AMA Warns Against Possible Nationwide Helmet Law

11/11/2013 @ 4:43 pm, by Jensen Beeler89 COMMENTS


The American Motorcyclist Association recently issued a bulletin stating that a federal task force from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is poised to recommend a nationwide mandatory helmet law. True to form, the AMA is opposed to the recommendation.

Citing the organization’s official party line, AMA Vice President for Government Relations Wayne Allard said that while the AMA strongly advocates helmet use, the organization believes that motorcyclists should have the right to choose whether or not they wear a helmet.

The AMA press release goes on to refute the CDC task force’s claim (one that is backed up by the GAO, we might add) that there could be a meaningful economic benefit from drafting mandatory motorcycle helmet laws, citing that helmets do not prevent motorcycle crashes, that fatalities from motorcycle crashes are too few in number, and that their reduction would have no meaningful impact on the economy.

The AMA then also reiterated one of its main talking points, that the best way to reduce rider fatalities is to not crash in the first place, and thus programs in rider safety and training should be the focus of the government, not a mandatory helmet initiative.

Honestly though, it is about time that the AMA, and we as motorcyclists, got a bit more honest and real about motorcycle safety, and stopped capitulating to a vocal group of libertarian riders who see riding without a helmet as an integral part of motorcycling culture.

The fact of the matter, and what is at the heart of this debate, is that you cannot prevent all motorcycle crashes, even with the best rider/drive training programs possible. Motorcycles will crash, and riders need to be protected. Full stop. For all the talk about how “it’s not if, it’s when” that motorcyclists use about crashing, you would think that helmet laws would be embraced by an organization like the AMA.

The AMA knows of course that wearing a helmet is in the best interest of everyone, and even “recommends” that riders wear a helmet in its official stance on the subject, but because the organization’s base constituency is the same riders who view helmet laws as yet another government intrusion, and who hold their choice in the matter as a fundamental right, the AMA blinks on doing anything actually for motorcyclist. Because of that, I like to think of these riders as motorcycling’s Tea Party.

You see, free speech is a right, due process is a right, and to be secure at all times in your person, place, and things is a right, but to claim that wearing a motorcycle helmet falls under the same umbrella as these ideals just cheapens the word freedom, which quite frankly gets thrown around far too liberally in these conversations.

If you want to argue that the government shouldn’t regulate helmet use on a nation level, I can understand that. The state’s rights issue is valid point, not one I share, but a valid argument that can be earnestly made in relation to how it an actual right. Remember, driving on a public roadway is a privilege, not a right — a very important legal and philosophical distinction that far too many people fail to grasp.

Unfortunately we as a country have declared too many things as “our right” when someone comes along and tells us we can’t do it. Society is made up of rules and regulations, the AMA and other groups are just going to have to get over that reality, and start picking better battles to fight. The more and more that motorcycling latches onto these fringe groups, the further this industry will struggle in growth and acceptance.

We can already see the AMA losing the support of motorcyclists whole live in the mainstream, and if the organization wants to have any sort of real efficacy in representing all motorcyclists in American government, it should concern itself with initiatives that represent the views and thoughts of all riders.

To that end, the AMA should start promoting laws and regulations that help grow this interest, support this industry, and improve this thing called motorcycling for everyone.

How about we start with lane-splitting?

Source: AMA

  • ZootCadiilac

    Just saw this come up on twitter ( and if you use twitter and support the site, be sure to tweet these articles, Jensen deserves the support )

    As A Brit I’m going to say this and hope you understand the feeling behind it. If you don’t think that wearing a helmet, a proper, industry approved helmet, is a good thing then you perhaps might want to consider not riding. because you certainly don’t deserve the head that needs protecting.

    There is no excuse, no reasoning that you can come up with for not wearing gear on a motorcycle. Too hot? Don’t ride, use a car.

    get with the times.

  • Tim

    I don’t think it is about a reason “we” can come up with a reason
    As we all wear helmets.

    I think it goes back to whether or not it is our place to tell others what they have to do/wear.
    I also of course think it is stupid not to wear a helmet & always do.

    But regulations never end.
    In good conscious why should a bus rider or a car driver also need to wear a helmet?
    It is a slippery slope.

    Head injuries could kill you …Make a helmet law
    Alcohol could kill you….make a alcohol law limiting how much you can drink
    Cigarettes could kill you…make a law?

  • it’s disappointing that of all battles to pick, they choose mandatory helmets. it’s even more disappointing that i just joined the AMA thinking that they fight for motocyclists’ best interests and rights. and here they are advocating for the rights of a very fringe group within a group. while their points are valid, as a whole it doesn’t do the rest of us any good in view of the public. i was hoping they’d advocate lane-splitting before objecting to mandatory helmet laws.

    i don’t think i’ll renew my membership next year if they continue to be on the wrong (in my opinion) side of the debate.

  • Nameless

    I really think the focus needs to shift from fatalities related from not wearing a helmet to the quality of life people who survived have after crashing without a helmet.

    Dead is dead but having loved ones wipe your ass for the rest of your ass might have a better impact on motivating people to strap on a legit helmet.

  • Tim, I’m tired of that argument. We tell people what they can and cannot do all the time. That’s what laws are, a list of things people can and cannot do. Society, by definition, is defined by laws.

    If you want to live in society, you need to grow beyond this three-year-old mentality that you have some right to do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it. Just as we learned on the playground, there are rules.

    Now some rules are better than others, and that’s the constant process, but this idea that there should be no rules at all is just moronic. That thought needs to end. Now.

  • james h

    I totally agree with everything stated in this article. I am in the process of letting my AMA membership expire & this is one of the reasons why. Fear mongering is the other reason. They make it seem like motorcyclists are under attack at all times from lawmakers. If we are, we bring most of it on ourselves from what I see.

  • Mike

    While I agree with the importance of wearing a helmet and, just like the seat belt law, I believe the helmet law is a sensible one, I think the comparison to the Tea Party is an unfair one and a cheap shot, possibly revealing some deeper misplaced bitterness in the author (sorry Jensen). There’s a huge difference between not being for a sensible safety law and being against massive government debt and spending problems as well as an overly intrusive government that goes way beyond a simple safety gear law. Lets keep focused on rider safety and not use this as a stick to bash our political opponents where it doesn’t even compare. Other than that, great article!

  • David

    I ditched my AMA membership years ago for that very reason. They became the American No Helmet Law Loud Pipes Association a long time ago and useless to myself and many others. I don’t really care about helmet laws either way (similar to seat belts) but prefer to wear both. YES to lane splitting for starters!

  • Bill C

    The problem isn’t laws. The problem is the Government making them without proper understanding of the issue. What standard, how is it enforced, testing, etc. This is where the Government fails. E15 is a fine example. No manufacturer warrants a car to run on it, yet it is what the EPA keeps pushing and mandating. I wear a helmet, I have no issue with a helmet law. I just want it done correctly with a fully thought out standard that makes sense and a clause that allows the continued use of already produced helmets that met the DOT standard and above. That way unlike Obamacare we can keep our current helmet if we like it.

