Federal Government Weighs National Helmet Law

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Federal helmet laws are coming

In a controversial move, a federal task force is set to recommend a sweeping, nationwide mandatory helmet law for all motorcyclists, according to a spokesman for the AMA. The legislation for a national helmet law would be aimed at reducing injuries and deaths, and their concurrent economic impact.

Presently, states set their own helmet laws. In recent years, the trend has been to lift mandatory helmet laws or restrict enforcement to minors. Mandatory helmet use is required by all motorcyclists in 19 states; 27 states have an age requirement; two states have age and insurance requirements, and two states have no restrictions, according to the lobby group, BikersRights.com.

The charged issue represents a freedom of choice to enthusiasts. Medical opinions vary regarding the safety of helmet use, and the potential injury from their use or non-use. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration endorses helmets, believing they reduce crash-related head injuries, a leading cause of death among riders, according to a NHTSA spokesman.

“Motorcyclists would be best served if regulators and legislators focus on programs to prevent motorcycle crashes from occurring in the first place,” said the AMA spokesman. The association recommends the use of all safety equipment, including gloves, proper footwear and a motorcycle helmet certified by its manufacturer to meet DOT standards. Said Wayne Allard, AMA Vice President for Government Relations, “We also believe adults should have the right to voluntarily choose to wear a helmet.”

The Centers for Disease Control appointed the Community Preventive Services Task Force, a 15-member panel assigned to make recommendations to the CDC and Congress regarding preventative services, programs and policies to improve public health. It’s yet to be determined when the recommendation will be released, although the AMA expects the report will be issued “soon” and will urge adoption of a universal helmet law.

The CDC is a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, is headquartered in Atlanta. Its mission is to protect the U.S. from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and domestic. It will be left to lawmakers to determine if not wearing a helmet poses a national heath and safety risk warranting new federal regulations.

“The AMA strongly advocates helmet use, but helmet use alone is insufficient to ensure a motorcyclist’s safety,” said Allard. “There is a broad range of measures that can be implemented to improve the skill of motorcycle operators, as well as reduce the frequency of situations where other vehicle operators are the cause of crashes that involve motorcycles.”

Allard added, “The AMA supports actions that help riders avoid a crash, including voluntary rider education, improved licensing and testing, and expanded motorist awareness programs. This strategy is widely recognized and pursued in the motorcycling community.”

Regarding economic impact, Allard claimed injured motorcyclists are less likely than the general population to use public funds to pay for injuries sustained in crashes, “and are just as likely to be insured as other vehicle operators.” Additionally, motorcyclist injury expenses account for a small fraction of total U.S. health care costs while a smaller portion of these costs is attributable to non-helmeted motorcyclists, according to the AMA.

“In 2000, for example, approximately 1.55 percent of total U.S. health care costs were attributable to all motor vehicle crashes. Motorcyclists involved in crashes represented a miniscule percentage of this figure,” added Allard.

At RideApart, we strongly advocate the use of proper safety gear, including helmets when riding a motorcycle. The consequences of not doing so are simply too high for us to do otherwise. We don’t need a federal law to wear a lid, we are going to wear one anyway. Where do you stand on this issue?

Related Links:
How To: Spot an Unsafe Motorcycle Helmet
Prevention: 10 Common Motorcycle Accidents & How To Avoid Them
Advice: 10 Things I’ve Learned From 10 Motorcycle Crashes

  • will

    What is it with Americans and “Freedom”. Catch up with the rest of the world.

    William, Brisbane Australia.

    • Stef

      True, the view of americans about freedom is too extreme. There is a difference between freedom and deciding to address problems nationally. things like supporting green energies and adding tax to bad fuels isn’t impearing your freedom its deciding as a nation the one is better than the other.

      • pdad13

        Because our country was established on the primary principle of personal freedom, although many people don’t seem to remember that or never understood it in the first place. Our system was set up to protect the individual from the tyranny of the masses. Democracy does not mean that the majority rules the individual.

        This principle has served this country pretty well., although it seems to be fading.

        I agree that some can take it too far and that there is a public good that needs to be served. But we should be very wary and vigilant when a compromise is propsed.

        • Diego Martinez

          You sound like a Republican. The majority sets the parameters of the social contract, and no matter what you yourself want, you are still beholden to the majority. If you don’t like the way things are going, I know of a completely Libertarian country. It’s called Somalia.

          • Justin McClintock

            Diego, the constitution protects the individual liberties of people specifically to PREVENT the majority from trampling any minority, particularly at the federal level. Hence the 9th and 10th amendments, which the federal government seems to be more than happy to ignore the vast majority of the time.

            • The Right Fight

              I agree with Justin on “individual liberties of people” in this helmet issue.

              It’s not a GOP vs DEM issue, as @disqus_EyBoGdHobR:disqus seems to argue.

              it’s simply an issue of constitutional authority and the inherent rights of an individual to make choices about their own life.

              How ironic that the “progressives” are simultaneously arguing FOR helmet laws and AGAINST abortion laws. Isn’t “choice” the underlying constitutional argument in both cases?

              I think it would be much better to maximize the exchange of information and knowledge, and then let individuals decide if they want to be smart or stupid.

            • Diego Martinez

              Individual liberties, or human rights, yes. Is riding without a helmet a right? Maybe, but that’s why we’re arguing. Is driving drunk a right? Not really. Is owning a gun a right? Not if you have a felony. And please don’t start with the bit about the founding fathers being beyond reproach, they owned slaves and did not consider blacks to even be human, that is why they where able to write about man’s inalienable rights without any sense of irony.

              • Justin McClintock

                The fact of the matter is, as I have stated plenty of other places, it is not the federal government’s responsibility to protect a person from one’s self. And that SHOULD be covered under the 9th and 10th amendments….although as I mentioned, Congress is more than willing to pretend those two don’t exist.

              • Piglet2010

                It seems the “founding fathers” considered those of sub-Saharan African descent to be 3/5 human.

          • Send Margaritas

            “The majority sets the parameters of the social contract”I can just picture two wolves and a sheep, voting on what is for dinner.Diego, You’re the sheep. You happy?

            • Diego Martinez

              Again, fuck off to Somalia.

              • Send Margaritas

                Typical, lol!

          • pdad13

            Then your should have your hearing checked.

            Personal freedoms are guaranteed by our constitution. The framers (both Federalists and anti-Federalists) weren’t a bunch of nutballs, they were brilliant men
            who wanted to make sure that individuals were protected from the power
            of the government and the majority. Of course we need laws and agreed-upon rules for society. But we’re protected from when the government, even acting on the will of the majority, oversteps. Remember the Supreme Court?

            It seems you need to label people to make them fit into your neat little ideological boxes. The social and political discourse in this country is laughable, thanks to pseudo-intellectual ideologues on both sides of the spectrum.

            Your suggestion that Somalia is a libertarian state is ridiculous. It’s anarchy. I don’t think that’s what anybody means by personal freedom. You probably don’t even how to define a libertarian given there are many different kinds, ranging from left to right. Here’s a clue: It’s also not the same as being a Republican.

            Intolerance of others’ views doesn’t make you enlightened. It just makes you sound like the people you vilify.

    • Justin McClintock

      What is it with the rest of the world that think that we should operate like they do?

      For what it’s worth, I’d never be caught dead without a helmet. But why should I need some nanny state government to decide that for me? I need to government to protect me from…myself? I think not.

    • NOCHnoch

      We have an abundance of stupid people who want to rebel against anything because they weren’t hugged enough as kids or some similar bullshit

  • Seamus Mullan

    As long as it comes with lane splitting, I’m all for it!

    • Piglet2010

      They tried that in Illinois, and the bill was killed by ABATE lobbying.

      • E Brown

        I’m in IL and I was SO disappointed by that. I’d have taken that deal in an instant, but then I always ride with a helmet. Funny thing I noticed recently – now that it’s cooler the only other people I see still riding have helmets. During the summer, 80% of the other riders I see don’t.

        • Fava d’Aronne

          I am in IL too, and I never understood why riders would not ride with a helmet in the Winter. I see a few wearing hoodies, bonnets, caps, scarfs, face mask…it would take less time to don a helmet and it would be more efficient in keeping the cold out.

          I just don’t get it.

          • Diego Martinez

            I don’t get riding without a helmet period. I would much rather sweat a bit than chance ending up with my brains strewn across the highway in case of an accident. But with that said, keeping from requiring helmets is a very effective way of putting some bleach in the gene pool…

  • Grimbo

    I think wearing a helmet should be voluntary, we need those organ donors!

  • Jorn Bjorn Jorvi

    I remember specifically talking about this type of thing a number of times on this site. We now have a national healthcare… thing, and, as a result, the federal government has a financial interest in you severely injuring yourself. So, the push for national helmet laws should have been easily seen to follow the new healthcare law.

    • Blu E Milew

      Sadly, this likely won’t be the only thing to affect you. Welcome to the nanny state.

    • Stuki

      Yup.
      “We” now pretend to do something for you, so yo have to bend over deeper and deeper and while chanting about how great it feels to be penetrated by democracy.

    • CruisingTroll

      “as a result, the federal government has a financial interest in you severely injuring yourself”
      Yes, they do seem to think they shouldn’t allow their property to damage itself, don’t they?

      • Diego Martinez

        It seems financial theory is lost on you guys. They subsidize a portion of your cost. It has nothing to do with them actually insuring you or caring what insurance you get, as long as you get insurance. This whole ‘Merica and Freedom bullshit is getting rather old.

        • CruisingTroll

          Financial theory ISN’T lost on me. Perhaps you should consider exactly what “he who pays the piper calls the tune” means.

          Understand that I’m NOT arguing against the economics. Those who argue for Helmet Laws (or most other nanny state intrusions) solely on the basis of economics (aka “financial theory”) are the ones who are greedy, elevating money above all other considerations.

          YOU may be willing to sell your birthright (assuming you’re a human) for a mess of pottage, but not everybody else is so inclined.

        • Jorn Bjorn Jorvi

          What do you mean ‘you guys’?

          • Diego Martinez

            I forgot, you people.

        • Send Margaritas

          “This whole ‘Merica and Freedom bullshit is getting rather old.”Feel free to leave.

          • Piglet2010

            What have you done to convince other countries to grant disgruntled USians citizenship? Put up, or shut up.

            • Send Margaritas

              I sent Dennis Rodman to bare witness to their embrace of socialism and ability exchange ideas in that rational ‘North Korean diplomat on Meth’ style.

    • Justin McClintock

      I’d disagree with that statement. Those who don’t wear a helmet are more likely to die in an accident. There’s no healthcare cost associated with being dead.

      • Jorn Bjorn Jorvi

        Do you really need an explanation for this

  • james

    Fight this. Idiots are commenting here saying ‘catch up to the real world’ they are SO SO WRONG! dont catch up! stay in the past. As soon as you give them an inch they will take a mile in time. you cannot fight gradualisation once the process starts. Though with obamacare now any hope you have of fighting off the nanny state has evaporated.

    I am australian, we lost helmet rights in the 80s and now we are fighting against compulsory gear! they want to force us to wear boots and jackets even when its 130F outside. Do you know why? because we have medicare and the less we get hurt the less it costs them, so they ban everything that could hurt anyone!

