Monday, September 21, 2009

helmet laws suck !

Motorcycle helmets are a good idea. The mandatory use of said helmets is a bad idea.

Having ridden motorcycles most of my adult life, I am finding it frustrating here in Tennessee wearing a helmet. Yes I know I SHOULD wear one, but isn't that my decision?

I am way past 21 years. At what point am I considered capable of making those tough decisions? Is it the governments job to protect me from myself? I have never requested, nor do I feel the need for such protection from myself.

I really like the feel of the wind in my face and hair. The helmet really restricts that feeling.


Senorita said...

Yeah, I suppose it should be your choice. I don't like it when the govt feels the need to regulate our lives. I guess if you are okay with mopping up the highway with your brain, that is your decision. Personally I think risking death or being a vegetable the rest of my life just so I can feel the breeze through my hair is stupid. But that is just me. My father recently was in an accident with his Harley and was hit by a truck and broke his ribs. But he was wearing a helmet and has fully recovered.

But I am pretty sure that insurance companies pushed to get helmet laws passed so there would be less payouts.

I do agree that it should be your decision though after you turn 18.

Fireblossom said...

I expect that there are reasons for such laws which go deeper than what my brain is aware of, but my personal point of view is that, yes, a person should be able to decide for themselves. I don't guess that the people who make these laws ride.

Thank you, mac, for the exceptionally nice comment at my Word Garden.

Tit for Tat said...

I guess if you look at it from a financial perspective, you may see why it makes sense. If you have no insurance, who's gonna help put humpty dumpty back together again. You guessed it. Your fellow taxpayer. ;)

Anonymous said...

This is actually a pretty tought question Mac. I like your brain, for what it's worth, but it's your brain.

Couldn't we make a correlation to seatbelt laws though?

(back in a few).

mac said...

Very good points, all.

It is however my right to be foolish. If my brain goes splat (trust me, it's no great loss ;-), it's still my brain.

As to the correlation wuth seatbelt laws, Yes, I feel they too are unconstitutional. It is, after all, my head going through the windsheild.

Where does the forced safety stop? Should we be required to wear crash suits as well? Why not a helmet in the car, my head might still hit the wheel?

Simply put, I believe no law is necessary to protect me from myself.

Asylum Seeker said...

I agree with oneblood's comparison, and agree with mac's contempt for both. Here are the only situations that I think that mandatory safety should be enforced:
1. When your personal lack of safety may bring harm to others if something goes awry.
2. When you are expected to ensure the safety of others that can't be expected to do so themselves (i.e. invalids, children).

That's pretty much it. But, funny enough, neither of those apply to helmet laws (if you are in a situation where the helmet becomes relevant, you are pretty much done with operating the motorcycle for the time being). But both CAN apply to seatbelt laws (even though I truly do hate them). This is because seatbelts stop you from being jarred, jostled, knocked out, or ejected during an abrupt impact of the vehicle, so if you are the driver and the vehicle is still moving, you are putting other people on the road and in your car in danger by taking the risk of not wearing the seatbelt to prevent you from losing control of the vehicle during such a situation. And, of course, it is somewhat negligent to put your children at risk, but I acknowledge that government regulation of how one raises their children is a bit of a touchy issue outside of the realm of obvious neglect and abuse.

But, yeah, I do think that, when possible, we should be free to make decisions that may be dangerous especially if they cause no harm, and I think going helmet free would be a good case (assuming you have another method of keeping bugs out of your eyes, that is!).

Senorita said...

Mac, I agree with you for the most part. I like to think that safety shouldn't be forced on us like that.

However, you are arguing on a slippery slope. The govt probably isn't going to make us wear crash suits or helmets in cars.

I am all for adults not wearing their helmets if that is what they want and it doesn't affect someone else. But in an accident, there are usually at least two parties involved. Someone besides yourself is usually affected.

Your accident and serious head injuries will become someone else's problem whether it is: Your insurance company, the other party's insurance company or the hospital that treats you and gets stiffed if you don't have insurance to pay for your injuries.
All these parties are trying to minimize risk, because when you get hurt, someone will have to pay, as the law allows the person with the deepest pockets to be pursued. Why should they have to pay for something that could've been easily been prevented by simply wearing a helmet ? There are injuries that you just can't avoid, and there are injuries that are avoidable for the most part. Getting killed or being in a coma are injuries that could be prevented by simply wearing a helmet.

Anonymous said...

Asylum and Rita pretty much got it. Legality as far as your capacity to harm, or something that lessens your capability to care for dependents...other than that it seems a liberties issue (albeit small).

mac said...

I worry about the accuracy of that claim, Seniorita.