  • Ward

    While I always have worn a helmet, I tend to be one of those libertarian minded individuals, good arguments like these are helpful in convincing me that helmet laws are ultimately a good thing for the growth of motorcycling. But like Bill C. above, the problem seems to be governments inability to understand the issue and to make a law that applies to all 300 million plus citizens that is straightforward and easy to comprehend for average citizens. Oh, and I like my helmet and I want to keep it.

  • TexusTim

    theres two kinds of riders, those that have crashed and those that will. wear a helmet and its almost allways survivable, ride without one and thats not a sure thing…you dont see to many sport bike riders going with out one (lots of tennis shoes) maybe its because our helmets look so cool but they have to find a a way to make the restless urban bikers want to wear one even if it aint cool.

  • Bob

    MR. BEELER… *slow clap*… Bravo, sir. Couldn’t have said any of this better myself.
    Although, I’m Canadian. So, I’m used to national helmet laws.

    I have seen an interesting pattern, though… The majority of non-cruiser riders that I’ve met over my life usually talk about the quality of helmet that they have. Always wanting better quality and better protection. If they can afford a $500 Arai or Shoei, they’ll buy that $500 Arai or Shoei.
    But, many Canadian motorcyclists, who don’t ride cruisers, notice that a lot of cruiser riders could care less and are more interested in how small the price tag is. There’s a rash of $20, non-DOT helmets coming in from China that having been spreading through the cruiser groups for years, up here. Is the anti-helmet thing more specific to a certain style of riding? An American/HD/Chopper/Sam Crow wannabe style of motorcyclist?

  • Vic

    Do you think people who want to enforce helmet laws will want to allow lane splitting? It’s for your safety.
    Remember when super bikes started to hit 180mph and legislators started to talk about laws to limit them? You don’t need to go that fast, etc.

  • Dan

    Having worked in healthcare for the last 15 years, it still baffles me that people try the old adage of freedom of rights.

    When someone winds up sucking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in healthcare, not to mention the time the recovery costs loved ones tasked to assist with the care, who’s freedom is getting trumped then?

    As Jensen mentioned, we have to have laws because of a group of individuals who think they can trump the rules to their benefit.

    Honestly, the fact that we still have to discuss it in this day exemplifies the many people who will behave badly just to show their freedom cards. Give it a rest already

  • Tim

    Jenson, Yes Like I said I wear a helmet I am just saying it is a slippery slope.

    Yes society has laws to protect. But really how far can it go?
    Protect the populace from harm by others? Sure 100%
    Protect the populace from harm from itself? Not sure

    Maybe better left to other things. Maybe better to let natural selection
    run its course. World is over populated anyway. If someone is too stupid
    to wear a lid on a bike so be it. Same for those drinking,smoking,eating themselves
    to death.

    To those that claim folks are sucking up $$$$ of health care I say
    best outlaw alcohol too or at least limit consumption & a few other things too
    that all far outnumber the head injuries.

    Lastly let me repeat I am in no way advocating no using a helmet.

  • Show me where

    “Remember, driving on a public roadway is a privilege, not a right — a very important legal and philosophical distinction that far too many people fail to grasp.”

    BULL SH.T. Legal me. Show me where in the Constitution free travel is a privilege.

    Who exactly grants this….privilege? Can it be taken away on a whim by some bureaucrat? If you had been paying attention you would of learned of all American’s RIGHT of free travel without permission from government. Public roads are the property of the PUBLIC…NOT the government. You demonstrate a fundamental ignorance of the Constitution. You must also believe you have no rights that aren’t enumerated in the Constitution?

    You are confusing the requirement to demonstrate competance to operate a motor vehicle (a state issued license) & your RIGHT to free travel. Ignorance of Constitutional rights invite getting married a privilege too, afterall you need a license, or being a hairdresser?

    I am constantly amazed how this utter stupidity is parroted as fact…I grieve for the republic.

  • Stefan

    Sure, let people choose for themselves…natural selection it is called. Stupid people without helmet will get sorted out easily. Why do we always need to patronize people and set up so many rules for them… has mankind really turned that dumb?

  • Show me where
  • Norm G.

    right now i’m just wierded out by that flesh helmet.

  • J Wilson

    I live in Tennessee, and often ride in Kentucky, where I am always dumbstruck to see kids blasting by on R1’s and GSX/R’s without helmets (not required in KY). Or I saw a couple two-up on an ElectraGlide last summer, bareheaded, and she had on short shorts, passed me doing 80 on the Interstate, and all I could think of were those admittedly-gorgeous legs turned into something that looks like pizza or hamburger if worse came to worse. . . . chilling.

    I don’t know why the AMA is all in on this; myabe once they announce their “The Earth Really is Flat” initiative, I’ll re-join . . . .

    I’ll say what I always say: In a perfect world, I’d ride in shorts and a ball cap. But this ain’t that world, and in the meantime, it’s a full-face and armored clothes for me. I could not feel comfortable riding if I thought I had not done everything practically possible to mitigate the risks.

    No helmet? No thanks.

  • Mariano

    You know I’m all for individual freedom, I think an individual should have the right to decide what to do with his persona as long as it doesn’t harm others. So I’ll agree with the AMA as long as they agree that doing meth or any other hard drug should be a personal decision……..otherwise I want a insurance discount for using a full face helmet and safety gear…

  • hipsabad

    First, let me say I think compulsory helmet wearing is fine, as is seat belt wearing, etc. Sensible regulations. Just as special seats for infants in cars is a sensible idea. One curious thing, however, that reveals an odd aberration in our perspective on these things is that car drivers are not required to wear helmets. According to the numbers released by the Center for Disease Control, in 2006 312 bicyclists died of head injuries. In the same year, 1,614 motorcyclists died of head trauma. Meanwhile, 7,581 car drivers died in accidents from brain injuries. And, get this, 1,739 pedestrians died of vehicular-induced trauma. If protecting the public, medical costs, etc. are the rationale, we should immediately institute the wearing of helmets in cars. And it appears, we could save a greater number of people by requiring the same of pedestrians as of motorcyclists! But I think we all know, that ain’t gonna happen. In fact in some jurisdictions, the bicyclist–bearer of the least injury–is the first and sometimes only candidate for helmet laws. Isn’t it odd? Is it cynical to interpret that as due to the fact of the smaller the constituency the more easily the state can tell them what to do? And yet car drivers are extensively, tho not universally told to wear seat belts. And all manufacturers are required to fit them. Can we really imagine going back to a time when manufacturers weren’t? Any thoughts, Jensen?

  • Tim

    Mariano says: “otherwise I want a insurance discount for using a full face helmet and safety gear…”

    Now see that is actually appropriate acceptable thinking. IMHO
    Don’t folks get a break for ABS etc?