    FIGHT THE POWER

    • will

      I am happy for idiots to hurt themselves because they are not in proper gear. Unfortunately, we all have to pay one way or the other through higher insurance premiums or taxes into medicare.
      Do we have less freedom than our American friends? (Besides Queensland’s new bikie and hoon laws :( )

      • Justin McClintock

        Will, I think you just answered your own question with that last part. Fact is, if riding without a helmet is dangerous and should be outlawed, why not simply outlaw riding altogether? That would certainly reduce the risk.

  • gregory

    Good. Helmets are like seatbelts: you have to protect stupid people from themselves.

    Mind you, even I sometimes only wear my hipster half helmet… or that plastic yarmulke that passes as a helmet… wintertime, though, I normally wear the full face Scorpion.

    Wouldn’t a federal tiered licensing system save more lives? Or a reflective vest law, as we have on military bases?

    • james

      OH God. You have no idea mate. The things you are asking for will ruin motorcycling in america, just like they have ruined motorcycling in the UK, EU and Aust.

      ugh. NEVER express that opinion again. You have no idea the floodgates of nanny state crap that you will open if you get any of those things.

      • 200 Fathoms

        You think it’s OK that any 16-year-old can buy a superbike in the U.S.?

        • sixgunsteve

          Tiered licensing.

        • Lee Scuppers

          The same logic suppliesto ANYBODY buying a ssuperbike. They are more dangerous than cars. So ban them and be honest about it.

        • CruisingTroll

          Except NO 16 year old can buy a superbike in the U.S. Well, almost none. A 16 year old, save for an emancipated minor, CANNOT MAKE A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT. Period.

          A 16 year old can come up with the money (theoretically), and then ask Mom or Dad or Legal Guardian to purchase the bike, but the 16 year old can’t do it themselves.

          So, if you see a 16 year old on a superbike, know that it’s either a) stolen, or b) purchased by the parents.

          • 200 Fathoms

            You think it’s OK that any 18-year-old can buy a superbike in the U.S.?

            • CruisingTroll

              Yes. They can vote. They can make contracts. They are ADULTS. Treat them so.

              • Diego Martinez

                Except that they have no idea what the fuck they are getting into. I was riding for 24 years before getting a literbike, and I was simply not prepared for the force of that engine. Sometimes, you have to save stupid people from themselves, and you have to save the uninformed too. But then again, you probably ride a cruiser, so you have no idea what power feels like.

                • Justin McClintock

                  By that argument, an 18 year old shouldn’t be in the military either. Or voting. Or a whole host of other things.

                • wbizzle

                  Justin, I agree wholeheartedly. Voting by the “uninformed” could potentially be way more consequential and dangerous than allowing “stupid people” to ride without a helmet.

                • CruisingTroll

                  Well then, I suppose we should start testing people at the polls to make sure they’re informed.

                  What could possibly go wrong?

                • wbizzle

                  It would be a complete disaster as I am sure you are implying and I am in no way advocating for it! There are probably arguments made for some sort of knowledge test, I am not making them however.

                • CruisingTroll

                  Actually, I’ve had 5 bikes. None have been cruisers, although I have a bit over 1,000 miles riding cruisers. I have over 120,000 miles riding bikes with over 100hp. I’ve ridden in 46 states and 2 Canadian provinces. This thing you call “power”, I am familiar with it.

                  “Sometimes, you have to save stupid people from themselves, and you have to save the uninformed too.” – While that may be true, it does nothing to answer the question of whether or not this is one of those times, is this the best way to do it, and what is the cost.

                  I say to those three questions: No, No, Too High.

                • Diego Martinez

                  Lol, I am so impressed.

                • CruisingTroll

                  I don’t give a damn whether you’re impressed or not. You attempted a baseless ad hominem attack, dismissing my perspective because of some imaginary experience deficiency. I corrected your ignorance on the matter.

                • Piglet2010

                  One of the reasons I do not own a liter-bike – I was not blessed with sufficiently good reflexes in the genetic lottery to make use of the power. Apparently many other people are not either, based on the number of bikes with traction control, power modes, and soon anti-lowside ABS (coming to a KTM 1199 Adventurer near you).

            • Justin McClintock

              They can die for our country. So yes, they can ride whatever the hell they want.

              • Piglet2010

                Funny that one can be old enough to be sent to war, but not old enough to buy an alcoholic beverage.

                • Justin McClintock

                  Funny isn’t quite the word I’d use. More like sad.

                • Piglet2010

                  Funny, but not ha ha funny.

      • Richard Gozinya

        Yeah, the UK and Europe totally have nobody riding motorcycles anymore.

    • Justin McClintock

      No, we do not have to protect stupid people from themselves. If we do, they procreate. And make more stupid people. Then they vote…for things to protect people from themselves. Next thing you know, the government is telling you what to eat for breakfast.

      Thanks, but no thanks. It’s not the government’s responsibility to protect an individual from himself (or herself). They need to be reminded of that.

      • CruisingTroll

        Brawndo, it’s good for plants!!

  • James Battaglia

    If you’re not smart enough to protect your brain then you shouldn’t deserve one. Never protect people from the effects of their own stupidity.

    • Guest

      Do you ride a motorcycle?

      • Scott Jones

        What does it matter if he does? We need to stop protecting everyone from everything.

        • James Battaglia

          The only thing that does factor in for me though is the medical costs associated with the lack of helmet laws. One of the corresponding links regarding this issue estimated that no-helmet-related accidents cost the US upwards of over 1 billion in medical expenses in 2012. Forcing people to wear helmets, despite their stupid reluctance to do so, might just save not only their lives but a lot of money as well. I’m more inclined to be more concerned about the latter in this case…

          • pdad13

            Unfourtunately one could make the same argument for riding a motorcycle in the first place.

            And one billion dollars is a pretty small drop in the bucket. If you really want to reduce healthcare costs, outlaw high-stress desk jobs and over-eating. Those things affect a much bigger pecentage of the population.

            FYI, I would never ride without a helmet.

            • Piglet2010

              Outlawing high stress jobs would violate the freedom of employers to f*** their employees over, which is a basic USian value.

          • Send Margaritas

            “The only thing that does factor in for me though is the medical costs associated… “It is that line of thinking Liberals will follow when they decide to outlaw motorcycles entirely.

            • Diego Martinez

              Actually, that is incorrect. With the advent of catalysts in motorcycles, if you factor in miles traveled, the motorcycle is safer, more efficient, cheaper, and cleaner than a car. But I forgot, you’re more than likely a republican who yells ‘Murica and Freedom incessantly. Here’s some distressing news for you, you and your ilk are on the downward slope, we just need some time to work the idiots such as yourself out of our collective system.

              • Justin McClintock

                That’s incorrect. Once you factor in regular maintenence and you start looking at cars that are actually fuel efficient, then factor in the semi-regular need to transport things that won’t fit on a motorcycle, something like a Nissan Versa or equivalent is actually significantly cheaper overall than a car for the vast majority of Americans. I’d know….my old Honda Civic cost me less to keep around than my DRZ400SM or my SV1000S.

                • Diego Martinez

                  I very much doubt an old civic was cheaper than an SV or DRZ, because an older vehicle will get worse gas mileage than is stated. You’re civic probably got 25-30 mpg, the average DRZ probably gets 40-50 mpg. The maintenance costs are actually similar if you stay on top of chain slack, so I fail to see how it is you figure.

                • Justin McClintock

                  My Civic was a 2001. It averaged 30 in town and almost 40 on the interstate. I simply said “old” because I no longer own it.

                • darngooddesign

                  Its ridiculous to say that bikes are less expensive over the same number of miles, Over the course of 100k miles, how many motorcycles will someone buy compared to a car? Valve adjustments? How many tires will be replaced on both bikes and cars. Chain/sprockets vs the car’s drivetrain. Helmet costs vs not having a helmet? The savings in fuel does not make up for the much higher running costs of a bike compared to a car.

                • Piglet2010

                  The least expensive vehicle to run that can maintain highway speeds (sort of) might be a Honda PCX150 – minimal maintenance/repairs needed, and about 90 mpg in the real world.

              • Send Margaritas

                Not all liberals ride motorcycles. Others can use similar logic, to that you used about helmets, in order to outlaw motorcycles.They may seek more facts, than just your opinions, and challenge your safety argument on the grounds of accidents per mile.Now go worship Bloomberg, and his attempts to outlaw big sodas, because he is leading the charge for government to be the decider of those things, in YOUR life.

                • Diego Martinez

                  If I remember correctly, Bloomberg is a conservative, simply look at what New York has become. And motorcycles don’t have more accidents per mile traveled, they have less. But please, stop embarrassing yourself, you have no factual data and nothing to backup your arguments. You, my friend, are a bag of hot air. So, I say to you, good day.

                • Send Margaritas

                  NHTSA: Number of motorcycles involved in reported accidents (injuries, death or property damage) per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 776.57 while the number of passenger cars involved in such accidents per 100 million miles traveled was only 423.13. In other words, you are almost twice as likely to be in an accident riding a motorcycle than riding in a passenger car.Bloomberg, changed parties.You’re 0 for 2. You need to get out of your parents basement kid.

                • darngooddesign

                  While that may be true, the medical costs associated with a bike/car accident are significantly higher than the equivalent car/car accident.

                • pdad13

                  And what has New York become? This should be good.

                  It’s one of the most left-wing places on earth, skippy.

                  Bloomberg no longer identifies as a Republican or a conservative. Most of all, he is a social engineer, which is bad no matter which side of the aisle a given politician is from. He thinks he knows what’s good for everyone. The man was seriously trying to regulate the amount of salt restaurants could have in their food.

                  You’d love it here.

              • pdad13

                Actually, it’ll more likely be your kind–and I mean your kind in both blue and red–who will be on their way out. Demonizing your fellow citizens for sharing different opinions leads nowhere.

                Nothing productive gets done and the finger-pointing has grown very, very old.

                Funny how “progressive” thinkers regress to oppression when their infallible ideas are threatened. You’d be very happy in the old Soviet Union.

                Yeah, you keep thinking that motorcycles are cherished because they’re somehow more environmentally friendly. Many people dislike motorcycles because they’re scary. And noisy. And the people who ride them must be crazy.

                • Diego Martinez

                  We do not oppress, the oppression you feel is simply you’re not feeling comfortable uttering your opinion, because it is outmoded, embarrassing, or simply beyond the pale. If you want to get into the political side of it, simply look at the mechanics of the government shutdown. I know for a fact that most people have no idea that the motorcycle is a more environmentally friendly mode of transit. But that does not change the fact. What I find disgusting are the people that use the motorcycle as some sort of symbol for freedom and ‘merica. But since it is impossible to have an intelligent discussion with you people since you have never heard of references and scientific studies, and it pisses me off that we have people in 2013 that still don’t believe in science, I simply stop respecting you people outright. So, I can say with all sincerity, long live COMMIEFORNIA!

                • pdad13

                  What in God’s name are you rambling about? Seriously, you read like a psychotic.

                  Who are “you people”? You don’t know a damn thing about me. I happen to be non-religous, college educated, unopposed to gay marriage, and deeply interested in history and science, not that it’s any of your business. I also live in New York, which is not exactly a right-wing stronghold. I only tell you these things because they might help you realize how incredibly misguided you are, but you’re probably too far gone. You make a whole raft of assumptions about people because they don’t agree with you? You’ve just exposed to everyone what you really are. You can’t get your head wrapped around how all people don’t fit into your simple categories, which clearly make it easier for you to make sense of your sad world. Get help, man. You need it.

