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 Do you support mandatory helmet laws?
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don_hud
Advanced Member
1077 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Yamaha

1997 Virago XV1100

Posted - 11/03/2005 :  2:49 PM
I think that helmets laws can be considered a rights issue. But the real issue is where do you draw the line. What is an infringement of your right to freedom and what is a behavior that government has a right to regulate? Where that line should be drawn is something that everyone will probably never agree upon.

Generally laws are designed to protect the public from some type of damaging behavior. So how many people would have to be damaged for an activity to need to be regulated. It is difficult to know how many people might be damaged as a result of one person not wearing a protective helmet while riding a motorcycle. And where do you draw the line in determining what types of activities have an acceptable risk. Many activities that are legal have some risk of causing harm to one or more people. So which ones should be regulated by government and which not. Since motorcycles are operated on public roads shared by other motorists, shouldn’t the government have the right to regulate that activity? And operating a motorcycle is regulated just like any other motor vehicle. So, is wearing a safety helmet a part of operating a motorcycle that the government should regulate? Or, does it cross the line and infringe upon your individual freedoms? Not all laws are equally fair.

I think that if you can make a valid argument that not wearing a helmet could contribute to or cause an accident, harming one or more people, then government has every right to require that it be worn. If you can only argue that it is just another piece of safety equipment designed to protect the rider wearing it only, then it is difficult to argue for a requirement that everyone must wear one. Of course there can be many social implications resulting from injuries sustained as a result of riding a motorcycle without a helmet, so can many other activities have the same result.

The important thing is to separate the legal issue from the safety issue. It is one thing to argue for or against helmet laws, it is another to argue the wisdom of wearing safety equipment such as a helmet.

If you know a rider who does not wear a helmet, highly encourage them to use one for their own safety. Don’t argue with them if they should be required by law to wear one.
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subvetSSN606
Senior Member
418 Posts
[Mentor]


Ellettsville, IN
USA

Suzuki

800 Intruder

Posted - 11/03/2005 :  3:52 PM
Well summed up Don.
I especially lked your last line. The safety aspects are petty clear and well documented. The legal aspects are quite nebulous.

Tom
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SteveS
Male Advanced Member
1208 Posts
[Mentor]


Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Harley-Davidson

2018 Tri-Gliide

Posted - 11/03/2005 :  4:33 PM
quote:
Originally posted by nomad dan

quote:
Originally posted by plainsman

"all you damage is yourself" - not necessarily true. In many cases, the taxpayer winds up picking up at least part of the tab if long term head injury results.



That's true of car crashes with head trauma, and car drivers aren't required to wear a helmet based on the same logic. There are a lot of people with TBI's that happened in a car



Two wrongs don't make a right. Maybe car drivers should consider helmets. We have seat belts, now manditory in most places, and air bags, and better designed frames, front ends, etc. all to save $ and injury from car accidents. There are more limits to what can be engineered into a 2 wheeler that would offer the same protection. So helmets make way more sense.
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kiddal
Male Advanced Member
1561 Posts
[Mentor]


SE, Indiana
USA

Kawasaki

KLR650

Posted - 11/03/2005 :  6:21 PM
quote:
Originally posted by don_hud

What is an infringement of your right to freedom and what is a behavior that government has a right to regulate?

How can a helmet law violate a right to freedom when even riding a motorcyle is not a "right" in and of itself? It is a highly regulated privilege.

"Rights" don't come into play. It's simply standard legislative regulation that States clearly have the authority to exercise. Whether or not to mandate helmets is simply a political position.
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don_hud
Advanced Member
1077 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Yamaha

1997 Virago XV1100

Posted - 11/03/2005 :  10:16 PM
quote:

How can a helmet law violate a right to freedom when even riding a motorcyle is not a "right" in and of itself? It is a highly regulated privilege.

"Rights" don't come into play. It's simply standard legislative regulation that States clearly have the authority to exercise. Whether or not to mandate helmets is simply a political position.



Riding a motorcycle and wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle are two completely separate acts. The right or privilege to do one, does not automatically apply to the other.

What is a Right?
A just or legal claim or title, a power or possession, to which one has an established claim. Right refers to a legally, morally, or traditionally just claim.

People in a free society think that everything they do, they have a right to do. Many people consider it their right to decide whether to wear a helmet or not.

So again, I say, where do you draw the line between what you have the right to do in a free society and what is an activity that should be regulated by the government. I think that a valid parallel can be made between helmet laws and car seatbelt laws. Certainly if states can make it illegal to drive a car without wearing a seatbelt, they can make it illegal to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. But still, for the most part, all they are doing is regulating an activity that forces you to protect yourself. There are many laws that force you to protect yourself from doing harm to yourself, yet there are also many legal activities that you can do that could kill you.