    They could go one step further & say your insurance bill would also be higher as we will cover less.
    if you crash without a helmet & need care. Don’t have the $$$? We will garnish your pay & then your SS checks if it is not paid in full.

    Those are all things “they” can do to those that choose to ride without, or drink/smoke too much etc.
    Don’t they already charge a smoker a much higher health insurance premium? Why? Why not pass a law that says they cannot smoke?
    Oh………Tobacco lobby $$$
    Is there a Helmet lobby?

  • Terry

    Great article, hear hear.
    The anti helmet lobby are nearly as idiotic as the pro gun lobby over there. Imo of course.

  • smiler

    No one ever mentions the important people in this case.

    Those that do not wear helmets, I have no sympathy for. However it is the people that have to shovel these idiots (and teenatgers on BMX bikes, inliners and skateboards) off the side walk and roads after they have crashed, which they inevitably do. The same people then have to inform and comfort relatives, and put these idiots back together in the following days and weeks and sort out the related mess. They usually do this without saying anything.
    It is of course their job. However the substantial time, effort and resources could be used to much better effect if these morons wore equiment that would saved them from being injured.
    In the case of teenagers is it nothing but peer pressure and the need to be seen as cool. For adult morotcycle riders it is just idiocy.

  • Gabb

    Where I live (not in the USA), helmets are mandatory and lane splitting is legal. I am 100% for helmets, having been in a crash and several near misses, I would not ever dream of riding without one. As for mandatory legislation – no one likes change being forced down their throats.
    Then however, the consequences for making an ill-informed decision should be borne by the individual – i.e. if one goes riding without a helmet and crashes, and end up with crippling head injuries, it becomes one’s own problem. Healthcare financing, insurance and other state-provided assistance would be withheld. This would put the responsibility for caring for someone in that state squarely on his/her family. As unpleasant as this may sound, this would probably internally motivate the desire to change in most people, when considering the impact on the lives of those dear to them.

    As for lane splitting, I feel that it should be legally permitted. When done in a proper, conservative manner, I think it’s actually safer for us bikers.

    In my city, traffic is perpetually congested, even and particularly so on expressways. In slower moving expressway traffic, drivers tend to leave barely a car’s length or less space between them and the vehicle ahead. In an emergency stop situation, a biker in between two larger vehicles is highly likely to end up as the meat patty in a car sandwich. Lane splitting also allows us to see past the the vehicle directly ahead of us and much further up the road, allowing us to anticipate danger much earlier.

    During rush hour traffic where speeds seldom exceed 30-40km/h, bikers in my city tend to form a “bike train” between lanes, which discourages vehicles from pulling out suddenly. Granted, there is some risk involved in doing this as well, but the damage from a bike on bike collision at low speed seldom results in anything more than a bad jolt or dented parts.

    When expressway traffic is at normal speeds, this usually means there is ample space and visibility as there are less vehicles, and thus the need to split lanes disappears.

  • No one here seems to be in favor of riding without a helmet. We all seem to agree that helmets are a really good idea, and that everyone should wear one.

    What I think that those who advocate against a mandatory helmet law are concerned with is the government and it’s motivations. Why is the government advocating an extreme law that mandates behavior before other, more obvious laws that would be much more reasonable, are tried?

    For instance, not a single state allows folks to drive a car without adequate driver training and a fairly stringent driving test. It only stands to reason that, because motorcycles are so much more difficult to learn to ride than a car, that there should be mandatory rider training laws in every state, and that the riding test shouldn’t be the joke that it is in many states. During the course of training, riders should be made aware of the need for wearing helmet, and gotten used to wearing one during rider training on a range.

    Doesn’t such a law make more sense as a first step if one is really interested in rider safety? It may be that through rider training that very few riders will choose to go helmet-less. (Making a mandatory helmet law unnecessary.) And accidents might decrease significantly with more skilled riders.

    Or how about this… Why not a tiered licensing system like they have in most of the rest of the world? Make sure that riders actually have some experience on a motorcycle that can’t get them in too much trouble before letting them get onto a 100hp racer replica. Riders just naturally did it that way 40 or so years ago.

    The government going right to mandating helmets without showing any real concern that riders really know how to ride before getting onto a bike makes one very suspicious that the government isn’t really interested in rider safety at all. While there is little doubt that a mandatory helmet law might save a number of lives, who’s to say that other, more reasonable laws might not save more lives than a mandatory helmet law?

    So, that begs the question, why does the government like the idea of a mandatory helmet law but not the idea of training and stringent testing? I think that the reason is that training will lead to more folks becoming motorcyclists, and a mandatory helmet law is likely to lead to fewer folks wanting to be motorcyclists. Also, training costs money, and the government doesn’t feel that we are worth that money. Mandatory helmet laws cost the government nothing, and if anything it brings the government revenue in the form of fines.

    It’s true that we should be used to laws designed to protect us. But I think that what we all want are laws designed to benefit us, not laws created because the government hates us and would like to see us (as motorcyclists) disappear.

  • Andrew S

    I find this debate rather interesting as I am a Brit who lives in central Florida, for 9 years, and regularly attends Bike Week.

    I do not understand why such a reaction to helmet laws and yet everyone is happy to wear a seatbelt. A modern society has a responsibility to legislate to protect citizens and helmet laws are an example of that. All the data from around the world shows the value of wearing a helmet so this is not really a safety issues in terms of protest, it seems to be more about people wanting choice.

    Perhaps Darwin is at work here and the survival of the fittest will be those who are intelligent enough to understand the value of wearing a helmet.

    What makes no sense to me is the Freedom issue that is iften cited as a defense, which of course has nothing to do with the issue. Basically society has a responsibility to legislate for the good of the populous even if it is not popular, lets face it we have speed limits due to safety as well.

  • Steve

    Let me sum it up for everyone…


    Racing sucks, leadership sucks, agenda sucks, magazine sucks….

    I resigned my membership when the Nobby Clark thing happened…

    & I always wear a helmet…no matter what the law is…

    & furthermore (always liked that word) … The AMA, in my opinion, is the catalyst behind the “loud pipes” controversy…. they highlight the issue & expect us riders to do…… do what… “police ourselves”…. like Zimmerman & Trayvon?… no thanks… every town has a noise law… no matter if you are blaring you stereo, guitar, car exhaust, etc…. Let the cops handle it.

  • Uh OH


    Wow, you really sound like a socialist on the topic of laws and “society”. Yes laws are necessary, but at what point does the scale tip toward what we see in the UK and the US becomes a full blown nanny state? It’s easy to let the small issues slide but someday, we will look back and realize we let the government take all our freedoms. Remember the government doesn’t really serve the public, it serves itself.

    PS. I always wear a helmet too.

  • I work in an industry which deals with the consequences of motorcycle accidents…in all of its forms. And whilst I believe in free choice…I also believe in the free choice to make a sound informed decision.