                  Apparently an intelligent discussion for you means the other party has to reinforce your views. Should we all pretend the Bill of Rights doesn’t exist? Is it that your really just don’t know anything about it? Its purpose isn’t really debated. It’s documented history. Who mentioned scientific studies? What exactly are you on about? I mean, I’d rather discuss cosmology but you’d probably turn that into a political diatribe.

                  You’re so blinded by your hatred and misunderstanding that you have to turn it into a Democrat vs. Repbublican issue when it’s not. YOU brought up political affilliations, as if you were spoiling for a fight with some redneck. Let me guess, you just recently graduated college.

                  Predictably, your argument degenerates into name-calling and stereotyping when all else fails.

                  What you’re too silly to understand is that you treat your ideology as if it’s a religion, as if it’s an unassailable matter of faith, which is a dangerous thing, indeed. Someday you may grow up and realize this, but I have my doubts.

                • Send Margaritas

                  Admirable effort, but you’re wasting your time pdad13, he sounds either psychotic, or a mal-adjusted 16-year old misanthropic internet tough guy with self esteem issues. Those social skills will determine his lack of success at work (if he holds a job), and in relationships.Most bikers are brothers, but some, you just leave on the side of the road when they crash, and ride on with a wry smile.You’re just feeding a troll.

                • pdad13

                  I enjoy beating my head against walls.

                  Actually, I think people like him have been indulged for far too long. It doesn’t hurt to let them know that some people think they’re idiots. He probably lives in a bubble where most people think he’s clever. You know, other idiots.

          • Justin McClintock

            This is the US. $1B in the medical industry is lost in the rounding. Besides that, how many more will live through an accident that otherwise kills them due to head trauma? There are no healthcare costs associated with dieing at the scene.

          • darngooddesign

            Medical costs associated with riding motorcycles drives up the premiums for people who just drive cars. Making motorcycles illegal would save drivers a lot of money.

            • Piglet2010

              The rates should be higher for cars (and even higher for SUVs and light trucks) since they are more dangerous to others.

  • Alex Koch

    By removing personal responciblity your allowing someone else to decide what’s “good” for you. Would you like some in the government to decide that it’s to dangerous for you to ride a motorcycle? I know it’s an extreme example but once they start do they stop?

    • Lee Scuppers

      Of course they don’t stop. But a lot of people only feel secure when they’re obeying orders from somebody. They’d rather give up riding than give up obedience.

    • 200 Fathoms

      If I have to contribute (through taxes or health insurance payments) to 40 years of paying for your treatment because you became a vegetable in an no-helmet accident, then yes—it is a good thing.

      • Justin McClintock

        You’re more likely to be paying to support somebody who did wear a helmet than somebody who didn’t. Same accident, the person with the helmet is more likely to sustain a life-altering injury and live. The person without….is more likely dead.

    • Diego Martinez

      Please don’t start with slippery slope arguments, we’ve been on a slippery slope since your hero Ronnie Reagan started cutting taxes. And for the record, good old Ronnie was a one man confederacy of dunces.

  • Jeremy

    It seems a federal seat belt law should follow, otherwise it might be seen as descrimination.

    • 200 Fathoms

      Truly. What is the difference?

    • Piglet2010

      There is a de facto national seat belt law, as well as a 21 drinking age law, and a 0.8% BAC law – states will get highway funding cut off if they do not toe the line.

  • Zanpa

    The fact that some americans see this as an attack to their freedom, while their government is spying on every one of them, is hilarious.
    Also, I take from this article that insurance isn’t mandatory in the USA to drive? Please tell me I’m wrong.

    • Guest

      This. Some are more attached to symbols of FREEDOM than too the actual thing.

      Personally, I’m always wary of all these slippery slope types of arguments. First it’s helmet laws, then it’ll be [insert bad thing] !

      • Piglet2010

        Damn, that would have saved me a large bill from my urologist!

        • Diego Martinez

          And it would help even more men with their child support payments…

    • Lee Scuppers

      I object to the government spying on people too. I object to all abuses of power, even when they’re not directed at me — even when they’re directed at people I disagree with. The fact that there are big ones doesn’t make it wrong to object to the petty ones too. Why do you see a conflict there?

      • Zanpa

        I do agree with your point.
        But, do you really see forcing motorcyclists to wear a helmet as an abuse of power? It seems to me that most laws would be abusive, by that reasoning.

        • Lee Scuppers

          When you acclimate people to the idea that they should always accept any order from authority as a good idea by default, they end up accepting stuff like the NSA abuses as a matter of course. When the right amount of liberty is always “just a little bit less than than whatever we left you with last week”, it all adds up.

          Maybe a little skepticism is in order sometimes.

          • stever

            and yet californians have a helmet law and more freedom than you

            • Diego Martinez

              Not only more freedom, but better weather and hotter women too! I love not having to store my bike over the winter.

              • darngooddesign

                I don’t live in CA yet I don’t have to store my bike during the winter…weird right.

        • CruisingTroll

          Because, the only “harm” to others that is being addressed is a harm that wouldn’t exist if others didn’t VOLUNTEER to help. That’s the essence of the “costs me money through higher insurance and/or taxes” argument.

          And yes, most laws ARE

          • Stef

            I think that helmets land other safety gear/tech is important, why shouldnt the gouvernmentgouvernment try tot make people use there equipement safer?

            • CruisingTroll

              Liberty. Explain how government forcing me to be safer makes me safer? Let’s say gov’t decides to write me a ticket because I don’t wear a helmet, i.e. he’s fining me for my own safety. I refuse to pay the ticket. So gov’t adds a bunch of fees to the ticket, and sends a some other cop around to collect. I refuse to pay. He says “you’re going to jail.” I tell him know. He attempts to put me in cuffs (i.e., he’s now assaulting me for my own safety.) I refuse to be cuffed and defend myself. He pulls out his gun, and shoots me, all for my own safety.

              Government is FORCE. If you don’t knuckle under to the force, Government will simply keep ratcheting it up until you do. “For my own safety.”

              Now, you may say “that’s crazy, nobody is going to fight that hard to avoid a ticket.” You’re probably correct, but that’s not the point. The point is that the Government WILL fight that hard to apply it. It WILL kill you to keep you safe, only by the time it’s to that stage, it’s not doing it to keep you safe, it’s simply doing it either out of reflex or “to uphold the PRINCIPLE of The Law.” (Remember, the principle of the helmet law was to keep you safe, right?)

              I have no fundamental objection to gov’t running PSA’s to encourage safe behavior, although it may or may not be the most effective use of taxpayer funds. I have no objection to gov’t allowing insurance companies to treat helmet vs non helmet CUSTOMERS differently. Once you get to government mandates though, then you’re bringing government FORCE into it.

              • dinoSnake

                And I would regretfully have to say: “Grow up”.

                It seems that the principle stance against the helmet law by people who oppose it is this: I don’t want to be told what to do. Even though these people KNOW that motorcycling is dangerous, that the sport of motorcycling has greater risks than doing many other types of sport, they choose to ignore the inherent risks because they are more worried about being told what to do than to do what is best.

                That sounds just like the attitude that some children take under the same conditions when their parents tell them to do something.

                Not wearing a helmet is a fundamental failure to truly take all the possible outcomes of the activity of riding a motorcycle to heart and preparing yourself for the possible worst outcome. That is the issue here: psychologically, some people choose to focus on their personal opinion rather than acknowledge the worst possible outcome of a situation and, therefore, do not wish to prepare for it. They do not believe that the worst ‘will happen to them’ – a personal eternal optimism bubble – and hate it if someone tries to make them come to grips with the alternative outcomes that they themselves have personally discounted.

                I find it…hilarious…that the NSA issue, in the same way they mention helmets, is bringing out a certain attitude with some people: It is OK for a for-profit corporation to do something but not OK for our government to do the very same thing. They fail to realize that corporations can just as easily FORCE them to do something by constructing the markets in a way that suits their needs – they have only chosen to believe that this is not possible. Somehow, we should fear our government but gladly accept that for-profit motives always operate in our “best interest” – yep, the corporatist agenda has won in America.

                Regardless, “freedom” is terrible substitute for protecting yourself and being a full adult – fully accepting that you have openly chosen a risky endeavor to partake in and you will take a modicum of preparation in case your best laid plans go wrong. Understand that I completely acknowledge that this happens as my best friend always does that…and I’m always the one helping him pick up the pieces when something doesn’t work out. A belief that only good things will happen to you when you believe in it…doesn’t help one squat when something goes wrong.

                • Piglet2010

                  Not all of us fit your categorization. While except for very short (< 100 feet) and very slow (< 10 mph) rides I have always worn a full-face lid, the government has no business forcing idiots to wear protective headgear.

                • CruisingTroll

                  “Not wearing a helmet is a fundamental failure to truly take all the
                  possible outcomes of the activity of riding a motorcycle to heart and
                  preparing yourself for the possible worst outcome” Agreed.

                  “That is the issue here: psychologically, some people choose to focus on their personal opinion rather than acknowledge the worst possible outcome of a situation and, therefore, do not wish to prepare for it.” – uh, no, that’s not what’s at issue here. If it were, then people like myself wouldn’t be arguing against your position. Heck, I could just as easily turn your armchair pop psychology around and say that, because you don’t wish to acknowledge the worst possible outcome of a nanny state (“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” – George Orwell), you do not wish to prepare for it. Thank you, that’ll be $100, please put the cushions back on the couch where you found them. Would you like to schedule an appointment for next week? :p

                  “Regardless, “freedom” is terrible substitute for protecting yourself and being a full adult – fully accepting that you have openly chosen a risky endeavor to partake in and you will take a modicum of preparation in case your best laid plans go wrong.” – Of course it’s a terrible substitute. Just like an orange is a terrible substitute for a Boeing 747. Only an idiot would attempt such a substitution.

                  Your approach is simply this: “Because something may go wrong, and I may end up having to pick up the pieces, I get to tell you what to do, and if you don’t listen to me, I’ll take your money, lock you up, and if you resist, I’ll force you, no matter what.”

                  Try telling your best friend that. See how long your friendship lasts, especially once you start living by it.

                • pdad13

                  The “personal eternal optimism bubble” is a real thing. There is research to support the theory. It’s also been called a reality distortion field. Most people have it and, from an evolutionary standpoint, it’s mostly a positive thing. It’s what helps up go on in the face of adversity.

                  It also has some negative effects, like the it-won’t-happen-to-me syndrome.

                  But the government is not our parents and shouldn’t be viewed that way. The government is supposed to serve the people. It’s supposed to answer to us, not the other way around.

                  You also can’t force people to be adults.

            • darngooddesign

              Not riding a motorcycle is safer, why shouldn’t the govt make bikes illegal?

    • kevin

      Insurance is mandatory for automobiles, but not for motorcycles in all states.

    • CruisingTroll

      What makes you think that many Americans don’t find both to be a problem, eh? Moron.

      And no, insurance is not mandatory in the USA to drive. Insurance on THE CAR is mandatory in order to drive THE CAR on PUBLIC roads.

    • Faysal Itani

      +1000000

  • Ayabe

    I’m against it being mandatory, even though I always wear mine. If it came with guaranteed insurance rate decreases for just about everyone across the board it might lessen the sting. Fat chance of that however.

