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I'm glad that I live in a state that has no helmet law. I believe it should my decision to wear a helmet or not. I'm 49 years old and have been riding for 30 years and I very seldom wear a helmet. I enjoy the feeling of freedom of riding without a mass of plastic wrapped around my head. When it gets hot it's nice not to have sweat running down in my eyes,not to mention what it does to my hair. If my only concern was safety I would be driving a car.
 

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I got it.



The debate, such as it is, seems to be comparing apples and oranges.



Your position, firmly and honestly held, boils down to the willingness to take suicidal risk as your own business. If the rider were the only person impacted that I could agree with that as an absolute. I do not think that is the case, but then my survey sample gives me a bias. In my experience not every rider who is hit, slides on a oil patch, or suddenly discovers someone in his way on a country road dies. Some of them live. Most with brain injury. It's hard to express how ugly that is for the person trashed and their family. Almost all of them end up on public assistance after exhausting what they thought was adequate insurance, bankrupting themselves and their families.



The argument for society imposing helmet laws is the same argument that applied in imposing seatbelt laws. A minimal intrusion on liberty saves lives (that's the selling point) and reduces the burden on you that injuries and deaths from collisions imposes on you. We do not let people die on the public street from lack of care anymore. We do not let gunshot victims bleed to death (thus the irony of vicious gangsters getting some of the best and most expensive treatment) we do not let the brain injured rot too badly. That common decency costs us. I'm happy to pay it; I would also like to keep the total bill down. (Yeah, I think the helmet laws are a necessary evil.)



The lack of comprehensive data for motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries makes most discussion, other than pointing out the gap, pretty useless. We need to go beyond the Hurt/USC study. Miles ridden by all riders (by survey), hours ridden (by survey), where ridden (by survey), tickets issued against all riders (what violation, age of rider; pullable from DMV records), total number of reported accidents/collisions (DMV records cross referenced to insurance records), helmet use (by coroner/ med examiner, paramedic or police report cross referenced to insurance reports), protective clothing use, deaths of rider, deaths of passengers, deaths of other motorists, deaths of pedestrians (don't laugh, those are messy), same sequence for severe disability, same sequence for plain injury. Blood alcool levels of all participants. Drug use by all participants. I suppose that would be a start.



Looking at large sets of data will show things that no one suspected. Life is like that. Neither you nor I can predict them. My position could turn out to be wrong, the cost per mile ridden to society may not be effected one way or another by helmet use. Or it could be so large that you, reluctantly concur with me. Who knows? Let's go find out. That is the only rational and decent thing to do.



Until then all we can individually do is what we individually think best. Ride carefully. It's good to have you around. :)



 

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inform yourself before open mouth

First of all, a study a few years ago regarding costs of society (auto deaths, smoking etc) Helmetless motorcyclists edged slightly above sexual harassment. However the study did not include (perhaps due to insufficient data) costs to society such as chemicals (or EPA mandated reform gas - i.e. benzene etc), excessive fat and cholesterol intake etc, etc... all of which COSTS money. Of course, you may perhaps call for government to mandate what you eat, drink and how much of it too -- in addition to prohibiting alcohol and tobacco (we've been there I believe). Not to mention full roll cage in your car, 5 point harness and helmet. Save some $$$ you know.

Nevertheless I checked out FED national data and if I recall, during 97-98 the death rate for helmetless and helmeted riders was exactly the same. People die from a vast amount injuries other than head. duh! The helmet is over rated, not because it is not effective, but because it is overrated as to it's capacity to save lives.

But science, logic and reason do not apply in politics, only perception.
 

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Another note in the continuing saga of overly powerful insurance companies and their satellite institute attempting to take away freedom of choice for American citizens.



Insurance companies are some of the most profitable organizations in our country, and continually attempt to negate risk to their bottom line. I many ways, they are worse than organized crime syndicates.
 

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inform me, please..

Is this study (about helmet wearing death rates vs. non-helmet wearing death rates) you cite available on the internet? Or in a public library? I've never heard of such a study being done, and if it has been done, I'd be really interested in reading it. Honestly, I really have my doubts about the death rate being exactly the same.
 

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I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the last

35 years of motorcycling if I hadn't been wearing a helmet when I crashed my first bike

about the time I thought I was a hotshot

motorcyclist!