Enough people have argued that it is their right to decide to wear a helmet, and many states have decided to repealed the mandatory helmet laws. So just the fact that a significant number of people have said that it is a right, makes it a right. I’m not sure that it I agree that it should be a right, but in our democratic society, the majority should rule.

As the situation stands now, with wearing a helmet being considered a right you can decide to exercise or not, should not cloud the safety issue of wearing a helmet.

Years ago groups were formed to fight against mandatory helmet laws, many of them arguing that helmets reduced visibility and wearing one was more dangerous than riding without a helmet. I don’t think that it would be easy to get those repels reversed. Arguing whether it is a right or not is a much more difficult point to prove than the safety aspects of wearing a helmet. So the argument whether wearing a helmet is a right or not is one that will probably never be decided. But it is difficult to argue against the safety value of wearing a helmet.
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kiddal
Male Advanced Member
1561 Posts
[Mentor]


SE, Indiana
USA

Kawasaki

KLR650

Posted - 11/04/2005 :  5:22 PM
quote:
Originally posted by don_hud

I’m not sure that it I agree that it should be a right, but in our democratic society, the majority should rule.

We were (smartly) formed as a Representative Republic to avoid the "tyranny of the majority".
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biggunbob
Male Standard Member
139 Posts


parma, OH
USA

Harley-Davidson

electraglide classic

Posted - 01/01/2008 :  6:18 PM
I need what little brains I have left, I always wear a helmet w/o the law requiring it.
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radan2
Male Advanced Member
1117 Posts
[Mentor]


Jacksonville, NC
USA

Moto Guzzi

2007 Breva V750 ie

Posted - 01/01/2008 :  8:37 PM
If the government can impose mandatory seat belt laws, mandatory child seat laws, mandatory regulations concerning safety equipment in cars and other vehicles, such as lights, brakes, etc., then the authority it uses for that is the same authority it uses to impose helmet laws. You can't have it both ways: either the government, who builds the roads and grants the privilege of using them, can regulate the way that privilege is to be used, or it can't.

Any government, including those that are far more dictatorial than ours, recognizes that even a totalitarian state can't regulate everything. There has to be a balance between the perceived value of the regulation and its cost to enforce in the face of public resistance.

I do not believe that mandatory helmet laws are so restrictive and intrusive that they should not be used. The social cost of lives or productivity lost to head trauma in motorcycle accidents has been judged by many states to be great enough to make the rule worthwhile.

I think there is actually a better way. Since we are a litigious and insurance-minded society, simply state, as a matter of law, that if a motorcyclist suffers head trauma in an accident in which he is not wearing a helmet, no matter who is at fault, his insurance coverage must pay the costs related to that head trauma. Other trauma or damage to the biker or his bike may be paid by the other motorist, if he or she is found to be at fault, but head trauma will only be paid by the other motorist if the biker is wearing a helmet that covers the area damaged by the trauma.

Then allow motorcycle insurance companies to vary rates based on helmet use.

I believe that the economic incentives would cause many people who are unwilling to follow the law to start using helmets as a matter of financial necessity.

Edited by - radan2 on 06/27/2008 1:32 PM
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radan2
Male Advanced Member
1117 Posts
[Mentor]


Jacksonville, NC
USA

Moto Guzzi

2007 Breva V750 ie

Posted - 01/01/2008 :  8:53 PM
quote:
Originally posted by subvetSSN606



Who then decides where the "stupidity" line lies?

You chose to live where hurricanes are likely... too bad, that was stupid!
You chose to live where mudslides are likely... too bad, that was stupid!
You chose to live where earthquakes are likely... too bad, that was stupid!
You chose to live where tornadoes are likely... too bad, that was stupid!

You chose to work for a company that wound up going bankrupt and your pension and benefits are gone... too bad, that was stupid!





Are all the above examples of stupidity? What area of this country is not subject to some kind of natural disaster? If not hurricanes, tornadoes. If not heat waves, blizzards. Or avalanches, or earthquakes or mudslides or dust storms or droughts. Every part of this country is subject to thunderstorms, and thunderstorms kill more people, in an average year, than any other form of natural disaster. So you can't be "smart" and live where there is no danger from natural disasters, because there is no such place. You can only be aware of the kinds of disasters most common in the are in which you live and take reasonable precautions.