    Whilst riding practices can be modified and changed to suit certain situations to minimise the overall probability of having a motorcycle accident…accidents still happen and they are caused for various reasons with varying injuries. In general terms, wearing protective gear should be strongly advised especially when travelling at higher speeds or at longer times in the saddle…a helmet should be worn regardless of speed because it is the most vulnerable part of the body that will be seriously affected by even slight impacts, whereas other body parts are more forgiving and have a greater recovery rate or a lasting injury that will not necessarily pose a risk to life.
    Of course, there is no guarantee that the head will receive an impact during an accident…although it is highly probable. Of course life changing or fatal injuries can be sustained to other parts of the body and all protective gear has a performance limit.
    But the argument against a helmet law is primarily used by those who have not had an accident and have not sustained a head injury during the process.
    Education is always the key and is far superior to enforcement and punitive measures. Accurate information for riders is paramount to enable good decision making and this should be promoted by official organisations from within and outside of the biking community.
    Wearing a helmet, does not impact on our riding freedom, but it enables and protects us…as riders…to continue to make free choices…especially after we are involved in an accident.
    There are no guarantees in life…but there are certainly ways to hedge our bets. Cheers

  • Beagle

    For foreigners it can be truly hard to grasp why some basic safety concerns (widely adopted decades ago in most western countries) remain actual debates in the US in the 21st century.
    Regarding helmet laws the US are more or less on par with Afghanistan, Irak, Yemen, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Sudan, Cambodia, Dominican Republic among others.
    Makes you wonder about progress?
    taken from
    More of the same concerning seat belts:

    Granted on both maps the US are in a category of their own, to truly represent the regulations you’d have to draw red states adopting laws similar to the aforementioned countries and green states more on page with modern democracies.

  • TexusTim

    I am for wearing a helmet 100% I am against the goverment telling me to wear a helmet when it comes to them they are only concerned with one thing..MONEY.. who gets it, who pays it, what its for..DOESNT MATTER THEY TAKE THE WHOLE THING AND CRUNCH THE NUMBERS INCLUDING THE HELMET LOBBY, THE INSURANCE LOBBY, “THE ANYTHING I WANT LOBBY” if they have money thats all the goverment care about, dont fool yourself to think they actually care about anything else…ITS THIS SIMPLE IF THEY REALLY CARED THERE WOULD BE ONLY ONE TYPE OF HEALTH CARE..THE SAME ONE OVER 9 MILLION U.S. FEDERAL WORKERS’s called. FEHBP
    and the actual average sallaary is over 60K and after 20 years they retire with full health care and a large precentage of there final salary…what can you say? this article is as much about goverment intrusion as it is common sence things that a normal society would normally do…with out anyone telling them too!! but from the media to lobby groups every message is spun for consumption …your personal freedoms now matter what they may be are the last thought not the first ..this is what happens when people lose touch with there own humanity and decide there goverment knows best and give up any thought of what freedom really means.

  • pooch

    In Australia rider training is mandatory before you get a learners permit. You have 2 days rider training / obstacle courses, traffic courses, and written theory, and you watch safety videos. This is just to get your L’s. Then you are speed limited and bike power limited, until you get your P’s, for which you then undergo a much more stringent riding and knowledge test. Again, you are then speed and power limited, until you get your full licence. And yep, we have compulsory helmet laws too. about 1-2 years pass before you can get a full licence.

    How many motorcyclists complain about any of this ? None. And we end up with mainly skilled and trained riders .Oh but hang on…. we also don’t have the right to bear firearms. No one thinks this is ‘taking away our rights’. No one thinks ‘where does this stop’ and the tired of chestnut talk of a slippery slope infringing our personal freedom utter rubbish.

    The US needs to grow up on both these issues.

    Good article Jensen.

  • starmag

    While I wear a helmet when I ride, I’m noticing a very high level of intolerance here. It’s touching that you all are so concerned with others well-being. That being the case, we might as well outlaw hang gliding, base jumping, the IOMTT, experimental fly-ins, mountain climbing etc. , for these are all high-risk activities that people regularly die at while engaging in. Whoops, better include fettucini alferado, the infamous “heart attack on a plate”as well. Oh, and motorcycling itself, 30 times more dangerous than driving a car. You’ve got to be saved from yourself, you know. Telling others what to do is great until it happens to you and your favorite activity. As for the “social costs” folks, your penny pinching time would be much more effectively spent going after any one of a number of our acronym laden bureaucracies or our $600-hammer military, who waste more money in an hour than a million years of head injuries. So much self-righteousness, so little time.

  • Dr Dal;e

    I’m also a health care professional who wears a helmet every time I’m on my motorcycles, and feels you’re probably foolish not to. Also Libertarian. In one sense it seems that if you don’t know that you’re much safer wearing a helmet, maybe someone (the government, in this case) SHOULD insist you do. On the other hand, I’m not at all sure that helmet laws truly save money. It may seem heartless, but the helmet wearing cyclist is much more likely to survive a crash, often with severe, or even catastrophic injuries. The helmet-less rider is more likely to die instantly. In this scenario, it might be cheaper on the system to die than to sustain the severe injuries. Helmet-less riders are also the preferred option as organ donors – usually young and healthy, other than the dead brain. Very much veiled, but the organ donor industry has quietly opposed these mandatory helmet laws.

    Another item – it’s always easy to make laws affecting the other guy, as long as it doesn’t directly affect YOU. If the “powers-that-be” were truly interested in saving lives, why not mandate helmet use for all drivers and passengers of ALL motor vehicles, not just motorcycles? Car, bus and truck crashes kill a lot more than motorcycle accidents. School buses don’t even have seat belts! I understand that we are a lot more vulnerable on a bike and the helmet is the only mandated (by some states) protective device.

  • starmag

    “Also Libertarian. In one sense it seems that if you don’t know that you’re much safer wearing a helmet, maybe someone (the government, in this case) SHOULD insist you do.”

    Now that was funny. thanks for the chuckle. I know Libertarians are like herding cats and all, but still….

  • Bob

    In response to “Show me where”:

    “BULL SH.T. Legal me. Show me where in the Constitution free travel is a privilege.”
    Is it written in the Constitution that flying an aircraft is a right or privilege?

    “Who exactly grants this….privilege?”
    The Department of Transportation, only after you EARN the privilege by passing a state mandated driving test.

    “Can it be taken away on a whim by some bureaucrat?”
    Yes. A Cop, Judge, or DOT Officer can take it away if they believe you have abused that privilege. Whether you actually have or not. Your privilege can be temporarily suspended without legitimate proof before your day in court, therefor it can be taken away “on a whim”.

    “If you had been paying attention you would of learned of all American’s RIGHT of free travel without permission from government.”
    Correct. But you DO need “permission” from the Government to drive a car or ride a motorcycle on public roads.

    “Public roads are the property of the PUBLIC…NOT the government.”
    Correct, again. But there are many, many things that the public cannot do on these “PUBLIC” roads. Mandated by law.

