The Politics Behind Helmet Laws

Scripps Howard News Service released another article concerning biker deaths, this time focusing on helmet law repeal. The reporter corre...

Scripps Howard News Service released another article concerning biker deaths, this time focusing on helmet law repeal.

The reporter correlates a rise in motorcycle fatalities with a rise in helmet law repeals.

Of course, the reporter doesn't mention that there are also a lot more people riding motorcycles these days as well, and doesn't mention why bikers are getting into accidents.

But the article does dive into the politics behind the helmet law repeals, and its history. It's good reading just for that purpose.

Some interesting quotes:
Yet motorcyclists have become so passionately opposed to mandatory helmet laws that they've formed powerful state and national lobbies, persuaded Congress to muzzle federal highway safety experts and convinced lawmakers in 30 states to roll
back their statutes.
Wow! If bikers are so politically persuasive, why don't we have safer roads?
Helmets spoil the ride for many motorcycle enthusiasts. They say they love the feeling of freedom as the wind whips in their hair. Those killed in wrecks are overwhelmingly white and disproportionately middle-aged and divorced men, according to federal death records.
Haven't we heard this before?
"Many of the supporters of repealing the helmet laws are very effective. They are very well educated and well funded. And they have a single issue," Cosgrove said. "They present this not as a safety issue, but as a matter of states rights and individual freedom. They are very good. I wish they were on our side."
It isn't too hard to understand states rights and individual freedom, maybe that's the problem with our country today.
"People just don't care about safety. And these guys have a pretty good lobby," he said.
This is probably the biggest misconception about bikers. As bikers, we all know we're more concerned about safety than anyone else on the road. But it's not just about wearing helmets. It's the other drivers on the road as well. It's not about falling off the bike, but about getting hit by someone.

As far as bikers having a pretty good lobby, obviously the cagers have a better one, or else we wouldn't have helmet laws period.

If people like this reporter are so concerned about motorcycle safety, let's talk about road improvements, reducing traffic congestion, and going after trucks that don't cover up and secure their cargo.

Telling bikers to put on more safety gear is the cheap solution for cagers. Instead of busting the cagers driving irresponsibly, they make the bikers wear helmets. It's like saying, "Yeah, we know we're a big problem, but we'd rather have you watch out for us instead".

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  1. The fight against helmet laws is such a huge campaign targeted at such a very small portion of the problem. I ride a bike to and from work daily in all kinds of weather and for recreation purposes as well. I have been riding since 1973. As a "true biker" and not a "sunday go-to-meetin' harley rider", I think I am qualified to speak on this subject.
    First- why is it so easy for these so-called bikers to allow seat-belt laws in every state, then cry about their rights when someone mentions helmets? A guy driving along surrounded by two tons of truck has to be restrained, but some shirtless, shorts wearing idiot on a crotch rocket has the right to make highway hash out of himself.
    Second- "Cagers" who drive irresponsibly are a danger to all, not just bikers. When I drive a car I have to drive defensively to avoid accidents. I have to drive as if I am the only one on the road who knows how to drive, much less obeys traffic laws. Murphy's laws apply to anything on the highway. I live in Myrtle Beach, SC and see both Biker weekends every year. It ain't just cars that have a problem. Many of the motorcycle riders I see not only ride irresponsibly, but very dangerously. This year two of the accidents which resulted in deaths in our city were caused by motorcycles. Motorcyclists need to stop crying about "cagers" and start taking responsibly for themselves. If you ride defensively you should be able to forsee danger from cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles or pedestrians who are about to cause you a problem.
    Finally- Anyone with half a brain to protect will see the need for protection and wear a helmet without being told to. The fact that most motoryclists won't, just proves my point. Let 'em be free, we don't need ignorance in the gene pool.

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  2. Both the Article and the 1st comment hit it on the head. Bottom Line is better education for both the rider and the cager. AWith better education hopefully comes the understanding that each and every person out htere is resposible and accountable for their actions. If enough people took responsability for themselves we would not need stupid laws on the books. By law when a person turns 21 they are considered "a responsible adult capable of making their own life governing descicions". Our society has become a bunch of spoiled pampered brats that thinks they can do what ever they want and someone else will always clean up their shit

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