Mother Jones article: Helmet laws and motorcyclists - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Angry Mother Jones article: Helmet laws and motorcyclists

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/...ate-law?page=1

This was in Mother Jones today:
"In recent years, even as deaths on the nation's roads and highways have fallen to their lowest levels in more than a half-century, motorcyclists are dropping like flies. Fatal crashes involving motorcycles have more than doubled since 1997—they now account for 1 in 7 traffic deaths, killing some 4,500 bikers (PDF) a year.

So how are riders' groups responding to the carnage? In short, by lobbying Congress to make regulators leave them alone.

If the bikers have it their way, the nation's chief traffic cop, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), will no longer be able to fund state police checkpoints to ensure that motorcyclists are wearing helmets that actually work—as opposed to the stylish-but-useless novelty numbers many bikers wear to get around state helmet laws."

I didn't really appreciate the tone of the article, it seemed to me to paint all motorcyclists as uncaring weekend warriors, but the reality that motorcycle groups are proactively lobbying for less helmet laws in upsetting to me. I've never understand the argument about being free on the roads. They are public roads paid with the public's funding. If they can make seatbelts a law and require speed limits it only makes sense that they require things like helmet use. Ride on your private land or off-road and it's acceptable for you to feel it's your decision, but that's not the case on roadways. The worst thing about the article though was the comments. Apparently all motorcyclists are loud-ass Harley wannabes who should be left for dead on the street. Jeez!

Seriously though, rather than wasting money lobbying against helmet laws how about spending some money on advertising helmet safety and facts. Helmets DO NOT limit your line of sight and so on and so on.

Rant over. For now.
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post #2 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 01:20 PM
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I did not read motherjones. There is a price for everthing! Our freedom! In general! And people die!





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post #3 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 01:47 PM
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Obviously I have no idea what the circumstances are that are killing all of us off at such an alarming rate, but some of the stupid **** I see here in CT makes me wonder what some riders are thinking? First off, is there really any need to be screaming down RT. 2 on one wheel at nearly 100 mph? I doubt it. And when they are killed their friends all say " "what a tragedy" it was was. Bull ****! Or the idiots that run around shirtless and with shorts on. That's real smart. See what you look like after they scrape you off of the pavement. Sorry to be so cynical, but in so many cases nobody is to blame except the riders themselves.
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post #4 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 02:12 PM
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Well there's another aspect to this that doesn't seem to get talked about a lot. That is those riders that choose to circumvent the laws and ride with illegal helmets... when they crash and mess themselves up really badly... you know who pays for that?

We do. If they don't have the insurance to pay those medical bills, Joe Taxpayer is going to pay higher insurance rates etc etc, so those bills can be paid.

I really do agree the helmet laws are a very good comparison to seat belt laws in a car. They should be enforced. I really don't want to pay a dime for these people that deserve Darwin Awards...
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post #5 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 02:24 PM
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The levels of stupidity among us never ceases to amaze me. Here in Michigan, the mandatory helmet law has turned optional as of a month ago:

http://www.freep.com/article/2012041...xt%7CFRONTPAGE

Essentially, "it lets motorcyclists who are at least 21 years old choose whether to wear a helmet if they carry at least $20,000 in additional medical insurance. They also must have passed a motorcycle safety course or have had their motorcycle endorsement for at least two years."

I have seen every Tom, Dick, and Harry riding around without and I know full well they haven't complied with all the rules. The worst are the idiots that wear the helmet on the turn signal or seat - bunch a good that'll do ya. It's all too tragic when somebody will get scrapped off the road because they chose not to wear proper protection and the reason was "just because" whatever that means. I'm all for freedom of choice and limiting government interaction in our lives, but c'mon, being really stupid has such a high cost. You numbskulls really want to take that chance, really? It gives all bikers a bad rep. I'm a nice guy, don't misrepresent me please...

Excellent what larue said "rather than wasting money lobbying against helmet laws how about spending some money on advertising helmet safety and facts."

BTW, I'm not calling anybody here a numbskull, I'm sure all members here AGATT like all good bikers should.

