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Let Those Who Ride Decide

“I disagree completely when government says that because of the number of head injuries from accidents with motorcycles that (a person) should be forced to wear a helmet,” declarethed Ronaldo Maximus many years ago. “I happen to think he’s stupid if he rides a motorcycle without a helmet, but that’s one of our sacred rights – to be stupid.”

There’s only one flaw I can find in Reagan’s logic: It might not be so stupid to ride a motorcycle without a helmet after all.

The best argument against mandatory helmet laws is individual choice and freedom. Let those who ride decide. After all, this is the United States of America; supposedly the freest nation on the planet. But the personal liberty argument falls on deaf ears when it comes to mommy-knows-best nanny-staters. They’re gonna protect us from ourselves whether we like it not.

Here’s the problem: While helmets often can prevent having your skull cracked open, resulting in a major grey-matter spill on the sidewalk, the added weight of a government-mandated motorcycle helmet makes it more likely that you’ll break your neck. Some choice.

The fact is motorcycle fatalities average 12% in all states whether helmets are mandated or not. Nevertheless, the mommy-knows-best crowd continues to advance the fallacious argument that folks injured in motorcycle accidents become a “public burden” for taxpayers. You know, like illegal aliens.

Sorry. Cheap shot.

Nevertheless, Helmet Law Facts by Warren Woodward completely blows this argument away:

“According to the National Center for Health Statistics,” writes Woodward, “approximately 1.16% of total U.S. Health costs are attributable to motor vehicle accidents, and the costs associated with the treatment of motorcyclist injuries account for less that 0.001% of total U.S. health care costs. Only a portion of that less-than-0.001% cost is attributable to un-helmeted motorcyclists, and the majority of that cost is paid by privately purchased health insurance. What remains, spread across the taxpayer base – which includes millions of taxpaying motorcyclists – is insignificant.”

In addition, some 80 percent of all highway head fatalities occur in automobile accidents, despite the use of seat belts, which helps explain why most brain trauma deaths are in cars. So if safety and minimizing taxpayer exposure are the objectives, why aren’t we mandating helmet use in passenger cars, hmmm?

Here’s why: Because wearing a helmet restricts vision and impairs hearing, making it more difficult to hear a police siren or screeching brakes or a mother-in-law in the back yelling at you to slow down.

Would somebody please square this circle for me? If helmets make it more likely for an automobile driver to be in an accident, how does forcing a motorcyclist to wear one help prevent him or her from being in an accident?

Nevada Assemblyman Don Gustavson (R-Reno) has introduced a bi-partisan bill (AB 300) to repeal the state’s mommy-knows-best helmet law. Gustavson’s bill would allow helmet choice for motorcyclists 21 years or older who have completed an approved motorcycle safety course and have at least one year of motorcycle driving experience under their belt.

Standing in the bill’s way will be Nevada State Sen. Dennis Nolan (RINO-Las Vegas). Not only does Nolan oppose repeal of the helmet law, he’s the prime mover-and-shaker behind the use of revenue-producing red-light cameras, making failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense, a national ID card, tax hikes up the wazoo, and requiring children to use booster seats until they go to college or get married, whichever comes first.

There is no reason for any self-respecting, freedom-loving American to support these mandatory helmet laws. If the objective, as the nanny-staters would have us believe, is to make everyone safer rather than control our lives, why not just ban motorcycles (and bicycles and skateboards) altogether and lower the highway speed limit for automobiles to 25 mph?

Yikes! Better not give them any ideas.