    There is at least a little merit in the argument that not wearing a helmet is a speed governor in and of itself. Even a small bug to the face at 50mph sucks.

    But for me that “advantage” and the sum of the other small perks don’t outweigh my strong desire to not have to eat through a straw after going down at 30mph.

    It’s a personal choice.

    • 200 Fathoms

      Well, how do you feel about seatbelt laws?

      • Ayabe

        Don’t agree with them except for children, because they aren’t capable of making that decision.

        The big difference here is that lack of seatbelt isn’t a primary offense everywhere(meaning you can’t be pulled solely for that) and 100% enforcement is impossible.

        Lack of helmet would be a primary offence and would be 100% enforceable by definition so to me it’s worse.

        If the true interest is in improving safety, then bullshit half and novelty helmets wouldn’t count.

        2nd biggest cause of death behind head injury is chest compression – are they going to start forcing people to wear chest protectors? Nope. This is about the illusion of safety.

        • 200 Fathoms

          I don’t really understand why it being a “primary offence” matters. Also don’t understand why it doesn’t make sense to go after the #1 cause of death.

          True on the toy helmets, though.

      • CruisingTroll

        Moi, there’s actually a modest (but only modest) rational argument for them, at least for the driver, just as there is a good argument for the eye protection requirement for motorcyclists, which EVERY state in the US has.

        A driver seat belt requirement can be justified because the seat belt keeps the driver at the controls even when “the going gets rough.” By doing so, it improves the driver’s control, and thereby reduces the risk of the driver CAUSING HARM TO OTHER PEOPLE.

        The seat belt requirement for others in the car does no such thing, and as such, is an abuse of gov’t power.

        The eye protection requirement is similar. It reduces the risk of eye injuries that cause the rider to lose control of the motorcycle, a condition that can CAUSE HARM TO OTHER PEOPLE.

        • Piglet2010

          Wrong – here in Iowa it is legal to ride a motorcycle on the public roads without eye protection.

          Funny thing is we have a helmet use law, but only for state funded OHV parks.

          • Diego Martinez

            As his name states, he’s only a troll arguing the libertarian view, where he has his and the rest of us can go fuck ourselves.

          • CruisingTroll

            I stand, or more precisely, sit, corrected. It turns out there’s a few other states that don’t require eye protection. The AMA has a handy chart for those interested.

  • Richard Hollingworth

    As a Paramedic and former Organ Procurement Coordinator. Please make helmets optional. I need the job security. I comment based on fact, not opinion or irrational fear of government control who control more than you realize anyway, helmets should be the least of your worries!

    For those that don’t believe helmets work, you are more than welcome to ride with me in the summer. Give me a few shifts and you will change your mind.

    Having said all that, I would rather the Government enforce strict texting while driving laws as this is getting out of control…… And I guarantee that you Government conspiracy nuts will be the first to campaign for stiffer texting driving laws when you hit by a teenage kid sending a “LOL” text!

    • Lee Scuppers

      Thanks for shrieking about “conspiracy nuts”. It kinda clarifies where you’re coming from, emotionally.

      • Richard Hollingworth

        I take it you resent being called a Nut?

        • Piglet2010

          Only sheeple use the term “conspiracy theorist”.

    • NOCHnoch

      Don’t forget…we need the organs as well!

  • Chris Cope

    So the AMA thinks something might be on a report that it hasn’t actually seen, which might then influence lawmakers into maybe drawing up a bill that might thereafter become law. Tempest in a tea cup, this. If anything, it reflects a deep anxiety on the part of the AMA that it is arguing the wrong side.

    But let’s pretend this happened; would it really be a bad thing? One possible spin is to see it as a positive. Not just because it might result in one or two less brain-dead dudes but because it would be an acknowledgment of motorcycling as a legitimate means of transportation rather than simply a summertime declaration of FREEDOM. Usually motorcyclists are an afterthought when it comes to transportation planning. This would serve as an example of legitimacy, for lack of a better word.

    Additionally, such a situation might free up resouces within AMA and ABATE and the like to focus on things that would genuinely benefit motorcycling, like the ability to filter through traffic in more places than California. Because few things say FREEDOM more than not having to wait in line.

    • joe handy

      I’ve talked to a couple anti-helmeters who have outright told me they will park their bikes if we get a mandatory helmet law in Illinois. The whole cutting-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face thing doesn’t make sense to me, but I’m guessing it will happen in droves nationwide. While this might not be a bad thing, more bikes on the road = more awareness.

      With people driving as distracted as they do, I’m all for having more bikes on the road, helmets or not. I’d say a nationwide helmet law is a bad thing in this instance.

      • Chris Cope

        When they banned smoking in the Twin Cities there were loads of people who swore they’d never go to a bar again. Did that happen? Not so much. (In fact, more people started going)

        If someone were to tell me he was going to stop riding because of helmet laws I’d wait until the first really nice summer day to come ask him his opinion again. I wouldn’t be able to find him on that day, though — he’d be out riding.

      • 200 Fathoms

        That is the funniest thing I have read in quite a while. We’ll really miss them! Fewer idiots on the road.

      • Blu E Milew

        I have a buddy from high school who was t-boned riding his cruiser, got beat up pretty f-in bad, and honestly believes not having a helmet saved his life..

        Unfortunately, people like this make up a large percentage of motorcycle riders.

        • Davidabl2

          Once in awhile- a long while- not wearing a seatbelt saves a life.
          Movie director George Lucas had an accident like that during his teen years,
          thrown unconscious out of his convertible..which caught fire.
          In certain circumstances the helmet kills/cripples somebody rather than saving them. I’d bet it’s really quite uncommon.

      • NOCHnoch

        Pefect…less Harleys and SQUIDs-xr’s on the road

  • ThruTheDunes

    This is something I have mixed feelings about. Mandatory helmet laws should be about more than just economics of health care. It is my impression that states bear welfare costs, so an underinsured cyclist does consume some federal money, but the state has to make up the rest. Since some states are setting up their own insurance exchanges, national health care has a state component, too. What concerns me besides the economics is the social costs. How well are your kids going to be raised without a mother or father (or with one who is severely disabled)? What will your parents’ quality of life be when they have to bury you at a young age? How will you fare when the insurance for the idiot who hit you runs out and you cannot pay for reconstructive surgery? While helmets won’t stop all injuries or deaths, they are the best thing for our most important organ. But in the end, I feel this should be a states’ rights issue. Powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. Let the people and communities within each state decide whatis bbest for them, fiscally and socially. But, that is just my opinion.

    • Diego Martinez

      The problem is that states legislatures are very easy to take over by one party, hence you get California and Texas, where you can lane split and wear a helmet, or not wear a helmet and not lane split. It is quite a bit more difficult to effect that sort of takeover at the Federal level, and the states rights argument doesn’t hold water, since it doesn’t matter where you are riding that changes the consequences of crashing without a helmet. It’s simple, wearing a helmet increases survivability of any sort of crash, even tipping over in your driveway. If you already wear a helmet, this won’t affect you, and if you don’t wear a helmet, you are a squid that shouldn’t be riding in the first place.

  • ThinkingInImages

    I agree with the AMA about the safety training programs and awareness programs – to a degree. These are passive programs. There’s no mandates (that I’m aware of) to take rider training as part of the license process. The road tests vary as well. As for awareness programs – we can’t get anyone to stay focused on anything anywhere, no less something as critical as riding.

    Now add we that have fifty states with 50 different “rules” for riding overall, each state has different riding conditions, and agendas. What may seem right for riding in high traffic density areas may not seem right for low traffic density areas.

    I’m not going to touch on the vague and personal definitions of “freedom” and “rights”.

    I wear a full face helmet and protective gear. I have from the moment I first jumped into the saddle decades ago. It made sense to me then, it makes sense to me now. It’s not a matter of law, but common sense. It may be inconvenient and even uncomfortable at some level but you don’t own a motorcycle because it’s convenient and comfortable. I’ve had my moments. I tried the no helmet thing in a state where it was an option for adults. It was a short lived experiment in discomfort.

    • CruisingTroll

      “There’s no mandates (that I’m aware of) to take rider training as part of the license process.” Correct, but the great majority of riders getting licensed today do so through MSF courses.

      • Diego Martinez

        And what is the MSF supposed to do, ingrain habits that take years to develop, all in 3 days? And doesn’t the MSF course recommend using a helmet? It’s simple. People having accidents without wearing helmets make operating a motorcycle more expensive for all of us, same as an uninsured person going to the ER makes healthcare more expensive for all of us. It’s simple fucking math, not an exercise in philosophy about the meaning of freedom and ‘merica.

        • Send Margaritas

          “People having accidents without wearing helmets make operating a motorcycle more expensive for all of us, same as an uninsured person going to the ER makes healthcare more expensive for all of us. “I thought you socialists were looking to ObamaFraud to solve the costs for the uninsured? How is that going? lol!

  • Shawn McDermott

    Lane Splitting yes.

  • Mr.Paynter

    Yeah, sucks for you guys.

    I mean, we’ve got mandatory helmet laws, and have had for as long as I have ridden, so it doesn’t faze me.

    • Diego Martinez

      I have not ridden without a helmet since I started 30 years ago. Why? It’s just stupid, I like my brain remaining in my skull. But you know what? I don’t fucking care because this law doesn’t affect me since I already wear a helmet. Now, Imma go lanesplit, something the rest of y’all can’t legally do!

      • Send Margaritas

        Helmet laws bother you, but you’re in favor of lane splitting! Not too hypocritical, eh?

        • Diego Martinez

          If done properly, lane splitting is a safe alternative to sitting in traffic. But I guess you’re butt-hurt because you’re not allowed to do it. But I think you don’t know how to read, because I said nothing about being bothered by helmet laws. Actually, I expressly mentioned not giving a fuck about said law because I already live in a state that requires a helmet. You are an uneducated, illiterate parrot shouting the party line about big government. But I won’t whale on an inferior being, so go back to your trailer home and fuck your sister, mom, dog, or whatever gets off the modern conservative.

          • Send Margaritas

            The merit of your arguments has swayed me that lane splitting is good….for you.

  • Tiberiuswise

    I don’t think it is my place to force anyone to do something they don’t want to do, unless their actions negatively impact me. I suspect that an uninsured and unhelmeted rider would die quickly in an accident instead of surviving and running up a big bill. I say let Darwinism run its course.

    • Zanpa

      “I suspect that an uninsured and unhelmeted rider would die quickly in an accident instead of surviving and running up a big bill.”
      That’s wrong, by the way. You should do some research before having an opinion based on suspicion.

      • Tiberiuswise

        Sorry to offend.

      • Diego Martinez

        Well, you might want to back up your argument with some references or examples.

    • Bruce Steever

      Even if they do die quickly, someone has to investigate the accident. Someone has to clean up the road. Someone has to sue someone else. All of these things cost money, and we get to pay for it.

      • Tiberiuswise

        Compared to what they would cost the system if they survived, I bet its a bargain.

      • John

        Same thing if someone falls off their roof. What safety gear do you want to mandate for that?

      • Stuki

        Those wanting a clean road should pay to ahve it cleaned, right?

        It’s not like walking down the road and dying is some sort of crime, simply because someone may wish you weren’t lying there rotting. None has to sue anyone. Ever. That is the root of most of America’s problem.