In the last example, is a person who is unable to predict the future stupid? You work for a company that every public measure you could access shows to be healthy. Suddenly, hidden malfeasance is discovered, your company goes bankrupt, and your career is destroyed. I would not say you are stupid, unless prescience is the norm in this world. If it is, I am stupid, because I am not prescient.
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DMuns
Male Starting Member
2 Posts


Boulder, CO
USA

Kawasaki

ZR-7 (ZR750F2)

Posted - 01/04/2008 :  5:59 PM
May I summarize the talking points in very abbreviated form:
Yes, people should wear helmets while riding motorcycles.
No, the public should not have to pay for medical treatment or provide longterm care for those who don't wear helmets and suffer debilitating brain injury.
Yes, personal decision making and responsibility should be preserved as much as possible.

Here's an idea: Instead of mandating helmet usage, legislate instead that those persons who choose to not wear helmets and who suffer severe brain injury while riding a motorcycle/scooter will be presumed to have granted their permission and given directed care (living will) orders that their organs are to be harvested immediately and no long term care of any kind is to be permitted or attempted.
(We could say the same for those who don't wear seatbelts and suffer debilitating brain injury or multi-systems trauma while riding in a car).
(To be really daring, extend this to any person who fails to maintain motor vehicle medical insurance and is severely injured while operating a motor vehicle of any kind).

In each case the individual's right to chose is preserved and the public is absolved of any responsibility for the negative consequences stemming from those choices. The society might actually derive a benefit from the increase in organs available for transplant.

However, I do not see any possibility of the above being legislated. There are too many people who would oppose terminating medical care under any circumstances. There also are numerous ethical issues to be resolved.

Having seen far too many head injury patients and DOAs that would have been prevented if a helmet had been worn, I am in support of helmet laws.

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bridwell52
Male Senior Member
377 Posts


Pensacola, FL
USA

BMW

KGT

Posted - 01/05/2008 :  5:46 AM
Some of the people I ride with don't wear helmets. Some wear shorts and sandals. For two years I have harped about it and got just one to put on a helmet. The rest tell me to ride to your level of comfort and don't worry about mine. I gave up, except for little hints. "hey did you feel all that gravel in your face today? Na, I just closed my visor"
I care for these people and hope the day never comes when a 15mph accident becomes critical.
As far as mandating it, I have mixed feelings."Never ask government to do what you can do for yourself"
David
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Tomatododger
Male Starting Member
9 Posts


Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Honda

750 ACE

Posted - 01/07/2008 :  8:37 PM
There is a mandatory helmet law here in Ontario, Canada. I support it fully.

I've heard details from my paramedic buddies about injuries they've seen from riders who wore no helmets at all or just skull caps. I'm a newbie rider, and I know I won't look cool riding my cruiser this summer with a full face... but at least I'll have one if I face-plant.
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Dannytheman
Male Junior Member
43 Posts


Philly, PA
USA

(None)

Posted - 06/25/2008 :  4:49 PM
Personally, I don't care if you wear one or not! You do, that's fine, I don't, that's fine. Keep to your business. I have health insurance at work, no one has to help me with medical costs. My insurance is over paid and hefty.

I wear mine sometimes and sometimes I don't, like on 105 degree days. I have over 300,000 miles on bikes, I ride to work almost every day, even in the winter. You want to wear a helmet, go ahead. Please, please don't preach to me about it.

Seat belt laws are a joke, how many people get tickets for no seat belt? Really?
I think helmets in cars would save lives also, why is that never the answer? Seat Belts and air bags build a false sense of security to cagers. I think they drive more wildly than 20 years ago. Cell phones, Blackberries, Ipods, etc.... We have many more fish to fry than worrying about helmets.

I would be for MANDATORY Motorcycle Training. I would be for Mandatory Drivers license manuals with Motorcycle awareness built in.
I would be for more education and less legislation.

My opinion.. I respect yours, I just don't share it!!



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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 06/25/2008 :  5:48 PM
Danny, how much did you pay for the airbags in your car? And do you use your seat belts? Just curious. Oh yeah, one more thing, would you ride if you had no health insurance?
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rioguy
Ex-Member

Posted - 06/25/2008 :  6:07 PM
Danny,

Don't be too sure of your insurance at work. My wife used up $73,000 in benefits in one night. Fortunately, our policy has no limit. Luckily she had a helmet on or there wouldn't have been any medical bills.

But if you lose your job, as you will very quickly after being injured, you also lose the insurance unless you can afford high COBRA benefits. But that's ok, someone else will probably pay the medical for you.

You want us to stay out of your business with legislation, yet you are willing to legislate to me about mandatory training. Please don't preach to me about training. My normal routine for practice is much more intense than any training would be.


The whole issue became moot for me a couple of week's ago when I was one of the first on the scene of a crash where a helmetless Harley rider died. The side of his head against a flat rock.

Now, I'm exercising my freedom not to ride with people who don't wear helmets. I have pretty much given up waving to them, too.



