who don't believe as I do but I no longer consider them inferior. We are all brother- and sister-riders who already have our hands full from cagers who look upon us "future donors."

Do we really need to alienate our fellow riders and exacerbate an already adversarial attitude with other drivers and riders?

I also agree that this is a matter of choice and find the counter-argument that blurs the distinction of choice and safety: I happen to agree that wearing a seat belt is a choice but find the counterpoint that brake lights should be done away with to be disingenuous. I support the right of someone to make an informed choice but it should not impact my right or safety. Being able to see the other driver in front me must supersede their choice to remove brake lights - just like the freedom of speech ends at that point that they can yell "fire in a crowded theater."

Edited by - AMJIce on 04/19/2012 1:20 PM
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DataDan
Advanced Member
540 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Peer Review: 2

Posted - 04/19/2012 :  2:24 PM
quote:
Originally posted by halsey

The irony is that the freedom that the helmet less seek, could actually be the catalyst for a life of imprisonment. Painkillers, being bed ridden, or worse of all, becoming a parapalegic, would be the greatest loss of freedom I could imagine.

Amputations and spinal cord injuries that might confine a rider to a wheelchair for the rest of his life are not prevented by helmets. And even a helmeted head impact can exceed the energy a helmet can protect the rider from. Fall from the motorcycle and hit the pavement--the impact surface in more than 40% of head injuries according to Hurt (p211)--and a helmet can do an excellent job protecting the rider. But hit a vehicle or a vertical surface such as a post, and the helmet may not save you. Survival and the severity of brain injury then depend on speed and angle of impact--the latter simply a matter of luck.

That's not to devalue helmets. They do a great job at what they're designed to do--which is to protect your head in most crash impacts.

However, your smug attitude about those who choose to ride unhelmeted suggests that you fail to perceive the risk you're subjecting yourself to merely by riding a motorcycle. Your cracks about Darwin and unhelmeted riders are nothing compared to the Darwin cracks you can read in a typical newsmedia website when cagers comment on a motorcycle crash. And looking at the statistics, they have a much stronger case than does a motorcyclist commenting on unhelmeted riders. A helmet reduces a rider's chance of dying in a crash by 37% (see study linked in an earlier post). But cocooned in an impact-absorbing steel cage with a seatbelt, airbag and soft exposed surfaces, the chance of dying in a crash is reduced by 96%. Who's the idiot now?
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