      • CruisingTroll

        Yes, but…

        If they ARE wearing a helmet, someone has to investigate the accident. Someone has to clean up the road. Someone has to sue someone else. All of these things cost money, and YOU CHOOSE to pay for it.

    • Stuki

      Who gives a f what “bill” he runs up. If he can pay it, fine. Otherwise, fine too. People have been dying and getting injured for millennia. Wasn’t my business before, ain’t now.

  • sixgunsteve

    Maybe a little off topic, but I can’t figure out if the guy on the Victory is going for “cruiser face” or “duck lips.”

  • Derek

    I’m on the fence with this one. I wear a full face helmet with protective gear at all times, so personally it wouldn’t affect me. It’s expensive to insure a sportbike, even if you don’t have any violations on record. If passing this law results in more acceptance of lane splitting and lower (motorcycle) insurance premiums, I’m all for it. But realistically, I don’t think either would happen. And I’m not really a fan of another law that is supposed to “protect” the people from themselves.

    • Ben W

      I’m in this camp. It won’t affect me, either, and I’d only be happy about it if it came along with other benefits like you mentioned.

    • Zanpa

      It will affect you. People spending the rest of their years in hospital or in a wheelchair are very, very expensive for society.

      • CruisingTroll

        Either stop volunteering to pay for them, OR stop whining about it!

        • JimMac

          CT, what do you mean “volunteering to pay for them”?

          • Diego Martinez

            He means tax evasion. As in not putting in his fair share.

  • HammSammich

    I support mandatory basic mandatory helmet laws at the state level, and I tend to dismiss slippery slope arguments against them. After all, there are states that have had universal helmet laws in place for more than 40 years and “Jack-Booted Thugs” have yet to pry our motorcycle keys from our hands in those states.
    That having been noted, after cursory consideration I actually think a federal helmet law would be a TERRIBLE idea and very well could be a step toward further restrictions. In the absence of an ability to implement stringent driver training requirements that would arguably be most effective in improving auto safety, the federal goverment has massively inflated the cost and complexity of automobiles (among myriad other negative impacts on performance and efficiency) through safety requirements that rely on engineering safety into the product.
    Motorcycles have been an exception to these safety regulations due to the inherent design limiting external protection. Regardless, I seriously worry that any legal theory that allows for a federal helmet mandate would also give regulators license to move toward additional restrictions on the design of motorcycles. It is not inconceivable to see this as a step toward mandatory ABS, Traction Control or other electronic safety measures that would inflate motorcycle cost. Even more disconcerting would be a move towards horsepower restrictions or other required design elements that haven’t yet been considered (smarter people than me can think up these ideas but who knows – gyroscopes to keep the bike balanced at low speeds – ala segway)?

    • John

      People who don’t believe in slippery slopes are terrible students of history.

      • Aaron Baumann

        People who do believe in slippery slopes are equally terrible students of history. See: Prohibition.

        • John

          Wrong. Prohibition began with a slippery slope and ended up one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the US. A few dry towns here and there, then counties, then a few more restrictions, then whole states and then BLAM, the rise of organized crime. Way to go, slippery slope, you won again.

          • Aaron Baumann

            Umm… My point is that people argued against lifting the prohibition because it would supposedly lead to massive orgies, everybody doing hard drugs, etc. That didn’t happen. And you have no idea what you’re talking about if you think slippery slope is “first a few towns, then the entire US.”

            • John

              And you think prohibition just happened overnight, not to mention the prohibition of a whole bunch of other stuff that followed, until people are getting anally probed for looking suspicious?

            • John

              Slippery slope arguments don’t work that well when freedom is increased. When freedom is decreased, the people who decreased freedom move on to the next link and attempt to force the next step. Because the same people that forced you to wear your helmet don’t believe in “this is as far as I’ll ever take it” and even if they did, they will be soon be replaced by someone willing to take it to the next level.

              If you think helmet laws are required, then you should be demanding the total ban of motorcycles. And, basically, you are.

              • Diego Martinez

                Enough with the shouting “FREEDOM” bit. It is old tired, and honestly needs to be retired on account of overuse.

                • John

                  Okay, Ché, what is the appropriate term for “lack of tyranny”?

                • John

                  I’m sorry, what is the Left Approved™ word for “lack of tyranny”?

            • CruisingTroll

              I encourage you to learn some history, or maybe learn some modern events. The impulse for Prohibition actually originated in early Victorian England. To get some sense of why, take a look at the alcohol problems in modern Russia. It was actually worse in Victorian England in the early days of the Queen’s reign.

              How the Temperance Movement came to America, how it fused with Progressivism, nativism and Women’s Suffrage are interesting stories in their own right, but the fact is that it WAS a slippery slope that brought on Prohibition.

              And in the same way that you’re poo-poohing those who said repealing it would “lead to massive orgies, everybody doing hard drugs, etc” (btw, you must be too young to have experienced the 70s), people poo-poohed those who said during the early stages of the drug war that it would lead to massive organized crime and a decrease in our liberties.

              In short, all slippery slope arguments are wrong.

              Until they’re right, in which case they aren’t slippery slopes, they’re simply “good calls.”

        • CruisingTroll

          All Slippery Slope Arguments are BS.

          See: history anti-smoking crusade for proof.

          See: history of gay marriage movement for proof.

          Oops, both of those are the Sterling Proof that Slippery Slope Arguments aren’t always BS.

          The anti-smoking crusade started with prohibiting smoking in AIRPLANES, on the basis that an airplane in flight was a completely closed environment.

          Now the anti-smoking crusaders have gotten smoking banned from public BEACHES, about as far from a “completely closed environment” as you can get.

          But hey, “it’s for our own good, and the savings to society”

          • Thatmanstu

            You have offered genuine proof that laws and standards have positive effects.

          • Aaron Baumann

            If you’re following a slippery slope argument of expanding rights leading to human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, then the logic for slippery slope is ALWAYS wrong.

            If you’re following a slippery slope argument of removing rights, then the logical conclusion is that “soon everything will be illegal” then, again, slippery slope is ALWAYS wrong.

            You do realize it’s called a “logical fallacy” for a reason, right?

            • CruisingTroll

              1) ANY prediction about the future is a logical fallacy. This includes every Slippery Slope argument. The future is logically unknown.
              2) Because of #1, any argument dismissing a Slippery Slope by saying its CANNOT HAPPEN is ALWAYS wrong.
              3) Taken together, #1 and #2 mean that you can either assess a Slippery Slope argument on the merits of it’s predicates as they conform to the real world. This includes assessing EACH progressive “IF – “THEN”. The assessment that IF-THEN #10 is highly unlikely doesn’t mean IF-THEN #2 is automatically impossible.
              or
              You can blithely dismiss all Slippery Slopes and sing “tra la la”.

              • Aaron Baumann

                Actually, you do… because they’re logical fallacies. Appealing to ignorant arguments just encourages idiocy.

      • HammSammich

        If you take a second look at my comments above, my reference to a “slippery slope” was specifically limited to arguments against “basic mandatory helmet laws at the state level.” Far from being a poor student of history, I believe I pointed to an historical precedent that counters the typical political/philosophical arguments made by the AMA and A.B.A.T.E. Despite nearly 50 years of mandatory helmet laws in place at the state level, motorcyclists have not been stripped of any additional rights. In fact, for better or worse, in many states motorcycle licensing requirements have been relaxed over that time period (in my state – WA, for example, there are no longer tiered endorsements based on engine displacement).

        In a general sense of the phrase, “Slippery Slope” I don’t discount the notion that certain courses of action can lead to unacceptable or disastrous outcomes. Indeed, I think I made that clear in my discussion of the potential consequences of a legal theory that would enable the federal government to enact a mandatory helmet law.

        I am very glad that my state has a mandatory helmet law, but I still think that any effort made by the federal government to enact a universal helmet law nationwide would be a bad idea. Fortunately, I think the AMA is drawing exaggerated conclusions on the outcome of this report, possibly as a fundraising move.

        • John

          Obviously you two haven’t been introduced. Hamm, Federal government. Federal government, Hamm.

          Once the Feds get involved, the slippery slope is on.

          • Thatmanstu

            Because the Federal Government has never. ever done anything positive or well.

    • Davidabl2

      Mandatory airbags on new motorcycles also comes to mind..

  • Afonso Mata

    Please enlighten me on this quote: “Mandatory helmet use is required by all motorcyclists in 19 states; 27 states have an age requirement; two states have age and insurance requirements”
    Does this mean:
    -In 19 states you have to use a helmet, period.
    -In 27 you only need to use a helmet if you’re under a certain age.
    -In 2 states you only need to use a helmet if you’re under a certain age AND have an insurance.

    ?
    About that insurance, is it rider-related or bike-related insurance?

    Sorry for my ignorance, here in Portugal, a rider must use a helmet and the bike must be insured, says the law. Rider’s health insurance is not mandated by law since we have a public healthcare system.

    • CruisingTroll

      -In 19 states you have to use a helmet, period. – Yes
      -In 27 you only need to use a helmet if you’re under a certain age. – Yes
      -In 2 states you only need to use a helmet if you’re under a certain age AND have an insurance. – Not exactly. You must use a helmet if you’re under a certain age, period. You must use a helmet UNLESS you have insurance that covers you for NOT using a helmet.

      • Piglet2010

        Here in Iowa we have no lid laws, and very few riders wear them. Seeing someone in full gear is almost shocking unless they are on a adventure touring or sport touring bike (says the guy who rides a 108cc scooter wearing a Roadcrafter).

        • CruisingTroll

          Ahhh, but does Mr. Happy ride pillon with you?

          • Piglet2010

            Mr. Happy lives in my top box.

            • Diego Martinez

              Then Mr. Happy is probably very happy indeed ^_^

        • Michael Howard

          We very well may be the only two helmet- and Roadcrafter-wearing scooter riders in the state.

      • Afonso Mata

        Thanks man :)
        So there really is people who prefer to pay a premium on their insurance, over using a helmet?
        Man, those are f’d up priorities….

        • bainelaker

          Uh, Alfonso, money comes and goes. But this hair? That takes HOURS to sculpt and perfect. No way I’m wearing a helmet to deprive all the ladies of this ‘do!
          /s

  • smokin88lx

    Replace “Not wearing a helmet” with “riding a motorcycle”. There are a lot of people out there that think you shouldn’t be able to ride a motorcycle because of how dangerous they are compared to a car. They think we are idiots and foolish for participating in such a dangerous activity. To the non-riders we drive up their insurance rates too by not having a steel cage and 10 airbags around us.

    I consider any rider that bitches about anybody who rides without a helmet or is for mandatory helmet laws a Hypocrite. If you are that concerned about safety, health care costs, or for laws that tell people how to live their lives you should not be riding a motorcycle.

    Just because there isn’t a law requiring a certain behavior or action doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Nobody is stopping YOU from wearing a helmet while in a state with no helmet law.

    • Piglet2010

      Motorcycles are much safer than cars – how many non-drivers get killed by cars compared to motorcycles, even after the numbers are normalized to miles driven/ridden? When someone asks me, “Isn’t riding a motorcycle dangerous?”, I tell them that. They shut up when they suddenly realize how selfish they are being.