The NHSTA says there were 4253 motorcycle deaths in 2005. There were 4 million motorcycles registered in the same time period. The fatality rate is quite low when viewed at that rate, less than 1/10%.

I'm also not convinced the helmet does not lead to an increase in neck injuries as well. Pick your poison, broken neck or scrambled brains?

JefFlyingV said...

Sorry Mac that I have to disagree with you. Cruising at 60 doesn't really matter when you wear a helmet for preventing injuries. But it is necessary when cruising on city streets then the helmet is necessary to prevent head injuries. If the QB from the steelers had been wearing a helmet a couple of years ago...

Senorita said...

Mac, you are probably right. I don't ride motorcycles and because of that, I don't keep up with the statistics.

However, this hits a little close to home for me. I am thankful to the helmet as my father is still alive and survived his accident. He has been in motorcycle accidents before as well.

My roommate's brother was killed in a motorcycle accident because he didn't wear a helmet.

You say it's your decision to risk your life like that, and I agree with most of that statement. Maybe you are willing to risk an injury, or maybe death doesn't scare you. However I am sure your children love you very much and want you around. And because of that, it isn't all about you anymore.

Also, if you ever ended up banged up and in the hospital I doubt you would just shrug it off like you are doing here. Or maybe you've been down that road before. And if you have, then I apologize.

Just because the fatality rate is low doesn't mean it can't happen to you. And I wonder out of that number of deaths, how many weren't wearing their helmets.

Anyway, I will step down from my soapbox as I am not looking to be rude or start something. I just had to say something because the helmet helped keep my father alive and I appreciate them.

JefFlyingV said...

The helmet saved me a couple of times when birds and bats bounced off the helmet when I was traveling over 60 mph.

mac said...

Seniorita, don't worry about "starting" anything. I won't be upset in the least if we differ on opinions on this subject.

I'm glad your Dad is OK :-)

I still don't like the damned things !

I suppose we should outlaw things that are a much more serious health hazzard too? Smoking kills way more than no helmet. Drinking kills more too. Influenza kills more, let's make those vaccinations mandatory. Heck, if your sick in general, let's mandate the medication. No more fat guys, that shit kills more than anything.

Tit for Tat said...

Jetflying was right about objects hitting you without a helmet. That would make you like a speeding bullet, ready to kill someone else. The issue isnt you, its what damage can you do to others. We do mandate alcohol and driving, smoking around others. Sure you may be fat, but so long as you dont sit on me, we're ok. ;)

mac said...

Well, the fat one was an isurance arguement, John.

As to becoming a projectile, I believe a helmet would increase the damage one might do to a bystander. 60% of all helmets manufactured since 1994 FAILED testing.

I agree wearing helmets saves the payout for an insurance company in the event of an accident. But, when is passing a law to help such a massively profitable business
make MORE money, at the expense of our personal liberties, a good thing?

I quess I need to borrow from Ben Franklin here - "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

The Lion said...

For adults, it ought to be a choice (same with seatbelts). You are moronic for not using them, but it is up to you to choose - or it should be. However, for children it needs to be mandatory. A child is not able to make a good choice about whether their comfort is worth their safety.

Oh, and other such folk that cannot decide for themselves. They need to be protected as well.

Mac, just one correction. It is not, in fact, your right to be foolish. You have 20some rights and not one of them is "foolish behavior" :)

dAAve said...

Thanks for dropping by and I see nothing at all wrong with being an atheist or agnostic. Whatever works for you.

The helmet issue will become more of an issue with government-run healthcare. The argument will (undoubtedly) be this ... Why should the govt. have to foot the bill for your injuries when you decided not to wear a helmet?
Stay tuned.

rita said...

Personally I feel there are too many damn petty laws, but thats the price for living in a complex society. It ain't gonna get any better either. On some level personal liberties must yield to the common good. On the other hand individualism & autonomy are so important for maintaining those personal liberties that we value so much.
Dave, we already have government run healthcare... medicare, medicaid, SSI, Veterans administration, etc...

The Lion said...

dAAve, do me a favor. First, realize that we already have government run health care (Medicare, Medicaid and military care). Next, realize that health care reform will not mean MORE government run health care. It will be expanded public programs in addition to the private programs we already have.

Finally, realize that the government already pays for people who don't wear helmets and get hurt. If they are hurt and have no insurance and no means to pay the bill, guess who pays? Taxpayers.

JefFlyingV said...

Mac, be safe. Sometime I would like to ride with you and buy you a cup of coffee.

Stacy S. said...

Wear your helmet! :-)(nuff said)

mac said...

but the bike is beautiful, isn't she ?