All, they need is to raise insurance for all the

Harley riders.

After all, if they can pay thousands too much for their bike, they won't mind paying a couple

hundred extra for insurance!

That way all us poor slobs who really enjoy

motorcycling won't suffer and we can still ride

for the fun of it, not just to be seen acting cool!

Hey, I've got it! "Armor Plated Dew Rages"?
 

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re: inform me, please..

Yes it is in fact. I got the info some months ago and i do not recall where (should have bookmarked it). It was gov data, and was collected, if i recall. from CDC; but i am not too sure. But yes, there were two years (97-98) that nationwide, the deaths for helmet and helmetless riders were the same. Over all, for most years the deaths for helmetless is riders is slightly above those with helmet.
 

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I always thought of insurance companies as being very much like casinos. Yeah, individual players may win (get a claim paid), and sometimes win big, but, overall, the odds (rates) have been calculated so that the casino (insurance company) always ends up winning more that it's losing.



Being legally required to have insurance is like being legally required to play a few rounds at a casino.

 

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I disagree, for two reasons:

1) The government doesn't have the right to mandate helmet use, or seatbelt use, or what I eat, or how much I exercise, or whether I smoke or any other personal health choices.



2) The number of motorcyclists in the USA is relatively small, compared to the whole population. Even if a large percentage of them sustained head injuries of the type you describe, it would still pale (financially) in comparison to many other "burdens" on society. The numbers just aren't big enough to justify this kind of argument... same problem with the restrictions on motorcycle emissions.



Everyone is responsible for taking and mitigating their own risks. For some people, only cars that have been rated the highest in government crash tests are acceptable. For others, any car is ok, but a motorcycle is too much risk. For others, a motorcycle is ok, but only with a helmet. For others, a motorcycle without a helmet is ok, etc, etc, etc.



What the government *should* be doing is performing objective (i.e. unbiased) research and subsequently promoting education, so that people can try to understand what the real risks are and make their own decisions. The government should *NOT* be mandating what risks are and are not acceptable.
 

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The Toad
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Insurance companies are some of the most profitable organizations in our country, and continually attempt to negate risk to their bottom line. I many ways, they are worse than organized crime syndicates.

Hear hear. The IIHS has a long and sordid history of spreading misinformation to justify the charging astronomical insurance rates for certain bikes. They are merely a profit-motivated lobby organization, much like the Sierra Club, Southern Utah Wliderness Alliance and other equally degraded groups of out and out liars. Their existence is justified only by convincing insurance companies that the IIHS is saving them money. Any of their supposed studies should be dismissed out of hand. I've yet to see one that wasn't later to be shown to be fraudulent in one form or another.
 

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The Toad
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Probably the best way to deal with these kicked-in-the-head HD haters is to completely ignore them. Responding to them just incites the little darlings.
 

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I think you need to go back and carefully read McCueRC's post above.



1) You wearing a helmet would be your decision and your decision only if we lived in a country with absolutely no compassion, one that left motorcyclists bleeding on the side of the road instead of sending out an ambulance to save you, then supporting your healthcare after your insurance runs out, paying for in-home nursing care so you have someone to wipe your a** the rest of your life, etc.. We live in a civilized nation. We take care of our infants, elderly, and whoever else can't take care of themselves, no matter what the cause. Since the government pays for the bill, they have the right to, if our elected officials say so, enact laws that reduce the risk of injury, such as seat belts and air bags.



2) This is the worst argument. If this argument was valid, I'd litter all I wanted to. The small amount of garbage I throw into the ditch pales in comparison to the amount thrown in the ditches the country over. Would you pick up a quarter if you saw it on the sidewalk? I would, even though a quarter would hardly effect my financial situation. So why pick it up? Reward vs. Effort. The burden of wearing helmets is very small compared to the rewards, no matter how few people die in motorcycles compared to how many people die each year from other causes.



I do agree with your last paragraph. Too many laws have been written without the proper research. Certain things need no more research. Cigarettes cause cancer. Seat belts save lives. Aesbestos is bad for your lungs. Helmets are good for your head.
 

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re: inform me, please..