      • Diego Martinez

        Smokin has a very weird sort of point, and I can’t say I agree or disagree. Yes, we want to keep people alive. Buuuuut, there are quite a few people that could help humanity by shuffling off this mortal coil. Ahem, cruisers and stunters…

  • Bruce Steever

    About fucking time!

    • John

      Don’t be envious. Sometimes, I want to go 2-3 blocks away to grab something from the corner store and don’t wear a helmet. Why not make bicyclists and pedestrains wear full face helmets? Why not drivers?

      • 200 Fathoms

        Stats show that most accidents occur close to home.

        Also, uh, aren’t drivers surrounded by 3,000 pound helmets and a bazillion airbags? Apples and oranges.

        • John

          Can’t be too safe. We need more safety. No one must ever die.

          • Diego Martinez

            No, more like it is a good idea to prevent preventable injuries. But you know what, try crashing without a helmet and get back to us about the experience.

      • Campisi

        The concrete outside your front door is just as hard as it is anywhere else.

        • John

          Okay, so do you put on a helmet to cross the street? You should. Concrete and all.

          • Diego Martinez

            Crashing at 20 mph is quite a bit worse than tripping over your own shoe. And guess what, you can give yourself a concussion at 10 miles an hour, which a helmet can prevent entirely. But then again, with the idiocy of your arguments, you should probably give yourself a concussion, it might actually help.

  • stever

    Here in Commiefornia, we’ve had a helmet law for fifteen years or so, and yet we still have more real motorcycle freedom than any of you in the loser states.

    WE OUT HERE. WE LIVING DAT LANESPLIT LIFE.

    • Davidabl2

      I’d trade lane splitting in a helmet law state for not being able to lane split in a helmet optional state.

      • stever

        we still have more freedom than you, even with our helmet laws.

        OBAMAFORNIA WINNING IT ALL

        • Diego Martinez

          We have better weather, better roads to ride, hotter women, and lane splitting. CA rules! Besides, at least we’re not part of the bible belt, I hate religious people…

  • Davidabl2

    I have a modest proposal, albeit unpopular, that i make whenever i see the helmet v.s helmetless argument
    raise it’s ugly head.. An individual mandate to ride helmetless-with appropriate helmetless insurance for the higher injury costs, including longterm disability costs. A special license plate would be issued for those with
    that insurance, which I’d suggest be called a “Darwin Plate” Insurance that allows a helmetless rider to carry a helmetless passenger would haver it’s own special plate. Called a “Double Darwin” of course.

    And I call bullshit on the AMA’s Mr. Allard’s statement:
    “In 2000, for example, approximately 1.55 percent of total U.S. health care costs were attributable to all motor vehicle crashes. Motorcyclists involved in crashes represented a miniscule percentage of this figure”

    I’d bet the number is cherry-picked. Because the stat that really matters is what percentage of pre-elderly disabled requiring longterm medical care get that way from MC accidents..and what percentage of that could be avoided with better gear including helmets.

    AMA stats may be about as manipulated as NRA stats…

    • CruisingTroll

      “I’d bet the number is cherry-picked.” – Soooo, cherry picking invalidates the argument, right?

      “Because the stat that really matters is what percentage of pre-elderly disabled requiring longterm
      medical care get that way from MC accidents and what percentage of that could be avoided with better gear including helmets.” i.e. the stat that YOU just cherry picked.

      • Davidabl2

        That kind of “cherry picking” gets into Mark Twain territory in the sense that he said “there lies damned lies, and statistics” He’s taken a number out of context, Medical expenses in crashes vs all medical expenses in society, is not the same thing as percentage of long term care (in the motorcycle riding demography)c that’s due to catastrophic motorcycle injuries.
        I haven’t picked/made up any stats, I’ve just suggested what would be the relevant figures to look at and compare..

        • Diego Martinez

          The problem with arguing with these fools is that they drag you down and then beat you with experience. I agree with you, the statistics noted by the AMA are misleading at best, and a false flag at worst. If you want to decrease the spending on medical for people that have had motorcycle accidents without helmets, you make them wear helmets. The helmet has been demonstrated to increase survivabilty in every sort of accident. Simple. This has nothing to do with personal responsibility, but with saving healthcare costs. Why do you think the ACA was implemented? To make healthcare accessible, eliminate the costs incurred by the uninsured, and stop profiteering by health insurance companies. And I find it oddly satisfying that it pisses of Republicans and Libertarians to no end. The only thing more satisfying would be to watch the aforementioned people be ticketed or crash, to then ride by with the biggest, smuggest grin on my face…

    • Michael Howard

      There are a great many non-riders who consider ANY motorcycle license plate a “Darwin Plate”.

      It boggles my mind the number of riders who are totally OK with forcing other riders to wear a helmet simply because they, themselves, think it’s a great idea. What happens when enough safety-conscioius citizens decide that motorcycles in general are too dangerous and finally get legislation passed that outlaws them? Think it can’t happen? Remember ATCs (those balloon-tired three-wheeled All-Terrain Cycles in the 70′s)? Know why they stopped making them? Because they were deemed too dangerous and were banned.

  • John

    Sir Lancelot: We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.

    Sir Galahad: I don’t think I was.

    Sir Lancelot: Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril.

    Sir Galahad: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.

    Sir Lancelot: No, it’s too perilous.

    Sir Galahad: Look, it’s my duty as a knight to sample as much peril as I can.

    Sir Lancelot: No, we’ve got to find the Holy Grail. Come on.

    Sir Galahad: Oh, let me have just a little bit of peril?

    Sir Lancelot: No. It’s unhealthy.

    Sir Galahad: I bet you’re gay.

    Sir Lancelot: Am not.

    • pdad13

      Thank you. Possibly my favorite piece of comedic dialog. Deep down, I’m a nerd.

    • Diego Martinez

      You sir, win all of today’s internets!

  • kentaro

    Why is our government always trying to take away our rights?

    • John

      Because of cruiser face. It must be stopped.

      • CruisingTroll

        Winner!!

    • Send Margaritas

      Next, Liberals mandate helmet laws for Pedestrians.

      • Diego Martinez

        Wow. I am flabbergasted by your petulance and obstinacy.

        • Send Margaritas

          Typical. When your ideas have no merit, try name calling.When somebody else just decides that ‘motorcycles are unsafe’, and takes your right to ride one away, will you be ‘flabbergasted’ that you led them down this slippery slope?

  • Adam N.

    Please, make them wear helmets, and enforce enforce sound legislation. The worst thing about motorcycling is being lumped in with loud piped helmetless idiots.

    • John

      Oh, right, so when idiots all wear helmets, we’ll all freaking look alike. Brilliant.

      • Piglet2010

        This is the biggest reason I opposed lid laws – easy to identify the idiots.

        Loud pipe laws on the other hand keep idiots from infringing on our freedom from excessive noise.

        • Mykola

          Here’s a catchy slogan I heard:
          Loud Pipes Lose Rights

  • John

    It’s not a choice between freedom and safety, it’s between freedom and not-freedom.

    Freedom does not prevent safety.

    • Davidabl2

      ??

      • John

        Freedom doesn’t mean you’re going to risk your life, so the headline is a false choice. You can have a free society that it very safe. For instance, the drug war has killed more people than drugs ever did. So, freedom not only gives you the freedom to risk, it also gives you the freedom to choose even safer way of doings things, things that may be prohibited right now.

        • CruisingTroll

          “For instance, the drug war has killed more people than drugs ever did.” – False.

          While I agree with your basic point, it would be better phrased as “Freedom doesn’t mean you MUST risk your life.”

          • John

            The drug war is one of the reasons drugs are so bloody dangerous, and aside from causing up to thousands of deaths each year amongst dealers, buyers, and people that just got in the way, you have all of the people who have died because of the way drugs are extra potent now because they are banned rather than regulated.

            • Davidabl2

              We’d have to add in the 1000′s of dead in Columbia and Mexico..at least the ones who were innocent bystanders and not traffickers themselves.

              • John

                Even the traffickers might have been law abiding citizens had there not been a drug war. Most people get sucked into it with the slippery slope.

                • Davidabl2

                  That would be particularly true in Colombia, where a full-scale civil war was financed for decades with drug money(on both sides)
                  And in the last year or two the cartels have killed people at random to send a message to the authorities and society in general

              • John
                • Davidabl2

                  Thanks,I’ll watch it for sure.

            • CruisingTroll

              There is no rational reason for regulating drugs that does not also justify outlawing them. You’re only talking about a matter of degrees. Simply put, if we’re going to take the approach that people have a right to put whatever they want into their body, then there is zero justification for regulating it for safety. If the dopers and smokers want to get high, then why the heck should I as a taxpayer care if a few hundred of them off themselves every day as a result?

              • John

                That’s absurd. By that standard, anything that is regulated should be outlawed. Especially alcohol and motorcycles and cars.

                • CruisingTroll

                  Well, first off, we know that alcohol and cars and motorcycles all HAVE been outlawed, or ARE outlawed someplace. So perhaps it isn’t so absurd after all?
                  More importantly, there are good reasons for regulating and/or outlawing those things. The reason YOU offered, safety of the users, is the absurdity.
                  I’ll repeat the simple concept: IF a person has a right to put whatever mind/mood altering subtances into their body (which you seem to endorse), THEN they are 100% responsible for the consequences. Responsibility goes hand in hand with authority.

                • John

                  If you regulate something with a light hand, you can have some control over it and create a better outcome. If you try to ban something, or over regulate it, you lose control and create crime and violence. But for instance, one can differentiate between something like marijuana (which has no appeal to me) because it doesn’t have physically addictive properties and doesn’t result in death, and heroin, which is incredibly addictive to, apparently, all humans, and frequently results in death. Just like I shouldn’t be in the business of selling plutonium pancakes, because the product is damaging or deadly in normal use, not just from accidents,

              • Piglet2010

                Regulating for purity and truth in labeling is very different from regulating use.

                • CruisingTroll

                  No and yes. Regulating for purity is no different than regulating use. Truth in labeling, on the other hand, goes directly to the matter of fraud, which is a legitimate gov’t concern.

  • HammSammich

    “Medical opinions vary regarding the safety of helmet use, and the potential injury from their use or non-use.”
    This is an example of false balance.
    “Medical opinions” do not “vary” on the efficacy of helmets. The science solidly supports helmet use, and the only people arguing against it are libertarians citing skewed studies with no data that is newer than 1996. Not because they think riding helmetless is safer, but because they are philosophically opposed to mandatory helmet laws. We can certainly have a discussion on that philosophy, and perhaps the protection that helmets offer should NOT be mandatory in our society, but the science isn’t in question.

    • CruisingTroll

      The SCIENCE isn’t in question. The representation of it is simply incomplete. It is a verifiable fact that helmets CAN and HAVE caused SOME injuries in crashes, physics can be a bitch. The mandatory helmet crew usually overlook or even worse, try to whitewash this fact away, which gives the anti-helmet crusaders reason to believe that there’s a more sinister agenda afoot, otherwise why would the helmet jihadists be lying? The reality is that in 98%+ of crashes where the helmet makes a difference, it makes a POSITIVE difference. Note, I’m be generous to the anti-helmet folks, as I suspect the real rate is more like 99.95% or so. Very small, but a real number when you’re talking 100,000 accidents a year.