    “ getting married a privilege too, afterall you need a license…”
    Actually, in most States, it IS a privilege. Not everyone can get a marriage license. If it was a given right to all, then no matter your age, or sexual orientation, any American citizen would be able to get married. Currently, that is DEFINITELY not the case.

    “I am constantly amazed how this utter stupidity is parroted as fact…I grieve for the republic.”
    So do I, but it appears the reasons that are causing you to grieve are very different from the majority.

  • The other Bob

    In response to “Show me where”:

    Hooray, you successfully cut and pasted a link without truly understanding what was in it.

    Yes, you have the right to travel freely. What you do not have the right to do is travel freely in the driver seat and in control of a motorized vehicle without permission from the government. You can however go all over our beloved country on all of our road systems by foot, bicycle, as a passenger in a train/bus/car/plane, etc. But you simply can not travel freely as a driver as a right.

    This has been clarified even before I got my license in 1985. I guess you haven’t been paying attention all these years.

    Oh, and that other Bob than I stated even more than this and accurately as well.

    I grieve for your lack of comprehension of your own link, though there are still better sources for this information.

  • Cal H

    The same arguments that you make for mandatory helmet use can be used to justify outlawing motorcycles altogether. Lives would be saved and society would reap a substantial economic benefit as motorcyclists use a disproportionate amount of heathcare resources.

    Does this put it in a different perspective for you? Maybe the libertarians aren’t so out of touch as you think.

  • Frenchie

    “The same arguments that you make for mandatory helmet use can be used to justify outlawing motorcycles altogether. Lives would be saved and society would reap a substantial economic benefit as motorcyclists use a disproportionate amount of heathcare resources. ”

    The only sure thing is that since most countries around the globe adopted helmet laws during the second half of the XXth century, such a thing did not occur, nor was it even envisioned as a possible consequence by the citizens.

    This is very much a fantasy entertained in the US only, against all evidence of what happened in the rest of the world in the past decades.

    On the contrary, most states that currently do not have mandatory motorcycle helmet law are great freedom advocates and role models for modern societies such as Afghanistan, Irak, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Cambodia and so on.

  • mudgun

    I absolutely have to have one of them skin-head helmets. That thing will get me some respect on the road. Who manufactures those things and where can I get one?

  • Crossplane R1

    Wear a helmet. Seriously, how is this even an argument? AMA should be ashamed of themselves for lobbying against wearing one. I don’t care how good you are. You. Will. Crash. PERIOD

    I’m a young rider and very gifted on a motorcycle. I have actually never crashed on the street or racetrack. I wear full gear and a helmet EVERY single time I ride. There is no excuse or reason not to. I’m sorry if you believe your freedom or “looking cool” factor is getting infringed on. You are wrong and you have no evidence to back up why your opinion is valid. I teach many people how to ride and the biggest problem I face is convincing them to wear proper gear. It’s incredibly frustrating. Want to look cool? RIDE A MOTORCYCLE. Cruiser, superbike, dirtbike…they are all badass. Wearing a helmet doesn’t take away from that.

    Bottom Line: Stop being stupid. Wear a helmet no matter the law. You can’t afford to lose any more brain function than the limited amount you currently have.

  • Booger

    The AMA is slowly becoming a two-wheeled NRA.

  • Jimmyjohn

    I wanna jump into this conversation so bad…but damnit, I feel strongly both ways. If that weren’t bad enough I don’t always wear my helmet even though I know I should. Worst of all, those times I don’t wear it is when I’m going to the store or something. Well within the “most accidents happen within three miles of home” range.

    I’ve had two accidents while riding. One a low side get off in the mountains of North Carolina. The other a tip over at a stop sign with my wife on back in the middle of a crowd of festival folks in the middle of town. I bounced my head off the pavement in North Carolina but it didn’t hurt too bad. I didn’t bounce my head off anything in the tip over but thank God for my helmet there too. No one could see who I was.

    I wish I had something pertinent to add to this conversation but since I don’t how about I entertain you with my favorite song line…Freedom is just another word for nothing else to lose.

  • Jimmyjohn

    sorry…”nothing left to lose.”

  • jr2


    The AMA is becoming the 3 wheeled version of the NRA…

    Their membership is aging… Their focus has narrowed… And (to me) they have had mistake after mistake that squandered millions of member dollars…

    I was a member for almost 20 years… No more

  • Norm G.

    re: “Society, by definition, is defined by laws.”

    just to add. CIVIL society is defined by laws. CIVIL

    re: “but this idea that there should be no rules at all is just moronic.”

    correct. no laws = anarchy. no laws = TANKS parked on the playground of the elementary school your kid attends.

  • Vic

    What do you care if someone else takes a risk? Other than the potential cost to you and I (BTW, I always wear a helmet), people should be free to take risks. Like someone else posted, our sport in general could be determined at some point in the future as “too risky”. But…I also believe people should be responsible for their risk taking. For example, I have plenty of life insurance, plenty of vehicle insurance and plenty of health insurance. I would expect if (it were legal in my state) and I rode without a helmet that I should pay higher insurance rates to cover the higher risk. We do this with smokers/health insurance and old people/life insurance.

  • jack

    ” Natural Selection” The dumb ones die out. Laws that protect us from ourselves should be looked at a little differently then those that protect others from our actions. If you believe that helmet laws will help I think you’ll find they will not be as effective as you think. Having lost two friends to head injures in motorcycle accidents let me explain. Both were wearing DOT approved helmets. They were not full face and both had closed casket funerals. Only full face helmets will protect you. Who is going to enforce this helmet law? I live in a state with a helmet law and 75% of the cruiser riders and 10% of the sport bike riders wear “novelty” helmets. The police either don’t know the difference or don’t care. Rider education is extremely important and even more so is driver education. Seeing that about 75% of the fatal motorcycle accidents are caused by cagers shouldn’t they also go to mandatory motorcycle safety classes? I always wear my full face helmet and believe in a helmet law, but if it never happens I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

  • jack

    ” Natural Selection” The dumb ones die out. Laws that protect us from ourselves should be looked at a little differently then those that protect others from our actions. If you believe that helmet laws will help I think you’ll find they will not be as effective as you think. Having lost two friends to head injures in motorcycle accidents let me explain. Both were wearing DOT approved helmets. They were not full face and both had closed casket funerals. Only full face helmets will protect you. Who is going to enforce this helmet law? I live in a state with a helmet law and 75% of the cruiser riders and 10% of the sport bike riders wear “novelty” helmets. The police either don’t know the difference or don’t care. Rider education is extremely important and even more so is driver education. Seeing that about 75% of the fatal motorcycle accidents are caused by cagers shouldn’t they also go to mandatory motorcycle safety classes? I always wear my full face helmet and believe in a helmet law, but if it never happens I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

  • digi

    Well I mean let’s be honest here. You aren’t gonna be able to pay your taxes if your melon is splattered about the ground now are you? Need to protect the livestock.

