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Helmet Laws Suck

30118 Views 113 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  Kenneth_Moore
Suggesting that riding without a helmet is a good idea is, in most circles, about as popular as proposing a “Crack for Kids” program at the local School Board meeting. People get pretty agitated, and tend to think you’re out to undermine the very foundation of society. Regardless of that, I think riding without a helmet can be worth the risk, and I want to say so. If your mind is made up, you might as well skip the rest of this rant and move on. If you want to talk about it, I’d enjoy hearing your opinions.

I literally grew up wearing helmets. They were mandatory in Florida long before I could ride a motorcycle, legally or otherwise. The first bike I rode was a Honda 150 back in 1968; I used to borrow it from a friend and ride it around the neighborhood at the age of 12. I always borrowed the guy’s helmet too. About 4 years later I got my first tickets on two wheels when I borrowed a guy’s moped and rode it down a dirt road at a park. The cop decided to teach me a lesson and wrote me for no helmet, no license plate, no turn signals, and no registration. That incident clearly set the stage for my future relationship with the Florida DMV, but that’s another rant.

Not long after that incident, I got my first real bike, a Yamaha RD-350 in black and orange. The guy I bought it from gave me the standard helmet of the day, open front with the three snaps across the top to secure a face shield. I think it was purple with metal flake. I bought this goofy bubble-shaped hard plastic shield in yellow, which for some reason I thought was really cool. Not long after that, I got to borrow my friends Bell full-face helmet (back in those days Bell was synonymous with full-faced helmets, at least with the guys I hung out with) and from that point on, that’s what I wore. Eventually I settled on Shoei, and always got white ones to try to keep the heat down. And, in fact, when I do wear a helmet these days, that’s what I still wear.

As the years went by, I was peripherally aware of ABATE, the nationwide anti-helmet law organization. Originally their initials stood for “A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments,” but once the 70’s were over they toned it down to “American Bikers Aimed Toward Education.” Or something like that depending on what state you're in. They had fund raising events, lobbied the Legislature and Governor, and had an annual ride to Tallahassee to try to get the helmet law repealed, or at least modified. Back in the summer of 2000, they finally succeeded. The law wasn’t repealed, but it was changed to allow riders over 21 to ride without a helmet as long as they had a special $10,000 medical insurance policy to cover the cost of stuffing their brains back in their heads after an accident. Two interesting notes here: nobody could find any insurance company that offered this policy, and nobody could clearly explain what the heck this caveat really meant, so de-facto, the clause was meaningless. The other interesting side note is ABATE. Not long after the law was passed, I met a member handing out flyers for another fund raiser at one of the local motorcycle parts stores. When I asked what the heck they were collecting money for since they’d won, she looked confused and said: “well, they may change their minds!” Frankly, I think she was simply proving the “Iron Law of Oligarchy,” which essentially states that no matter what an organization is formed for initially; eventually its purpose becomes its own continuation, growth, and the aggrandizement of its leadership.

When the new law was announced, I said to myself and others that I’d never ride without a helmet. I reasoned that it would be pointlessly risky, and I didn’t want to end up a vegetable, disfigured, or dead. But it didn’t take too long before “it” happened. I tasted the forbidden fruit. I’ve forgotten exactly when, where, or why I wound up riding without a helmet, but I did. I loved it. I didn't want to wear a helmet any more.

I decided to try a small helmet instead of a full-face one to see if I could get the same feeling I had with no helmet. It was better, but still not the same. The only downside I found was the rain. I cannot ride without a helmet and face shield in the rain, it just hurts too much. I’ve always worn earplugs when I ride, so the wind noise without a helmet is manageable.

I don’t always ride without a helmet. In addition to rainy conditions, I usually wear a helmet during commuting hours, long trips at high speeds, and when it’s cold out. But last night I took a ride under the stars without, and I will say this: for me, that ride without the helmet was far more enjoyable than it would have been with. I can’t explain it, any more than I can explain to a cager why I take the risks of riding a motorcycle at all, versus just getting in the car. And, as I rode along last night, I decided to write this and share my thoughts.

So, here it is: I suggest that if you ever get the chance, take off your helmet and give it a try. If you’ve never done it, you might be surprised. And if you splatter your brains all over the highway, don’t blame me. It is, after all, just a suggestion. To paraphrase Robert A. Heinlein, “a zest for living requires a willingness to die.”