      A similar, but even less known dynamic occurs with smoking. Did you know that smoking PREVENTS lung cancer? Yup, it does. There are some forms of lung cancer that smokers NEVER get. So, should we all start smoking? Duh, no. Because for every case of non-smokers only lung cancer, there’s 50 cases of smoker’s only lung cancer. The COMPLETE presentation is that smoking prevents A FEW cancers and causes A LOT of cancers.

      So, if one wants to reduce one’s NET risk, stop smoking and wear a helmet.

    • John

      I’m a libertarian and I know for a fact helmets save lives. But I just don’t need a bureaucrat to tell me that.

      I also know there are times when I rationally take the extra risk to ride a few blocks at 25mph without one. Because I’m a big boy.

      FWIW, I actually feel like I am more aware and can see/hear better my surroundings at low speeds without a helmet, which makes it less likely I would need on. Yes, a car might fly out of nowhere and slam into me, but I can sense that car coming more easily without the helmet acting as a barrier to my senses.

      • HammSammich

        I fully appreciate your libertarian position on Helmet laws – and we can have a legitimate disagreement on the limits of personal freedom in our society, but I am specifically talking about the pseudo-scientific arguments made by ABATE and the AMA (see http://lic.abateflorida.com/Library/Library/TruthAboutHelmetLaws.pdf) that the author is referencing in the quote. His statement falsely portrays the situation as if there is a real controversy about the efficacy of helmets. As you are clearly aware, there is clearly not.

        ABATE and the AMA are patently wrong when they make such arguments, and doing so only overshadows and calls into question strength of the libertarian philosophy, by which they claim to adhere.

        As I mentioned previously – I don’t want the feds involved in helmet laws either, so we’re at least partially on the same side here…I apologize if I painted all libertarians with the same brush as the AMA and ABATE there, I should have qualified it better.

        • John

          Thanks. Pretty sure those folks would know a libertarian from a librarian.

  • Davidabl2

    “Use a cellphone-go to jail”

  • CruisingTroll

    I am having a certain amount of difficulty placing my finger on where in the Constitution it authorizes the Federal government to poke it’s nose into this matter.

    • John

      It’s right between “War on Drugs” and “Social Security”

      • Diego Martinez

        Very nicely put, and it’s guaranteed to leave CruisingTroll scratching his head :p

        • John

          Pretty sure that flew straight over your head, but thanks anyway!

      • CruisingTroll

        Emanations and penumbras, it’s emanations and penumbras all the way down.

        • John

          “Dear Congress, if you imagine I’m wearing a helmet, I’ll imagine that you have the authority to mandate it”.

  • Piglet2010

    “…the biggest gang of scumbags to walk the earth since the days of the Third Reich.”

    Did you forget that Chairman Mao oversaw the murder of 50 million Chinese? Or Pol Pot exterminating almost the entire middle class of Cambodia? And that Stalin did not die until 1953?

    • CruisingTroll

      Well, technically, Uncle Joe and the Chairman were both around doing their thing at the same time as the Third Reich, so Stuki is right. And seriously, it can be pretty tough to tell one blood soaked socailist totatilatarian from another, especially when they’re doing it “for our own good.”
      Must have frosted some old Nazi’s cookies though when they realized that they weren’t even the “Master Race” when it came to genocide, coming in a distant third to their Commie socialist brethren, AND getting outmaneuvered in the propaganda wars.

      • Piglet2010

        Uh no. The Third Reich ended several years before the Communists won the civil war in China, and approximately 10 years before the Gulag was mostly dismantled in the Soviet Union.

        Of course, all sides were funded by the international banking cartel – war is very profitable to those who collect interest on the expense of it all.

        • CruisingTroll

          Stalin got started in 1924 (if we ignore his role in the Russian Revolution), before Hitler and his scumbags mattered. He kept on killin’ on until kicking the bucket in 1952.

          Mao got started in the thug biz during 1920s also, but he didn’t really get his genocide going until the late 30s.

          Both contemporaries of Hitler, both outlasted Der Fuhrer, and both certainly qualify for membership in the “biggest gang of scumbags to walk the earth since the days of the Third Reich”, but only by virtue of outliving Hitler. Stalin gets membership in the “biggest gang of scumbags to walk the earth since BEFORE the Third Reich.”

          I get your point though, and yes, Stuki’s comparison is a bit over the top, to put it mildly. Greedy revenoooers using traffic law don’t come anywhere close to Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Viet Cong, Robert Mugabe, Idi Amin, Fidel Castro, Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-il, Saddam Hussein, etc, etc, i.e. the various perpetrators of democide responsible for killing twice as many people in the second half of the 20th century as were killed in the first half. The above gang of Big Scumbags did their bloody deeds AFTER the scumbags of the Third Reich were consigned to the grave.

          80,000,000+ people have been murdered by their OWN governments SINCE World War 2. Deputy Dork writing a bunch of tickets to fatten the town coffers doesn’t exactly qualify for membership in the “biggest gang of scumbags” …

          Membership in A Scumbag Gang, certainly.

  • Dubknot

    With all the different choices of helmets on the market, I don’t get how someone couldn’t find one they like. It’s easy to stay safe when safety happens to be your style.

  • pdad13

    What we really need is a law against stupidity.

    Write your congresspeople, folks.

    • pdad13

      Oh, wait. Then that would make Congress illegal.

      Win/win.

  • Mykola

    Couldn’t care less one way or the other. Where’s our National Lanesplitting Law?

  • Kr Tong

    AMA needs to STFU sometimes.

    • Diego Martinez

      You thought an organization is immune to a complete lack of logic? As the size of an organization grows, it’s collective IQ drops in direct correlation to the former. Here, you see the effects.

      • John

        And that’s why we need to have the largest organization in the world make all the decisions for us. Great argument.

    • NOCHnoch

      Maybe they’re just really concerned that if helmets are mandatory we’ll run out of donor organs

  • Thatmanstu

    So I should be alarmed because a report that hasn’t been completed may issue a recommendation that hasn’t actually been made,for a bill that has never been created,by a sponsor who does not yet exist to become law without any votes ….God,guns,gays(and now helmets)…next thing you know,they are going make me drive on the right hand side of the road and stop at red lights….There are ongoing and very
    real freedom and liberty issues involving our privacy,as well as the right to clean air and water and doctors…but a freakin’ helmet law, genuine or fabricated political hackery like this, is not one of them,

    • John

      What do you mean by a right to clean air, clean water and to doctors? No one has the right to deny you these things, but that’s different from the right to have them provided to you.

  • Fava d’Aronne

    “Medical opinions vary regarding the safety of helmet use, and the potential injury from their use or non-use. ” Really?

    • Diego Martinez

      Only if you are a science hating Tea-tard. I find it funny that they can even find an opinion that doesn’t note that survivability is increased by wearing a helmet, no matter what sort of accident occurs.

      • John

        And the neo-socialism comes pouring out……..

  • Justin McClintock

    The federal government can go F*** themselves. It’s not, nor has it ever been their job to protect me from myself. They may THINK that’s their job, but that’s just further proof that they’re all idiots.

    That said, you’ll never catch me on a bike without a helmet. But that decision should be mine and mine alone.

  • TechGuy5489

    I wouldn’t give time or money to an organization that fights against something like this. I’m pretty sure there are more important things to do than fight against a universal helmet law even if the fight is supposedly a matter of principle.

    I’m sure people will play the slippery slope card but there are better things the AMA could be doing for riders.

  • wbizzle

    Thanks for the comment and good point. I think I saw you quoting Mark Twain somewhere on here, nice job by you!

    I agree that making the link I did was problematic. Especially, with my example being such a sensitive subject. I was trying to make a point regarding the simplistic idea that when other people cost us money through taxes or whatever, we want to legislate their behavior so readily, especially when we already disagree with that behavior. I hear that argument a fair bit, and I try to have a somewhat healthy skepticism when I do.

    My example would thankfully be extremely difficult to enforce, so my argument is a little foolish in that way, but there are places that regulate how many children a couple could have (I am not saying the US is anything like those nations but I hear lots of talk of massive overpopulation), and seems that having a child is a fundamental right and not a privilege. So it makes me think that while difficult to enforce maybe governments would try any number of things.

    It is interesting that Ca defines driving as privilege. Now that you mention, I am sure other places probably do the same. I think governments framing driving in this way is problematic. Freedom of movement is said to be an important part and some say a fundamental right of living in “liberal democracies” and I feel legal forms of transportation, like autos and bikes increase the likelihood of individuals to exercise that right. When a government defines a right as a privilege in that way I have a problem with that.

    What do you think about my alcohol example? It seems that having drinking age makes that a privilege the government allows, that could be potentially regulated more or taxed more, in some way, on the individual level. I am not advocating that in any way however.

    Thanks

    • Davidabl2

      I’m gonna guess on this one but it seems like regulating minors access to alcohol is
      probably done on the basis of informed consent -the minors not being mature enough to make the decision in a rational way-and when as adults presumably they they can then the state steps out of the issue.
      The rationales for regulating various other “social ills” are established in other ways,I’d think

    • Diego Martinez

      The problem with the freedom of movement argument is that you are operating a motor vehicle on publicly constructed and maintained roads, and guess who built them? Driving is considered a privilege due to the necessity for testing to confirm you are able to operate that motor vehicle safely so as not to endanger other pilots. If you start by considering driving as a right, what is to stop that short sighted old biddy from getting on the freeway and causing a pileup, all because she is a crappy pilot? Besides, start crying about your freedom of movement when they outlaw walking.

  • 200 Fathoms

    It’s called the social contract. Every other modernized country in the world gets it, with exception of the United States. We must know better.

    • Diego Martinez

      Like I’ve said before, if Mr. Troll wants to move somewhere he doesn’t have to contribute, he can go to Somalia then. No taxes, police, or much of anything out there.

      • CruisingTroll

        You’re confusing me with an anarchist…. you are mistaken.

    • CruisingTroll

      hmmm, perhaps we do. After all, we’ve had the highest standard of living since before this country was founded. The United States is the #1 destination in the world for immigrants.

      See, there’s this funny thing about the “social contract”. Americans believe in it also, very strongly. The difference is what we thing it entails, and especially what we think are the best mechanisms for carrying it out.

      • Piglet2010

        The social contract in the US is as follows:

        - Profits are partially socialized, except for the super-rich where they are mostly privatized.
        - Losses are privatized, except for the super-rich, where they are socialized (e.g. corporate and banking “bailouts”).

        • CruisingTroll

          awww, now you’re just being cynical. Not entirely inaccurate, but cynical.

          • Piglet2010

            Look at who has become richer and who has become poorer over the last 40 years, then still try to tell me I am wrong.

            • CruisingTroll

              The standard of living, the only real measure of poverty, has risen in almost every country in the world over the last 40 years, including every single one of the “western democracies”. The poor have become richer. Why should I care that Bill Gates has become “feelthee rich” in the meantime?
              Now, if your objection is that gov’ts are explicitly and implicitly redistributing wealth, I’m with you there.

              • Piglet2010

                Average can be misleading – what is the average weight of one silverback gorilla and 9 Tamarins? All the income gains have gone to the top 1% (and most to the top 0.1%) over the last 40 years.

                A rising tide drowns those without boats.

  • William Connor

    I don’t have an issue with the helmets or possible helmet law. I don’t like more federal laws frankly but a uniform helmet safety standard and consistent application of the law would be nice. Sadly the Government does neither of these things well, which is as much a reason to be involved with how it gets implemented or designed than anything.