.
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post #6 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 02:30 PM
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Here in Canada we have no option wear a helmet or don't ride. Even though I do not mind wearing one I resent being forced to.

Interesting the article never indicated the number of bikes on the rode in the study years. Did the doubling in deaths occur due to doulbling in riders? Seems they are counting mopeds in the fatalities. I cannot comment on the increase of moped sales in the US but up here there are a lot more sold now than there were a few years ago.

The story seems to hve a doom and gloom spin to it. To bad they did not post the stats behind the deaths. Just my opinion.

It's not going to work that bothers me, it's the eight hour wait to go riding.
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post #7 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 02:40 PM
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Never been any correlation between rider accidents and increased cost...no study has been preformed but since this is always the argument for the Nanny Staters how about this....we ban fatty foods, smoking, and alcohol ( that worked well). All cost the states more money in medical bills than any motorcycle accidents.

Seat belt laws were forced on the states by the Fed by withholding DOT money if they didn't pass it....Thank god New Hampshire told the Fed they were number one....The only state with enough balls to not be intimidated or bribed by the Fed.

Who gives a rats ass what people wear when they ride...does it diminish your riding if a Harley Guy doesn't were a helmet or a sport rider is wearing a T-shirt....its his or her life to throw away...

The only law I support is for children because they can't make that choice...and the parent can't be trusted to make intelligent ones....

so what laws should we have next....full gear?? ABS??? maybe banning Motorcycles all together is the right answer after all they are pretty dangerous even with ATGATT

Come on down off your high horses and just let people be....what they wear doesn't effect you one bit.

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post #8 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 03:40 PM
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I am not sure about the validity of the interpretation of the statistics in the article. Total number of accidents or deaths is not necesarily an indicator of bad laws or bad behavior. We need to put the stats in context. Accidental deaths per mile riden would be a better way to look at the problem. It is a fact that more people in the US are riding motorcycles. However, many do not consider motorcycling a means of transportation. For many it is a liesure activity. Many riders do not get the right amount of training or experience before they jump on a large displacement heavy machine way above their ability (or common sense) level therefore increasing their risk of an accident. Motorcycles have also improve in performance much faster than the proficiency of motorcyclists. An example of this are the race replica machines commonly available in the market. A race replica machine does not a place on the road (I love them but lets be reasonable. There are not roads for them) and much less in the hands of non professional riders.

My comment about helmet laws.

Helmets save lives and money. Same way that seat belts save lives and save money. Seat betl laws and helmet laws are there to remind us of common sense pratices.

I think that anyone riding without a helmet is because he/she does not have anything to protect. By that I mean a useful brain. Riding without the proper gear is just plain stupid and stupid people should not be allowed to ride since they cost us, smart, responsible people, a lot of money.

Going back on the freedom rationale. I demand my individual freedom and right to keep the fruits of my labor. That is the rationale behind the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment. People should not be deprived from the fruits of their labor. Everytime the emergency services have to scrape a non gear wearing motorcyclist from the road we are all been deprived from the fruits of our labor. For that reason I demand that everyone that rides a motorcycle wear a proper safety equipment so they do not become a burden to me and the society I live.

When a law is passed allowing riders without gear to be left to die on the road when they have an accident that could have been mitigated by proper gear, then they get the freedom ride without it.

ATGATT
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post #9 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 04:27 PM
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Well the list can go on! How many riders are on bicycles? On public streets, mopeds? Skate boards? In the back of pickup trucks? Tricycles? Electric skate boards with a seat? Razor! Swing set? Merry go round? Cars without a top? Boating accidents? Motorized bicycles under 50cc? Electric bikes? Four wheelers ATV's? Street legal?

Eating poorly? Do you think you don't pay for someone who eats poorly?

Who do you think you do not have to pay for?

Who do you not have to pay for? In an bad accident?

I'm for all the gear all the time!





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post #10 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 04:56 PM
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Okay, lets see, this should be easy. Someone on a bike gets into a bad accident. They aren't wearing a helmet and have serious head trauma from the crash.

They don't have insurance, but they get to the hospital with serious internal bleeding. Does the hospital just let them die?