Did the study say how many of the people who lived were permanently disabled by their accident? Reminds me of the story of the married motorcycle couple who were going riding with only one helmet:

He: Here, honey, you wear the helmet. I want you to be safe.

She: Hell no, you wear it.

He: Don't you want to be safe?

She: I'm not wipin' your ass the rest of my life, you're wipin' mine!

If you find a link to the study, please post it.
 

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I'm seriously thinking about that!



I live in the suburbs and ride in rural areas, and just the other day I was off my bike plugging in my Gerbing's gloves when some extremely ugly mo-fo's pulled up beside me in a beater van and started just cussing me out like they were about to get out and kick my butt. I was just standing there!



I was alone, in the middle of nowhere, with no way to defend myself.



Another time I was on my totally streeted-out XR650L parked by the roadside and some guy came out with a gun in a holster and was asking me if I was planning to do some off-roading on his property. He was accusing but he didn't threaten me, but if he had, I was FUBAR.



I'd like to carry one of my handguns for an ounce of protection, but then I guess I be threatened with jail time from the police since we can't seem to get any kind of concealed carry law passed in Missouri.
 

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Re: Recent IIHS Report

I guess it didn't come out quite the way I intended. I certainly realize that the gov't frequently imposes all kinds of restrictions on our personal health choices. My point is that we shouldn't let them. They do it, but that does not mean that they have the right to do it.

It's been a while since I've actually read the Constitution word for word, but as I recall, the general jist of it was that the gov't should be taking care of things that the individual states or the individual people could not accomplish effectively... things like foreign relations and currency and the armed forces... not things like what you eat or how to take care of your children.

Of course, most of the helmet laws are at the state level, so the Constitution itself is only so relevant. But then, most of the state gov'ts had analogous charters... take care of things that the fed wasn't, but that were still beyong the means of local gov'ts or individual people. And so on with the local gov'ts.

But at no point was any level of US gov't chartered with telling you how to run your life on a day to day basis.
 

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The Toad
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The problem with argument number one is that that sort of reasoning opens the door for the government to regulate every single facet of your life from cradle to grave. There is nothing you can do that does not carry some form of risk and therefore the government, by that argument, can put cameras in your house to make sure you are behaving properly at all times. You'll be having a little speaker in the wall of your house telling you when to go to bed, etc. All in the name of "for your own good".





The Nazis gained their power mainly through calls for public safety. Myself, I don't wish to see the totalitarian state that do-gooders are trying to bring us.
 

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Hmmm... I'm not entirely sure where the disconnect is. I re-read McCueRC's post, and my response, but I'm not sure I entirely understand your response.



1) Compassion or no compassion is not the issue. It makes sense for communities to fund an ambulance service (and a police service, and firefighting service, etc), so we do it. I'm very happy to pay those taxes. But I don't think anybody should wiping my a** for the rest of my life if I'm a vegetable; I don't think that that is compassionate or civilized (and yes, I mean it, even as it applies to me... I have clauses in my will to back up that opinion). But my point was that the gov't does not have the right to tell me to wear a helmet (even though they do it, and things like it, all the time).



2) McCueRC said that helmets should be mandated because the healthcare costs associated with helmet-preventable injuries are a burden on society. My point was that that cost is miniscule compared to the healthcare cost burden of lots of things that the gov't allows you to do (like smoke and eat fatty foods, etc). Therefore his argument is invalid.



I was not trying to say that you or I should not wear a helmet, or that the effect of a helmet-preventable injury is of no consequence.



Indeed, I wear a helmet. Every single time I ride. And a good one, too. A 3yr old Shoei full-face (I'll be replacing it this spring, just for age). Bright red for visibility. And I wear it even when I ride in states that do not have laws requiring me to wear my helmet. And I wear my Hein Gericke leathers (jacket & pants), and my full-fingered Olympia gloves, and my very protective Alpinestars boots... every time I ride... even when it's really hot or otherwise inconvenient.



I'm a riding billboard for proper gear. And if you ask me, I'll be more than happy to tell you that you should choose to do the same, and why. I'll even take the time to help you pick out gear that's right for you, if you need that kind of assistance. And I refuse to let people ride on the back of my bike without proper gear. Etc, etc, etc.



But, if you ask me whether the gov't has the right to tell me that I have to wear this gear... the answer is a resounding NO!
 
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