  • TexusTim

    in three months Ill be 57 and Ive been riding since the 4th grade..I have had a few crashes on and off the track..I had one good one at 17 and broke the front of a bell star helmet, had a concusion..just think what that injury would have been without a helmet..still dont want the type of goverment that thinks force and contribution is the only way to govern. I think when they sleep at night they dream of ways to convince us we need them in our lives so much.

  • Diego Martinez

    Mr. Zoot Cadillac is entirely right. And I don’t think it’s a matter of government trying to inject itself in our lives, it’s a measure to save the 1 Billion dollars in extra treatment that riders without helmets incur when they crash. The AMA is starting to resemble the NRA with this particular issue.

  • John Mith

    This whole argument disgusts me. You have two sides. The people who don’t want helmet laws and the people who do all using distorted logic trying to make their tiresome points.

    Words of wisdom. Once a law maker has his shiny new law requiring x y or z out of you that’s just the beginning. They can’t just stop there. Once they successfully sink their claws into you without a fight there’s another law and another one. I think the AMA recognizes this and regardless of the actual issue and if you ride a Harley with loud pipes or choose not to wear a helmet the issue really is running interference to keep lawmakers away from motorcycles in general. Motorcycles are generally considered “unsafe” by many people. How about they ban them all together to protect us? That’s exactly why the AMA is supporting these “fringe groups”. Once the lawmakers get traction they generally keep going. Fighting these small battles makes motorcyclists less of an “easy target” to make sensational laws just so a politician can get votes and win elections.

    People who are arguing their “narrow view of the world” are missing the point here. As in history this particular battle has absolutely nothing to do with helmets at all. This battle is about power. The ultimate goal of that power has yet to be determined. Whatever it is I want nothing to do with it. I’ll count up all of the petty idiots here threatening to cancel their AMA membership and send them a check for you. They need our support.

  • “The fact of the matter, and what is at the heart of this debate, is that you cannot prevent all motorcycle crashes, even with the best rider/drive training programs possible. ”

    Wrong. What is at the heart of this debate is the desire of greedy people to impose on others.

  • Tim

    Hear Hear Mr John Mith

    Good to see others “get it” hope there are many more like you still in America

  • Nick

    Do you think that the CDC hasn’t thought about how many lives could be saved by banning motorcycles altogether? Do you really think that, if a helmet ban passed, that the CDC would just forget all about motorcycles?

  • Westward

    A helmet saved my life, will never ride without one, cause I never actually saw the car that hit me… With that being said, if a man dies for lack of wearing a helmet, his body should become available for automatic donor status. That way he might actually do some people some good…

    It’s a win win situation all around.

  • John MIth

    @Tim. It’s nice that there are others that still can think for themselves. Thank you for your comment!

    @Nick. Absolutely agree. Thats why sensational issues like this are used to polarize us.

    About the polarization. Regardless if you have a Harley or a Sport Bike these laws usually are directed at ALL of us and have much more sinister underpinnings. Lawmakers recognize the polarization in our sport usually the cruiser guys against the sport bike guys. They use issues like this that they know will separate viewpoints so that we will fight with one another instead of additional laws. Instead of letting your personal bias and hatred towards other riders dominate your views think about the real WHY involved here and how ultimately it will affect you regardless of the style of bike you choose to buy.

    The really sad part here is that most riders are so caught up in the “us against them” battle that they don’t realize the issue is designed by inception to divide us and make us a weak and easy target. Again this law has NOTHING to do with helmets. Laws are super easy to get passed but almost impossible to get taken off the books. When they start mandating other safety equipment that makes your sport bike as heavy as a small hatchback you will wish you recognized what this was all about to begin with.

  • Does anybody find it strange that the Centers for DISEASE CONTROL and Prevention are doing this? Since when is riding a motorcycle without a helmet a DISEASE????????

  • Westward

    Also, one should not be forced to wear helmets, however, should they sustain a head injury while riding a motorcycle health or medical insurance should no be liable to cover it.

    Should one die was a result, life insurance should not have to pay out due to negligence…

  • John MIth


    I think that bump on your head all those years ago may have affected your thinking a bit.

    Did it ever occur to you that many people think that the act of riding a motorcycle in itself is negligence? Motorcycling by it’s very core foundation is an unsafe activity. By taking on that risk in some peoples eyes (insurance companies for starters) you should be on your own to cover your losses.

  • Mr.X

    Yes, both side, but the helmet is really a non-argument.
    I’ve bumped my head a little in crashes a few times and once quite hard, all on the track.
    Even in a little scrape on the pavement the old noggin gets a bell-ringing. So without the helmet you’re screwed.
    The laws of physics rule, make it a law for the young and foolish.

    I’ve always advocated a helmet law for those under 25 or in their first 2 years of riding. The stats show this would have the desired results.

  • Philscbx

    For the Most part – I always wear a Helmet – Nolan 104 – not a wannabe costume shell.

    Now for the Zone to ride without one –

    Speed Regulated –
    Freeway – 100% worn –
    Under 21 – 100% anywhere.

    Over 21
    Side street under 35mph – should not need to wear it just to get Milk & Honey.
    All riders not just take MS test – but a certified crash test –
    I have – and they’re are simple ways to survive a head on with a car under 60mph.

    Certified pro group rides like fire & police dept – should be able to group ride w/o helmet.
    Their speeds are always in check and routes are hand picked – and guarded intersections.

    It’s not rocket science to figure out the problem areas & group types that always end up dead.
    If it’s not a cruiser – make the sport bike group pay all the costs involved in wrongful deaths they caused.

    Any one in car that injures or kills another from behind standing still on bike – they loose license for 5 years min.
    Plus pay all costs.
    No MOre get off with un attentive Text driving ticket for $300 killing a rider for no reason.

    Just putting out a Law to mandate all wear helmet – is not happening.
    Target with Science- That will make the playing field respectful in the end for those who want to have that freedom – and they will need to qualify.

  • Brian J

    The US doesn’t have a driving test, it has a parallel parking test.
    That said, most motorcycle fatalities in the US involve another vehicle that has four wheels.
    If the focus was placed on those drivers becoming better drivers, then we could actually see if the comments of people not in the US and the cornucopia of apparent EMT/medical riders comments here were correct.

  • John Mith


    “Any one in car that injures or kills another from behind standing still on bike – they loose license for 5 years min.
    Plus pay all costs.”

    Great idea. Not likely to happen. Bikers have always been second class citizens on the road. We are “disposable” to most lawmakers. I think their logic is that we did not protect ourselves by driving a car. Helmet laws won’t help at all when motorists can get away with killing people and just get a slap on the wrist with a ticket.

    If the lawmakers ‘really” wanted to make motorcycling safer they would put some teeth into the manslaughter laws when it comes to motorcyclists. Instead we get useless laws regarding helmets. The reality is very few people are riding without helmets vs getting crushed to death by drivers not paying attention.