No, they treat them.

You think the hospital just 'eats' the cost?

No, we do. Not complicated at all was it?
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post #11 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 05:17 PM
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Why do some of you guys even ride motorcycles??



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post #12 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larue View Post
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/...ate-law?page=1

This was in Mother Jones today:
"In recent years, even as deaths on the nation's roads and highways have fallen to their lowest levels in more than a half-century, motorcyclists are dropping like flies. Fatal crashes involving motorcycles have more than doubled since 1997—they now account for 1 in 7 traffic deaths, killing some 4,500 bikers (PDF) a year.

So how are riders' groups responding to the carnage? In short, by lobbying Congress to make regulators leave them alone.

If the bikers have it their way, the nation's chief traffic cop, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), will no longer be able to fund state police checkpoints to ensure that motorcyclists are wearing helmets that actually work—as opposed to the stylish-but-useless novelty numbers many bikers wear to get around state helmet laws."

I didn't really appreciate the tone of the article, it seemed to me to paint all motorcyclists as uncaring weekend warriors, but the reality that motorcycle groups are proactively lobbying for less helmet laws in upsetting to me. I've never understand the argument about being free on the roads. They are public roads paid with the public's funding. If they can make seatbelts a law and require speed limits it only makes sense that they require things like helmet use. Ride on your private land or off-road and it's acceptable for you to feel it's your decision, but that's not the case on roadways. The worst thing about the article though was the comments. Apparently all motorcyclists are loud-ass Harley wannabes who should be left for dead on the street. Jeez!

Seriously though, rather than wasting money lobbying against helmet laws how about spending some money on advertising helmet safety and facts. Helmets DO NOT limit your line of sight and so on and so on.

Rant over. For now.
I think you have a really good point there. A few years ago when it became evident that helmets worn while down hill skiing had a significant impact on safety the ski associations launched a public awareness campaign that saw helmet usage dramatically increase in only a few years. Today on most slopes you will see the majority of skiers wearing helmets.

There have been countless studies showing the positive effect of protective gear and helmets, especially full face helmets yet most riders are ignorant of this. Why not spend this money instead on a public awareness campaigns and try and lower the level of fatalities instead. I think the real issue is that these organizations are run by a single segment of the motorcycling community, cruiser riders and are not truly representative of all motorcyclists.
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post #13 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JimToe View Post
Here in Canada we have no option wear a helmet or don't ride. Even though I do not mind wearing one I resent being forced to.

Interesting the article never indicated the number of bikes on the rode in the study years. Did the doubling in deaths occur due to doulbling in riders? Seems they are counting mopeds in the fatalities. I cannot comment on the increase of moped sales in the US but up here there are a lot more sold now than there were a few years ago.

The story seems to hve a doom and gloom spin to it. To bad they did not post the stats behind the deaths. Just my opinion.
There are stats available that show in states that have repealed helmet laws there is a corresponding and large increase in fatalities.
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post #14 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 05:55 PM
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Who do you think you do not have to pay for?
We're already paying for increased safety every step of the way, from safety standards which raise the price of our vehicles, road safety regulations and their enforcement, and Owner/registration fees. It seems ingenuous to complain about mandatory helmet laws after all of this.

Helmet save lives, period. Not wearing helmets cost the rest of us more money. Your "freedom" impinges upon mine.

Using eating as an example is absurd. That's a lifetime bad habit that kills you slowly. And the government does try to help, with things like nutrition standards and food regulations.

A helmet is designed to abate instantaneous trauma, not mitigate bad habits.
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post #15 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 06:21 PM
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"A helmet is designed to abate instantaneous trauma, not mitigate bad habits"

However, a fringe benefit of wearing a full face helmet is to reduce the bad habit of picking your nose

Joking aside.

People started wearing helmets while riding bicycles when they became fashionable. We have to think Lance and the Tour the France for that. When Shaum White wears a helmet, boarders wear helmets. Organizations (government included) should help make wearing motorcycle helmets fashionable.