PS: I suspect my fun will end soon. I can’t imagine this society of ours allowing this type of individual choice for too much longer. Frankly, I was stunned when the law was repealed. I'm sure the Feds will link mandatory helmet laws to highway funding or something.
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Ditto

Well, hopefully it's never your time to collect. While I don't like giving away my money to a system that I can't affect, I do believe that social programs are necessary to maintain a civilized nation. If you think there are crime problems now, see what happens when there's no security net for people who loose their jobs, homes, family, etc. Is the system abused? Of course. Is the system run effectively and efficiently? Highly unlikely. Can it be better? Absolutely. But it is necessary. And hopefully you'll never need to get your turn to use it.
A willingness to assist others less fortunate than ourselves is a foundation of civilization, and a key differentiator between mankind and the animal kingdom. Oops, sorry. That was political.
Well, hopefully it's never your time to collect. While I don't like giving away my money to a system that I can't affect, I do believe that social programs are necessary to maintain a civilized nation. If you think there are crime problems now, see what happens when there's no security net for people who loose their jobs, homes, family, etc. Is the system abused? Of course. Is the system run effectively and efficiently? Highly unlikely. Can it be better? Absolutely. But it is necessary. And hopefully you'll never need to get your turn to use it.
Well, people are always worried sick about those helmetless riders costing them money, while they ignore all the drug addicts, teen pregos, welfare queens, etc. I'm sick of THOSE people. All the Gubment does is figure out ways to give them more money. I just heard the Gubment wants to set up a fund to bail all the people that are getting forclosed because they (of course) bought houses they couldn't afford. I think I need ot quit working and get on the gravy train.
How about other forms of social responsibility. So you aren't for Aid to Dependent children, welfare, unemployment paychecks, food stamp, etc.? You are an 'everybody pay their own way' guy? I'm all for it. Those programs cost us a hell of a lot more than injured motorcyclists. I never collected a dime on ANY social program, but I sure as hell paid a hell of a lot of money into them. When is it my time to collect?
The ONLY socialize system I am in favor of is SCHIP. BUT- there needs to be a standard to live by. The Family must make NO more than $40k combined to qualify for Childrens Health Assistance and the system should not be FREE. You should have to pay a minimum premium and Co-pays. When I was poorer (than now) my daughter was in the PeachCare system in GA. I paid $99 a year and $10 Co-pays. I got the service until my income raise back up to a level where I could afford private coverage again and cancelled the State policy. They help long enough for my family to find more income and better (than the state) coverage. No abuse of the system. I asked for nothing free. I paid in, they supplied a service and I dropped out as soon as I could (2 yrs). You don't pay taxes to be taken care of by the Gov't. You pay them to run the Gov't. Do I think food stamps, SCHIP and other welfare programs work? Yes and No- It could work better if we didn't live in a society that abuses the very system. Umemployment, Food Stamps and other programs should have a six month window. After that you should have to re-apply for the aide. If you make it make it harder to stay in the system less people will abuse it.
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A willingness to assist others less fortunate than ourselves is a foundation of civilization, and a key differentiator between mankind and the animal kingdom. Oops, sorry. That was political.
I need a few bucks for this month's mortgage for the house I couldn't afford, and a few more for the kids I had out of wedlock. Oh yeah, maybe throw in a few more for some drug treatments I need. One other thing. I will need the same from you every month. I'm sure you will be happy to assist. Sometimes even the animals are correct. ;-)
Kenneth- The term "Less Fortunate" is a joke. There are very few cases were this should apply, if at all. You, me and everyone here make our own way. If a person grows up to be "Less Fortunate" they did not make the choices in life to lead to a life that they are happy with. Is that Less Fortunate or stupidity? I've spend most of my life making very little money because of past mistakes in my steps of life. I'm not Less Fortunate. I was irresponsible (or stupid). Now, I'm 41 and have had ACE for 8yrs. I'm less irresposible now. I made a decision to go back to school (at 30) and get my insurance license. I'm not at the stage where I can say I'm well off, but I'm WAY better off than a decade ago. Less Fortunate wasn't something I depended on and NO ONE else should, for that matter.
Kenneth- The term "Less Fortunate" is a joke. There are very few cases were this should apply, if at all. You, me and everyone here make our own way. If a person grows up to be "Less Fortunate" they did not make the choices in life to lead to a life that they are happy with. Is that Less Fortunate or stupidity? I've spend most of my life making very little money because of past mistakes in my steps of life. I'm not Less Fortunate. I was irresponsible (or stupid). Now, I'm 41 and have had ACE for 8yrs. I'm less irresposible now. I made a decision to go back to school (at 30) and get my insurance license. I'm not at the stage where I can say I'm well off, but I'm WAY better off than a decade ago. Less Fortunate wasn't something I depended on and NO ONE else should, for that matter.
No one? Surely you don't mean that not a single person has been put into positions of need by forces outside of there control. What about the people who lost everything in disasters like Katrina? Hard working homeowners who all of a sudden had no home, no job, and a family to take care of. What about the middle class family where mom stays home to take care of the kids (only 2) so has no "career" and her husband all of a sudden dies? Now she has no income and a family to take of, all by herself. I won't even suggest that he died of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident because he wasn't wearing a helmet...