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Dannytheman
Male Junior Member
43 Posts


Philly, PA
USA

(None)

Posted - 06/27/2008 :  9:46 AM
quote:
Originally posted by gymnast

Danny, how much did you pay for the airbags in your car? And do you use your seat belts? Just curious. Oh yeah, one more thing, would you ride if you had no health insurance?



Government mandates placed Air Bags in my car, and it costs me about 4000 dollars in additional charges in my car. Have one go off and see what it costs to get a new one installed.
I do use seat belts, yes. My choice, not because of the law.

I can't answer the health Insurance question. I have never NOT had it. Between my working straight for 35 years, supplimental insurance and great term life rates, I take care of me and the family first.
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Dannytheman
Male Junior Member
43 Posts


Philly, PA
USA

(None)

Posted - 06/27/2008 :  10:08 AM
quote:
Originally posted by rioguy

Danny,

Don't be too sure of your insurance at work. My wife used up $73,000 in benefits in one night. Fortunately, our policy has no limit. Luckily she had a helmet on or there wouldn't have been any medical bills.

But if you lose your job, as you will very quickly after being injured, you also lose the insurance unless you can afford high COBRA benefits. But that's ok, someone else will probably pay the medical for you.

You want us to stay out of your business with legislation, yet you are willing to legislate to me about mandatory training. Please don't preach to me about training. My normal routine for practice is much more intense than any training would be.


The whole issue became moot for me a couple of week's ago when I was one of the first on the scene of a crash where a helmetless Harley rider died. The side of his head against a flat rock.

Now, I'm exercising my freedom not to ride with people who don't wear helmets. I have pretty much given up waving to them, too.







Wow, how do I answer this one?

I'm sorry about your wife, I honestly hope it worked out OK. I'm sorry ablout the Harley Rider you came across dead on the road. I have come upon one of them also. Internal injuries for the one I found. (Basically his organs exploded, but his head was fine, helmeted and still dead)
I have a 20 million umbrella policy on top of my work insurance. It is a stacking type. But thanks for your concern. Oh, and when I get laid off, I will defer to my wifes insurance. She works full time also. CPA's, with her skills, are rarely out of work.

I am sorry that you and I will never ride together. I think we could have been great friends. How do you feel about blacks and hispanics? As long as they wear a helmet?

My legislature recommendations were specifically on training a rider to ride. Also, teaching a cager to know we are there and give us some room. (Not exactly placing a 2 pound bullet on their head!) Most of my experience shows me many of the accidents are alcohol,(I don't drink) cornering and preventive deaths. Training on scrubbing off speed, looking through turn where you want to go, and other basic lessons. Mandating that cagers look for us, and maybe not be on cell phones without hands free, or not texting would be another positive thing for all drivers, bikes and cages.

Maybe we will meet in New Jersey, Maryland or Virginia when I have my lid on. I look forward to meeting, and possibly riding with you then!!
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 06/27/2008 :  10:54 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Dannytheman

quote:
Originally posted by gymnast

Danny, how much did you pay for the airbags in your car? And do you use your seat belts? Just curious. Oh yeah, one more thing, would you ride if you had no health insurance?



Government mandates placed Air Bags in my car, and it costs me about 4000 dollars in additional charges in my car. Have one go off and see what it costs to get a new one installed.
I do use seat belts, yes. My choice, not because of the law.

I can't answer the health Insurance question. I have never NOT had it. Between my working straight for 35 years, supplimental insurance and great term life rates, I take care of me and the family first.



Danny, If you had no health insurance, would you still ride?
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rioguy
Ex-Member

Posted - 06/27/2008 :  11:04 AM
Danny,

I am coming to the conclusion the helmet issue is more a cultural issue than anything else. If I wanted to be totally safe, I'd give up riding. Oh, and I'd live in the basement as I have a phobia about meteorites.

Because it seems to be a cultural issue, I respect your right not to wear a helmet. It might surprise you to know I'm not in favor of helmet laws as there may be deeper issues. A person who chooses not to wear a helmet may focus more on avoiding a crash than one who feels invulnerable with great gear. Or they might ride less than I do and decrease the chances of an accident because of exposure.

Because of my beliefs, I generally don't ride on Saturday. I don't expect others to adopt my beliefs. It's just the way I am.

Oh well, this is a difficult subject I'm still working my way through. Maybe in a year, my opinion will be different. If I'm ever out your way, I'd be happy to stop by and see you.

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VodkaAndPickles
Male Advanced Member
589 Posts


Langhorne, PA
USA

Suzuki

Intruder 1500 LC

Posted - 06/27/2008 :  1:22 PM
quote:

I am sorry that you and I will never ride together. I think we could have been great friends. How do you feel about blacks and hispanics? As long as they wear a helmet?



What do blacks and hispanics have to do with anything?
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