A pet peave of mine is advertisement in many motorcycle oriented publications with photos of people riding or in riding position without proper riding gear. Even the amaerican motorcyclist manazine (AMA) have those ads. One of the most ironic is a geico ad in page 20 of the June issue of the AMA magazine.

A guy riding a cruiser in jeans and no helmet, advertising an insurance company!
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post #16 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 06:22 PM
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Darn Statistics

Take a look at this table, motorcycle fatalities AND injuries dropped in 2009 from previous years. Fatalities per mile were much higher in the 2000 decade generally. More motos means more injuries overall, but less per mile is good!

Interesting read from the folks whose members have to pay out when there's a crash, the Insurance Information Institute: http://www.iii.org/issues_updates/mo...e-crashes.html

EDIT: Looks like you WON'T be able to read that table, it renders too small. See the article linked in this posting for the table and other info.
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File Type: jpg Screen Shot 2012-06-07 at 4.17.03 PM.jpg (18.8 KB, 82 views)

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Last edited by Tigerpawed; 06-07-2012 at 06:25 PM. Reason: Attached file too small to read. Urgh.
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post #17 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 07:05 PM
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Why oh why do I walk out the door every day?

The number one killer of persons under 25 is car wrecks. Maybe we should not allow anyone to get a drivers license until they are 25 years old.

In 2009 10,839 died in alcohol related traffic accidents. We should be lobbying for strictor alcohol laws. Every car equipped with a breathalyzer might cut down on those traffic accidents.

How about finding out how many of those motorcycle deaths were the result of a drunk, distracted, fatigued driver.

I will wear gear because for me it is the right thing to do, but that doesn't mean I should force my preference on others.

Let's look at all the other activities that send folks to the hospital. Everything from sports to ladders. How much regulation are we going to impose.

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post #18 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 07:33 PM
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Why oh why do I walk out the door every day?

The number one killer of persons under 25 is car wrecks. Maybe we should not allow anyone to get a drivers license until they are 25 years old.

In 2009 10,839 died in alcohol related traffic accidents. We should be lobbying for strictor alcohol laws. Every car equipped with a breathalyzer might cut down on those traffic accidents.

How about finding out how many of those motorcycle deaths were the result of a drunk, distracted, fatigued driver.

I will wear gear because for me it is the right thing to do, but that doesn't mean I should force my preference on others.

Let's look at all the other activities that send folks to the hospital. Everything from sports to ladders. How much regulation are we going to impose.
Answer: A Reasonable Amount (hopefully), For The Circumstances.

How long did they know about cigarettes causing cancer before they put on the warning?

How long did the Industries know that Asbestos caused cancer before they did anything about it?

How long did it take before seat belt usage became mandatory?

Sounds to me that some people, upon hearing anything the Government does to be helpful, immediately start to imagine there's no end to their intrusion?
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post #19 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 07:47 PM
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My wife's family and I had this discussion recently when I first talked about getting a bike. They said "you'll die", you'll wreck", my B-I-L pointed out severe leg damage he suffered 30 yrs ago in a MC wreck.

My reply, I drive a semi for a living in the Rockies, at least a dozen times every winter I have to put chains on. In 14 winters of driving, I've had to dive under my truck 4 or 5 times because of some a**hole who though it would be cute to splash me while chaining up. Every time I get out to chain up or chain down, I have all my lights on (even during the day) plus my hazards, I wear a full reflective safety vest, even my winter gloves have safety strips on them.

4 winters ago, while getting my chains out, some idjit who tried to splash me in a large SUV lost it and slammed into the side of my trailer, based on the debris left behind, it was a large SUV (he fled the scene). Most likely, that is how I will die, not on the motorcycle.

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post #20 of 80 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by AzItLies View Post
Answer: A Reasonable Amount (hopefully), For The Circumstances....

Sounds to me that some people, upon hearing anything the Government does to be helpful, immediately start to imagine there's no end to their intrusion?
Local, State, and Federal Governments add thousands of laws to the books every year. How many do they repeal or remove each year? Very few.

Paranoia? There is no end as long as we allow it.

BTW, I ride with a helmet but am against laws forcing me to. I can be just as injured crossing the street and a helmet is not required for that.... yet.
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