I realize this isn't what you meant, but my point is that there are people - and probably lots of them - who truly do need assistance for a time, and not because they're lazy or stupid.
No one? Surely you don't mean that not a single person has been put into positions of need by forces outside of there control. What about the people who lost everything in disasters like Katrina? Hard working homeowners who all of a sudden had no home, no job, and a family to take care of. What about the middle class family where mom stays home to take care of the kids (only 2) so has no "career" and her husband all of a sudden dies? Now she has no income and a family to take of, all by herself. I won't even suggest that he died of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident because he wasn't wearing a helmet...

I realize this isn't what you meant, but my point is that there are people - and probably lots of them - who truly do need assistance for a time, and not because they're lazy or stupid.
Natural Disater is not an excuse for "sponging" tax payer money. More waist happend with that (Katrina) than any other disaster (9-11 included) in US history. As for the family referrence: If Dad (or Mom) is a dumb ass, uneducated or will only work a part time job- it is all still no excuse for abuse. You always have a fall-back plan. The system should only be there for temporary help. That's it. It's not my job or anyone elses to make sure tax payer money helps people for extended amounts of time. Katrina victims should have bucked up and started over. They whined instead. If this same Hurricane happened in the '30s people would have picked up and moved on. We (compassionate people) decided to let our gov't throw millions of tax-payer monies at this situation and it was abused. Do Floridians do this- not on that scale (ask Kenneth Moore, he's from there). Step-up, help yourself or loose out. That cut and dry. Sorry this all sounds so mean but after 10yrs (before my insurance career) of being a bail bondsman and bounty hunter (no- it's not like DOG) you take no on compassion for the truly inept. I had to deal with ignorance for too long in that job. We're surrounded by the un/under-educated (thank gov't schools) and they think we owe them- SCREW THEM. Make your own way or get out of the way.
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Jeez you're mean....

The ONLY socialize system I am in favor of is SCHIP. BUT- there needs to be a standard to live by. The Family must make NO more than $40k combined to qualify for Childrens Health Assistance and the system should not be FREE. You should have to pay a minimum premium and Co-pays. When I was poorer (than now) my daughter was in the PeachCare system in GA. I paid $99 a year and $10 Co-pays. I got the service until my income raise back up to a level where I could afford private coverage again and cancelled the State policy. They help long enough for my family to find more income and better (than the state) coverage. No abuse of the system. I asked for nothing free. I paid in, they supplied a service and I dropped out as soon as I could (2 yrs). You don't pay taxes to be taken care of by the Gov't. You pay them to run the Gov't. Do I think food stamps, SCHIP and other welfare programs work? Yes and No- It could work better if we didn't live in a society that abuses the very system. Umemployment, Food Stamps and other programs should have a six month window. After that you should have to re-apply for the aide. If you make it make it harder to stay in the system less people will abuse it.
...the next thing we know you'll be recommending that people who actually work for a living actually deserve a better life than people who won't. Then where would we be? How would that army of otherwise unemployable bureaucrats survive without large masses of losers?
I wear helmets. Helmets good. WTF does this have to do with helmets.
I need a few bucks for this month's mortgage for the house I couldn't afford, and a few more for the kids I had out of wedlock. Oh yeah, maybe throw in a few more for some drug treatments I need. One other thing. I will need the same from you every month. I'm sure you will be happy to assist. Sometimes even the animals are correct. ;-)
I already do, every time I pay taxes. And I don't have a problem with that, because I'd prefer not to live in a nation filled with poverty, disease, and dispair.
I already do, every time I pay taxes. And I don't have a problem with that, because I'd prefer not to live in a nation filled with poverty, disease, and dispair.
You are right. You'd rather live in a nation filled with the lazy, inept, and wasteful. One will surely lead to the other. More takers every day and no amount of money thrown at the problem will fix that.
Natural Disater is not an excuse for "sponging" tax payer money. More waist happend with that (Katrina) than any other disaster (9-11 included) in US history. As for the family referrence: If Dad (or Mom) is a dumb ass, uneducated or will only work a part time job- it is all still no excuse for abuse. You always have a fall-back plan. The system should only be there for temporary help. That's it. It's not my job or anyone elses to make sure tax payer money helps people for extended amounts of time. Katrina victims should have bucked up and started over. They whined instead. If this same Hurricane happened in the '30s people would have picked up and moved on. We (compassionate people) decided to let our gov't throw millions of tax-payer monies at this situation and it was abused. Do Floridians do this- not on that scale (ask Kenneth Moore, he's from there). Step-up, help yourself or loose out. That cut and dry. Sorry this all sounds so mean but after 10yrs (before my insurance career) of being a bail bondsman and bounty hunter (no- it's not like DOG) you take no on compassion for the truly inept. I had to deal with ignorance for too long in that job. We're surrounded by the un/under-educated (thank gov't schools) and they think we owe them- SCREW THEM. Make your own way or get out of the way.
I agree that people shouldn't be on the taxpayers' teet for long periods of time. But why shouldn't the government and citizenry help those who have fallen become contributing members of society again? This isn't the 30's, and why should we have to live like it is? Just because our ancestors were able to live in caves, hunt, forage and live without On Demand doesn't mean we should now.