  • reijin64

    Australia has had this for a long time, nobody seems to care.

    • Diego Martinez

      Thank you for being the voice of reason. If you care about having to wear a helmet, your dumbass should not be on a bike.

      • John

        That’s not the point at all. What if your helmet rolls off a cliff? Should you be forced to wait until someone rescues you? Or risk being fine or jailed? What if you want to ride in a 3mph parade? What if you want to pull your bike from your driveway to the street to wash it? Should the neighbor cop come over and give you a $200 fine for driving 3′ on the road? Because it would happen. I know, because I got pulled over and fined for lifting my visor at a stoplight and then closing it half a second after I let go of the clutch. Is that the kind of petty country you want to live in? Because there are plenty of those already.

        • The Right Fight

          People are supposedly too stupid to make their own choices.

          We also have head injuries from automobile accidents. I guess the same logic about bikes should apply to cars … people inside of vehicles should be required to wear helmets.

          While the government is busy writing that law … let’s also make a child abuse law for transporting children without a helmet. Then, if people violate that law, the government can take their kids away and raise them “properly”.

          To paraphrase … If you care about having to wear a helmet, your dumbass should not be in a vehicle. Right?

          /sarcasm

  • Diego Martinez

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we can’t have nice things. Because we have a libertarian and a republican arguing against the overall good, more than likely calling themselves good christians all the while, and just generally lowering the tone of the conversation with their misinformed drivel.

  • Diego Martinez

    If you care about having to wear a helmet, your dumbass should not be on a bike to begin with.

  • Diego Martinez

    “Medical opinions vary regarding the safety of helmet use, and the potential injury from their use or non-use.” Ok, who exactly says that a helmet is unsafe to use? Studies have shown time after time, helmets make riding a safer endeavor. Just read the Hurt Report, it’s all right there, and 30 years ago, before the ECE helmet certification improved the performance of a helmet in a crash.

  • Adam

    I’m a “All the gear, all the time” guy but the national law seems a bit nanny state to me. I understand there is a cost associated with the increased injuries so I say have the option to pay extra when you register your motorcycle for the ability not to wear a helmet. Get a different colored plate or sticker so the police can easily tell the difference. You get the freedom to ride without a helmet, I get the freedom to keep my money when 1% of you turn in to a vegetable after a head injury. $100-200/year.

    • Bobby Bob

      Nanny state? Who implemented the seat belt law? Who implemented air bags? Who implemented crash safety standards? And every time, people complained about the nanny state. NONE of those things would have occurred if left to the auto manufacturers. And now they are all standard and we’d be upset if a new car was available without those things. So what’s different about the government instituting a helmet law? There is no credible study that shows that helmets don’t reduce the severity of possible injuries and that they don’t save lives. Hell, I personally think that such a law should also mandate full-face helmets, jacket, boots and gloves.

  • CruisingTroll

    Several problems with this line of argument.

    First off, what of the right proper bastard who has no friends or family (aka what Diego Martinez would likely consider to be a “typical KKKonservative Douchebag”). Do they get exempted from the law? If so, how is a cop supposed to know that KKKD is exempt before hassling him? Also, what business is it that KKKD doesn’t have anybody who gives a rat’s ass for him?

    Second, what if the Friends and Family are KKKDouchebags themselves? Maybe they DON’T deserve to have me around? Would you say that the family of Fred Phelps, leader of Westboro Baptist (and, btw, for Diego Martinez’s edification, a Democrat) deserve to have him around? Especially since his family participates in his behavior?

    Third, apply your argument to AIDS. Let’s have the cops checking to make sure that every infected person is using a condom…. in fact, because we can’t be sure at any given moment who is and isn’t infected, the cops should be checking EVERYBODY to make sure any sex is safe sex. In fact, since more than twice as many people die in this country from AIDS/HIV, we should put twice as much effort into it.

    Last, “has consequences for so many other people” is, in this context, an open ended, unlimited plea for gov’t intrusion into EVERYTHING. No limiting principle. Perhaps you have some limiting principles in mind that you haven’t articulated.

    Oh, and I wear a helmet 99.9999% of the time. I would say 100% of the time, but I actually rode around the block once without one just to see what it was like, and I’ve been known to move my bike in/out of my driveway on occasion w/o a helmet.

    • eddi

      I was speaking from the heart not the head up there. Consider it a plea to people to self-regulate better. In all honesty, helmet and seat belt laws leave me cold. From what I’ve seen here in Oregon, the seat belt law is just an income source. And the helmet law encourages helmets with minimal compliance.

      • CruisingTroll

        Understood. The plea from the heart is a worthy one, and one that I make as well. Unfortunately, what’s being discussed here isn’t a plea from the heart made by one person to another, but the application of government force.

        The end is a worthy one, the means, well, that seems to be the stumbling block.

  • BunnyFaber

    I don’t understand the point of the helmet law (although I always wear one), if the Government wants to outlaw being unsafe we wouldn’t be allowed to consume sugar or trans-fats either. Oh, wait … :-(

  • luxlamf

    I find it funny that they are harping on this Subject and not focusing more on the fact its almost Impossible to fail a driving “Test” in this country and once you get one you have it forever. I would like to see a better and more effective driving exam process for both Auto and Bike (a friend of mine recently bought a Bus sized vehicle to travel the country in, he didn’t have to get a special license to drive it nor do any of the people who rent 24′ and large moving trucks. Amazing to me.) While on that perhaps a test every 10-15 years to show you can Still drive? Or how about what a Joke the DOT sticker is? how many people do I see riding around in 1/2 DOT certified helmets? Snell etc… are real authorities on this subject, DOT is just another Facade in place to look like something is being done. I am not for mandatory helmet laws, to each their own. I am for better drivers on the road.

    • Piglet2010

      Wes Siler is going to tell you ECE 22.05 is better than Snell M2010.

  • Mr. White

    Hey, if you’re dumb enough not to wear a helmet then go for it. I don’t think the federal government should interfere.

  • Kimber_TLE

    Why stop with motorcycles? According to the CDC at least 1.7 million Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) occur every year, killing more than 52,000 people, and costing use over $75 billion (with a “B”) in health care costs and lost wages.

    And the numero uno cause-o? Falling down!

    Let’s demand a helmet on every head of every person, 24 hours a day!

  • appliance5000

    Looks like a couple of people hit one too many poles without a helmet on. My sympathies.

  • CruisingTroll

    Hitler led the National Socialists, so of course he wasn’t a socialist.
    Stalin articulated a theory “Socialism in One Country”, which become State policy of the Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics, so of course he wasn’t a socialist.
    I encourage you to research Mao, you can start with “Agrarian Socialism”.
    YOU may try to draw a line so tightly around socialism as to exclude Stalin, Hitler and Mao, but unfortunately for you, all three of them proudly declared themselves to be socialists, Hitler even doing so with a capital “S”, and were recognized as such during their lives.
    I’m sure it’s comforting to believe that the varieties of democratic socialism found in Scandanavia and Germany encompass the whole range of socialism. It just isn’t so, not even close.

    • Piglet2010

      Well, the Labour Party in Great Britain supports neoliberalism (look it up) and not labor rights. Proper names are meaningless in this context.

      • John

        Seems to me that neo-liberalism and neo-socialism are the only two ideologies in play anymore. In one, the government uses industry to benefit government. In the other, industry uses government to benefit industry. Hard to tell the difference these days, really.

        • Davidabl2

          Interesting idea. It’d be the logical development of what President Ike called the
          “Military-Industrial Complex” in his famous farewell address of 1960.

    • Davidabl2

      National Socialism was never seen as having anything “socialist” about it except the name.
      And the name was adopted in emulation of the Mussolini’s Fascist Party which also claimed to be ‘socialist.” Neither ever took anything away from the bankers and industrialists that bankrolled them..although in both countries those folks discovered that they’d unleashed
      a Frankenstein monster :-)

      • John

        To the contrary, neo-socialism (or fascism) is simply exchanging ownership for control via regulation and taxation. It’s simply outsourced socialism. It is what socialists do when they realize pure socialism is a failure. It is a reaction to great wealth and technological advancement suddenly being created. Rather than leave in place the free market that created these things, they suddenly desire to control it for the “general welfare” (which is not what “general welfare” means).

        • Davidabl2

          I’d recommend that you spend an hour with wikipedia.

          It could be that like the guy says in Princess Bride: “I do not think the words you say mean what you think they say.” ;-)

          • John

            Thanks, but I think I have this.

      • CruisingTroll

        “As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer….

        Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a
        society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) ”

        http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Fascism.html

        I encourage you to read the article on socialism as well.

        http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Socialism.html

  • pdad13

    Wow, what a compassionate, egalitarian soul you are. You’ve done nothing but spew hate all over this entire thread.

    You really exemplify ignorance. Nicely done.

  • Send Margaritas
  • Davidabl2

    It’s called “Social Democracy” rather than “Socialism” and it has it’s own history.
    It’s worth a visit to Wikipedia to look up both of them. I don’t want to revisit the whole thing

  • John

    There is nothing more to the story, except that the cop was falling me because he had a “suspicion” about me. So he followed me and pulled me over and wrote me a ticket for that, angry that there was nothing else he had. The judge dismissed it. I suspect you don’t ride your dirtbike up and down the block in front of a cop, because he would “care”. People get brain damage from being hit by cars crossing the street, so let’s make pedestrians wear helmets.

  • John

    Those countries aren’t socialist either. In fact, Germany is practically neo-liberal compared to Russia, early Germany and certainly China. Some of those have some socialist features, but are more neo-socialist than anything. We’re almost as socialist as they are now, we’re just much worse at it because they don’t have a state government and federal government (though it’s coming). These countries are like our states, and don’t have a large government sucking 30% of everyone’s income.

  • MK

    My Grandmothers Brother was anti-helmet, and died from head injuries as the result of an accident while on his way to an Anti-helmet rally. He was not wearing a helmet.

    I ride my Motorcycle everyday 70-90 miles to get to and from work. I live in California and have no problem with the helmet law here.
    I visited Colorado a few months ago and saw a number of people riding motorcycles. Some were smarter than others and wore helmets.
    There is Zero proof that riding without a helmet is ever safer than riding with one. While I don’t think forcing people to be safe is going to make the world a better place, I would suggest the government takes this a different direction. Get into a crash while not wearing a Helmet, give up your rights to any health care. Weed out the morons who do not understand basic physics.

  • josfe2

    I ride a motorcycle, and always have my helmet on. I really don’t understand why the AMA or any other group would lobby against helmet laws…Not only is it a proven fact that helmets save lives in the event of an accident, it can reduce the social costs that tax payers have to pay when a motorcyclist without a helmet is involved in an accident… the medics, the officers, the fire trucks, the funeral, cleaning up the roadway, the potential that the person survived the accident but is now disabled and has to live on federal assistance….
    I understand that people want to preserve their liberty and freedoms, but it comes at a cost to others in your community.

    Perhaps the solution is not to mandate helmets, but give tax deductions for public services & insurance discounts to those who wear them.

  • Don Fraser

    Read the NHTSA report, population of states that require helmets is about equal to population of states that don’t, yet deaths are 10 times higher in states that don’t, while fatalities in cars are down, motorcycle deaths continue to climb. Military has required hi-vis clothing and rider training for their personnel because of death and injury rates. Freedom comes with responsibility.