    The reality here is very few riders ride without helmets. This push for a law on helmets has absolutely nothing to do with helmet use or improving motorcycle safety. They are testing the waters for more restrictive future laws regarding motorcycles.

    The AMA recognizes this and I’m glad they are putting up a fight that many of you obedient cattle don’t have the balls to put up yourselves. Carry on with your sportbike vs cruiser turf war. The good thing here is the AMA will fight for you regardless even if you are not a member.

  • What Jenson said. AMA need to give up the anti-helmet crusade and advocate for lane splitting with lids.

  • Sic

    I ride with leathers and helmet…but I also don’t like the nanny state.

    Were I an anti helmet crusader I’d be lobbying hard for helmets in cars….

    ALL the same arguments and defenses come into play…and maybe someone would understand the real issue of personal choice.

  • Rose

    Nothing better than more legislation to give power to the corporates. “Oh, since you’re required to wear a helmet, let’s just jack up the price of that product.”

    Don’t get me wrong. I advocate for wearing a helmet, but I’m a little tired of being told what I have to do. What’s next? Mandatory bubble suits?

  • RobG

    I always wear a helmet, and I believe in educating those to wear helmets and other safety gear. However, I do NOT support more GOVERNMENT REGULATION forcing us to do it. There will always be people who insist they don’t need a helmet. Fine, don’t wear one. Just please be sure your organ donor card is filled out. But I refuse to support the Nanny State mentality.

    And yeah, AMA needs to start advocating for Lane Splitting BIGTIME if they want to keep me as a member.

  • Somehow, the conversation here dwindled down to the epic argument over mandatory helmet use, but I believe the intended subject of the article was the limp-dick of the AMA. Being a long-time AMA member is like watching a good neighborhood go bad, too afraid of losing a member or two by standing up and telling the less safety-concious among us to “get off my lawn”. An interesting posture, coming from an organization who’s monthly journal has morphed from benignly boring at best, to a Mien Kampf of motorcyclists vs. the world fear-mongering. Then again, when membership dollars fuel six-figure salaries, I suppose things get scary when people lose interest.

  • Westward

    @ John MIth

    @ least I have an excuse, having hit my head on the asphalt (AGV Helmet), didn’t feel a single impact.

    However, those of you that take it to that next level of, ” They want to ban motorcycles is the ultimate goal,” makes me think you may have hit your head without a helmet.

    That point of view is a little far fetching in my book, and seems a little daft… It sounds too much like the gun lobby people, and we don’t want motorcyclist to be associated with that lot do ya..?

  • Agent55

    Way to delegitimize yourself with this silliness AMA. Any motorcyclist in control of his/her ego knows wearing a helmet absolutely increases rider safety. I’ve never understood the enjoyment someone has with tearing down the road at speed without wearing one. Even going average freeway speeds is positively unsettling with a bare skull. I’ve known of people in my area that have either suffered permanent brain damage or outright death from head injuries incurred while riding without a helmet so I AM speaking from experience.

  • Mike

    @Westward careful with uneven comparisons to the NRA. It’s super easy to find video of liberal elites, especially in the media, talking about how guns should be all but outlawed. I’ll gladly stand with the NRA for a right to have guns to defend myself against the government, something that is explicitly and un-apologetically written into the constitution, whereas the right to ride a motorcycle is not. You won’t find a soul talking about outlawing motorcycles altogether though.

  • john Mith


    If only you had the budget for the top of the line Arai. Oh well. Keep mumbling to yourself. I promise I’m listening.

  • Norm G.

    re: “They are testing the waters for more restrictive future laws regarding motorcycles. ”

    and if they do, you can thank the NY range rover incident and other like events making national news for this. I guarantee (Justin Wilson accent).

    the AMA making an issue over something is really inconsequential. this threat’s always been there. it’s always been real. Normstadamus has spoke on it his damn self. we’ve simply made a conscious CHOICE to run around “fat, dumb, and happy” turning a blind eye. it is what is. what it is ISN’T however, is sans consequence. this “mental follow through” is where you guys repeatedly fall short. but that’s what I’m here for so you’re good.

    failing to police our own, we now register as a BIG FAT JUICY target on the radar. what happens next I haven’t a clue…? what I CAN tell you is… it won’t be anything you’ll like.

  • John Mith

    @Norm G.

    I agree about the Range Rover incident. There have been numerous local news pieces on “dangerous canyon and mountain riders” after that. This negative publicity is not a good thing and only makes us as you said a “BIG FAT JUICY” target. Youtube is full of videos with bikers running from the police on powerful sport bikes and riding massive group rides completely ignoring local laws and police. The actions of a few ultimately affect ALL RIDERS.

    The reality is motorists are intimidated by motorcyclists. Some of this is based on experience and some of this is based on perception. This intimidation is fuel for many of them to be very much on the bandwagon of restricting our rights on the road. If you look at lane splitting issue for example that’s based on one thing. Jealousy. They are stuck in traffic while you are getting to your destination without the hassle.

    You can expect more and more of these proposed laws because they are sensational and attract attention. The actions of a few have created a political candy store and the people ultimately who will pay the price are the law abiding riders. The law breaking thugs on bikes will continue run and evade law enforcement. The lawmakers know this but they could care less at the end of the day about actually solving an issue. They just want to make a name for themselves and get votes. If you are blind to what’s really happening here you only have yourself to blame in the future when more and more restrictive laws are passed easily because of the momentum created over time. The AMA is trying their best to protect your rights even if you don’t understand the real issue has nothing to do with helmets. Letting your personal bias and ignorance cloud the issues is EXACTLY what the politicians are trying to accomplish here.

    Give them a helmet law today you will be giving up even more rights in the future. Go ahead. Let your personal bias and ignorance ruin your passion.

  • Kroeter

    I’m in favor of safety laws (speed limits, etc) but when a law requires the purchase of extra equipment then I am against it because someone will be profiting from our desire to ride free. There is no congress person who is honestly saying “My constituents demand this law”. Helmet manufacturer lobbyists are underwriting this effort.

    If the law is put into effect, will all current motorcycle owners get a voucher to purchase a new helmet? What kind of helmets will they make us purchase? Will they establish checkpoints or traffic stops for helmet inspections? Will we have to buy permits for our helmets? Because any schmoe that wants to ride can make his own DOT sticker for his 20-year old brain bucket.

  • Pete terHorst

    For those who commented about the AMA taking a position on lane splitting/filtering: The AMA Board of Directors approved a formal lane-splitting (and filtering) position statement at its last meeting in mid-October. You can view it here:

    For those who think the AMA supports loud pipes:

    Thanks, Pt

  • I’m for it, and I’ll take it one further, I think full face helmets should be mandated for anything that goes over 40 mph.

    Also mandatory penalties, like anyone under 18 caught riding without a helmet should be whisked off to a CIA Black site outside the United States, to be summarily tortured, waterboarding electrodes on the testicles etc., until they get the message.