Again, I don't think the system as it stands now is anywhere near perfect. That doesn't mean that the idea of it isn't valid or that it should be eliminated.

Oh, and wear your helmet...
Spend a few years in a Third World country and get back to me. You can find what you're looking for in much of the Middle East, almost all of Africa, and a good percentage of South and Central America. If living in a civilized society means a small (and it IS small) percentage of my taxes go to the undeserving, it's a fair trade as far as I'm concerned.
Spend a few years in a Third World country and get back to me. You can find what you're looking for in much of the Middle East, almost all of Africa, and a good percentage of South and Central America. If living in a civilized society means a small (and it IS small) percentage of my taxes go to the undeserving, it's a fair trade as far as I'm concerned.
So as long as a small percentage of your taxes go to the undeserving, you can sleep well at night. How about I opt out and you pay my share too. You seem like a really nice guy, and I think you are up to the task. Since I worked in a Gov organization for 17 years, I know exactly how much of your tax money is wasted. I guess since you don't know, it doesn't bother you. I suppose until the tax bill gets high enough, or the undeserving come in ever greater numbers (and they are) only then will it bother you. Of course, by then, it will be waaaaay to late to stop the train. Lets keep the handouts rolling along until we all go broke. Third World is alot closer then you think.
So as long as a small percentage of your taxes go to the undeserving, you can sleep well at night. How about I opt out and you pay my share too. You seem like a really nice guy, and I think you are up to the task. Since I worked in a Gov organization for 17 years, I know exactly how much of your tax money is wasted. I guess since you don't know, it doesn't bother you. I suppose until the tax bill gets high enough, or the undeserving come in ever greater numbers (and they are) only then will it bother you. Of course, by then, it will be waaaaay to late to stop the train. Lets keep the handouts rolling along until we all go broke. Third World is alot closer then you think.
I worked for two government organizations, NASA at KSC/Cape Canaveral. (contractor) and the local School Board. Yes, there's a lot of waste, especially in the DOD sector. Does that mean government is useless? I think not.

If you want to opt out, go ahead. I think you'll find the "Life of Riley" you seem to think living on the government dole is, really isn't that much fun after all. Even the UK, which is an extreme example of "government coddling" is a far better choice for me than Africa, where if you don't have a job or family support, your kids go hungry or die from disease.
I agree that people shouldn't be on the taxpayers' teet for long periods of time. But why shouldn't the government and citizenry help those who have fallen become contributing members of society again? This isn't the 30's, and why should we have to live like it is? Just because our ancestors were able to live in caves, hunt, forage and live without On Demand doesn't mean we should now.

Again, I don't think the system as it stands now is anywhere near perfect. That doesn't mean that the idea of it isn't valid or that it should be eliminated.