  • John Mith

    @Aaron B. Brown

    With the way things are headed these day’s Aaron I’m sure you will have your wish in the future. Just pay attention to what new laws they create as you don’t want to end up in that CIA torture center for not having your papers in order.

  • Frightening the level of backwards thinking and irresponsible ignorance displayed by so many commenters here whenever this issue comes up. But hey this is America, and you have the right to be an ignorant moron If you choose, it’s just so pathetically sad that so many of you willingly take that route in life. I blame your parents.

    What the United States really needs is a stringent licensing process for those who wish to become parents and procreation, because obviously some people have no business doing so. I’d love to sit on that licensing board, and retroactively deny licenses to the parents of a number of retardos on this thread. Makes me wanna thank Jesus for the blessing of abortion, now if we could just get down to aborting the cognitively hopeless rejects, humanity might be saved. :-)

  • John Mith

    @Aaron B. Brown

    China has such a system to control their population. Seems to work well for them.

    It’s really a shame though that you’re so willing to override people’s freedom to think for themselves and force your narrow view of the world onto them. Sounds like someone has some control issues in their life. :/

  • SkidLid

    @John Mith

    Do you complain this much about seat belts, ABS, airbags, mandatory insurance coverage, DOT tire standards, mandated octane ratings, etc etc etc?

  • John Mith


    Re-read my comments. Notice I’m not complaining about the helmets at all. I always wear the highest model Arai helmet that I can get my hands on and I have several of them. They are a good idea. It’s also a good idea for people who can think for themselves to be able to make their own decisions in life instead of the nanny state protecting you from having to think at all.

    You like many others seem confused by the politicians blurting out “hey look a puppy” distracting your attention from their real purpose. To restate this for the retarded and reading comprehension challenged. THIS LAW HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HELMETS! It’s a power grab pure and simple. If it makes its way into law because people are too stupid to realize it’s real purpose expect more laws to come in it’s momentum.

    Anybody notice the timing here? We have lots of sensational news stories about outlaw sport bikers getting run over by Range Rovers and then out of the blue the CDC of all agencies wants to start talking about helmets and a nation wide law about them when there are plenty of state laws already on the books regarding helmet use? That’s pretty fishy don’t you think?

  • SkidLid

    @ John Mith

    I didn’t say if I was for or against helmet laws. I asked if you complain as much about other mandatory motor vehicle requirements, that have been law for decades in some cases, as you do about this proposed law. I can be against helmet laws AND against complainers. Personally, I don’t care what you or anyone else do with your own heads.I always wear a helmet, but I don’t feel the need to force others to. I was wondering if this topic incites as much rage as the host of other laws already enacted? I also wonder if all militant anti-helmet law individuals are also conspiracy theorists? (The CDC has studied this for years, spending hundreds of thousands. A youtube video that gets almost no main stream media coverage does not make an difference to the beaurocratic machinery) Does a hatred of mandated helmets have anything to do with tin foil hats in general?

    If you don’t like it you have options. You can exercise your democratic rights and vote against anyone that’s for the law. You could run for office yourself. Etc etc etc. Jensen seems to be for helmet laws. He runs a motorcycle blog and tells us about it. Good for him.

    You also have the complete right to complain about it here as well. I was just asking if your this nuts over all aspects of motor vehicle laws.

    I do believe the AMA is pretty useless. Non-riders see this argument and all they see is that the AMA (and by extension riders) are against safety. They don’t see this as a civil rights issue.

  • John Mith


    Thanks for clarifying. I did not really think I was complaining as much as I was really trying to open peoples eyes to the truth of what’s actually happening here. As for automotive laws some of them make a lot of sense and some don’t. I’m don’t really see a comparison as you don’t have Mercedes owners hating on Kia owners because of their choice of car and number of airbags. In the motorcycle world that “choice hate” is very active and quite honestly is the primary motivation for all the helmet hooplah. People are just taking their hatred out on the occasional Harley owner they see in a half helmet or a do rag out of their own ignorance and personal bias. While I don’t think wearing no helmet is a smart choice it’s certainly their choice to make.

    I suppose though it’s easy to slap a label on someone like “conspiracy theorist” than actually talk intelligently about a topic. How would mandatory helmet laws on a federal level benefit riders who already have state laws that require helmets? How would that law benefit riders like myself who voluntarily wear their helmets? How is this a good use of taxpayer money to pay for these studies on the federal level when most states already have addressed the issue with helmet laws? One other question. How many states don’t have mandatory helmet laws?

    It’s really sad to see a group of people with a common interest divided and bickering over other’s choices when a group like the AMA wants to protect the rights of all riders. The AMA is all for safety when the issue is actually about safety. This issue is not about safety at all. It’s about developing the legislative momentum to do other more restrictive things in the future. If you can’t see that I can’t feel sorry for you when your rights are ultimately taken. I had no idea that so many riders out there were mindless cattle that bought into everything that they were told.

  • Justaguy

    What does any of this have to do with Interstate Commerce?
    Can all of you read the US Constitution?
    The Free and Sovereign States are currently regulating helmet use, nothing has changed in that system which would require Federal intervention.
    Speed limits? State laws.
    Licensing requirements? State laws.
    Traffic regulations? State laws.
    Eye protection regulations for riding? State laws.

    Helmets being monitory or not? Suddenly Federal laws?

    I’m a Marine Corps combat vet, I operated 26 ton tanks for 6 years. I’ve spent the past 17 years as a professional firefighter in a large city in NY, sometimes scraping up fellow riders. I even played high school football, offensive and defensive line. I’ve worn a helmet on a daily basis for the better part of the last 28 years, helmets that have nothing to do with motorcycles. I’ve crashed bikes and helmets saved my face, just as my helmets in the Corps and at work reduced injuries to me. But I’ve ridden lidless back when California had no helmet law, I’ve ridden lidless on road trips, I’ve ridden with a helmet 99% of my 25+ years of riding all over America. So tell me, who the fuck is the Federal gov’t to me anything when the FREE AND SOVEREIGN STATES are already taking care of business? The old 55mph national speed limit was put in place because of OPEC embargoes, the Fed’s then decided to use it as a way to hold States hostage to Federal highway money, same with the seat belt laws and even making Martin Luther King day a holiday in Arizona. For you young kids, that’s what you like to call ‘bullying’.

    For those of you saying a Federal law mandating helmets….. not State laws or the general idea of wearing helmets….. is preferred, please explain to me why we have States. When you finish not being able to or saying something idiotic like “who cares, get rid of them”, I’ll ask you to contribute more of your hard earned money to some guy 2000 miles away in you ‘Stateless America’….. cause just like with healthcare ‘we are all in this together’, right? Or are all of you part of that ever expanding class of American’s who want laws and regulations that work for them and no other ones and don’t want to pay for anything but expect someone else somewhere else to have to kick in more? Shall we go the route of Mother England and just have one nation, Counties and Cities? It amazes me how much this country has bought into the big gov’t is always better crap. Fucking Hippies and the ME generation have wrecked this country.