Oh, and wear your helmet...
Why Should We! Marx said "From each according to their abilities to each according to their needs" para-phrased, of course. In the 30's the Feds created dependency when they created the welfare state. It's decades later and it's worse now than then. Social programs hurt people because many (not all) are too lazy or unmotivated to take care of themselves. Our Imperial Federal Gov't WILL become the Socialist United States when the Dems take control of the Presidency. Our (Union run) Educational systems DEPEND on ignorance and they keep our kids "dull" to keep them from asking questions. Welfare scum vote for those that sign the checks because they don't want to "Live Free" and Dems want Illegal Aliens (no pc intended) to vote because they- Dems- figure that's just more votes for them. Our system of gov't is broken and no one has the balls to fix it. Patch here, patch there- nevermind the ship is still sinking....
So, do real tax paying citizens get tired of this system? Apparently not. If Men of today were half the men that their Grandfather's were we'd already have the problem fixed. But our PC world and the fact that Liberals think we should all be as proper as the French have us in a position of being a bunch of girly-men. It's no wonder we're still fighting in the Middle East. They know we don't have the balls to get the job done. We're not allowed to drop bombs at will and make them quit. Our system of Elected Republic (remember, our founders did not set up a democracy) is on the way out and our children and the generations after are in big trouble.
It's tough to say but thoughts like yours are what cause problems. Singularly it's harmless but as we add thousands with similar thoughts our compassion for humanity is our down fall. We live in a brutal world- why hide it?
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Why Should We! Marx said "From each according to their abilities to each according to their needs" para-phrased, of course. In the 30's the Feds created dependency when they created the welfare state. It's decades later and it's worse now than then. Social programs hurt people because many (not all) are too lazy or unmotivated to take care of themselves. Our Imperial Federal Gov't WILL become the Socialist United States when the Dems take control of the Presidency. Our (Union run) Educational systems DEPEND on ignorance and they keep our kids "dull" to keep them from asking questions. Welfare scum vote for those that sign the checks because they don't want to "Live Free" and Dems want Illegal Aliens (no pc intended) to vote because they- Dems- figure that's just more votes for them. Our system of gov't is broken and no one has the balls to fix it. Patch here, patch there- nevermind the ship is still sinking....
So, do real tax paying citizens get tired of this system? Apparently not. If Men of today were half the men that their Grandfather's were we'd already have the problem fixed. But our PC world and the fact that Liberals think we should all be as proper as the French have us in a position of being a bunch of girly-men. It's no wonder we're still fighting in the Middle East. They know we don't have the balls to get the job done. We're not allowed to drop bombs at will and make them quit. Our system of Elected Republic (remember, our founders did not set up a democracy) is on the way out and our children and the generations after are in big trouble.
It's tough to say but thoughts like yours are what cause problems. Singularly it's harmless but as we add thousands with similar thoughts our compassion for humanity is our down fall. We live in a brutal world- why hide it?
And therein lies the difference. I think the vast majority of people are better off today than at any time in America's history. You said it yourself: you got motivated and you were able to build a terrific life for yourself! Did you know people were starving to death in the 30's when Roosevelt started the New Deal?
I worked for two government organizations, NASA at KSC/Cape Canaveral. (contractor) and the local School Board. Yes, there's a lot of waste, especially in the DOD sector. Does that mean government is useless? I think not.

If you want to opt out, go ahead. I think you'll find the "Life of Riley" you seem to think living on the government dole is, really isn't that much fun after all. Even the UK, which is an extreme example of "government coddling" is a far better choice for me than Africa, where if you don't have a job or family support, your kids go hungry or die from disease.
I have a feeling if you play it right, it works just fine. I know at least 3 people I grew up with that never had a job in their life, but somehow always had plenty of food, housing, and money to smoke cigs and get drunk every night. I'm seriously thinking of trying it. When I look at my TOTAL tax bill, I'd say I'm not keeping all that much that I'm working for anyway. Africa would do just fine if tightwads like you would pay more money so we could subsidize their living standards. All they need is more money, right? :wink:
And therein lies the difference. I think the vast majority of people are better off today than at any time in America's history. You said it yourself: you got motivated and you were able to build a terrific life for yourself! Did you know people were starving to death in the 30's when Roosevelt started the New Deal?
That is the whole point of Capitalism. There are winners and losers. Today, we all have to pay for the losers. It won't work forever. The losers are going to outnumber the payers by the thousands. So when the well runs dry, what then?
And therein lies the difference. I think the vast majority of people are better off today than at any time in America's history. You said it yourself: you got motivated and you were able to build a terrific life for yourself! Did you know people were starving to death in the 30's when Roosevelt started the New Deal?
Yes- are there more or less people starving now? The New Deal was born from the depression but that's not what got us out of the Depression. It was WWII that got us out. Our ability to manufacture war items helped make people make money. My Grandfather was an auto industry executive with FORD back in the late 20's early 30's. When the war came to America he started his own supply company for the US Gov't to supply them with tank and airplane cast parts. He became very rich in a period that was not. He did not rely on the NEW DEAL to bail him out. He got educated and learned from Henry Ford how to make a busniess work. It's our own fault we are in this situation. Those that think our elective system is rigged don't vote (which consist of nearly half the country). Those that do vote keep the same slags in office no matter the performance. If they were heads of Industry they'd be fired for their performance. Just something to chew on.
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