Some tragic news with a twist comes to us from the long holiday weekend, as we get word that a helmetless rider from Onondaga, NY died after crashing his 1983 Harley Davidson motorcycle during a protest rally.

Though it’s always unfortunate when we lose a member of the motorcycle community, this story has a bit of irony as we learn that Philip A. Contos was participating in a motorcycle helmet protest when the 55-year-old flipped over the handlebars of his motorcycle, and hit his head against the pavement.

According to the attending physician, and based off the evidence and information at the scene of the accident, Contos would have survived the fall had he been wearing a DOT approved helmet, but instead sadly perished from his injuries.

Contos was riding with the Onondaga chapter of American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE), an organization that states it encourages the voluntary use of helmets but opposes mandatory helmet laws (for a comparison in arguments, that’s like saying you don’t believe in god, but consider yourself to be ‘spiritual’).

Motorcycle helmet laws have been a hot-button issue for years now, with states like New York enacting mandatory helmet use laws, while just recently Michigan put the idea of repealing its helmet law to its state legislature.

Here at Asphalt & Rubber, we’re keenly in favor of state helmet laws, and critical of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), the organization that’s supposed to lobby for the benefit of motorcyclists, for its stance on anti-motorcycle helmet legislation.

Source: The Post-Standard

  • Every American should have the right to be STUPID. Born without a sense of self-preservation is a genetic flaw that should be bred out of us. Consider this Darwinism at work.

    The only thing I don’t like about this, is that the insurance companies will use this as an argument to lobby for MORE helmet laws (or maybe even laws to eventually kill our sport altogether). Frankly, from a business perspective, I don’t understand this. Aren’t dead people less expensive to deal with than living people on long term medical care?

  • Andrew Steadman

    I find the arguments for no helmets to be something I cannot get my head around (no pun intended). We see state laws mandating other safety equipment such as seat belts and harnesses for construction workers, so why are motorcyles any different. I am English and living in the USA. We have had mandatory helmets in Europe for years and it is regarded in the same way as seatbelt lays.
    It is always sad to see a motorcylcist injured but I do think the idea of choice on this issue shoudl be removed. Perhaps it is more of a commercial issue than a safety issue. When Florida repealed its mandatory helmet law bike week attendance started improving!

  • Balzaak

    Law or no law I’m still going to wear a helmet, make my kids wear helmets and openly chastise friends who don’t wear helmets

  • Ricardo

    ABATE….American Bikers Aimed Towards Extinction.

    There it goes I fixed it for them.

  • Ben

    @ Andrew – The fundamental issue is that it should not be forced. Forcing helmets in the name of safety isn’t far from outlawing motorcycles for the same reason. I wouldn’t ride without a helmet, but I support choice.

  • collyer

    The reason most people do not understand the arguments for/against helmet laws are as follows:

    1.) They are not motorcycle riders.

    2.) They are from a country other than the US (it is hard to understand the rights & responsibilities of maintaining a free country if you did not grow up here & learn US history). We in the US are not willingly told what to do/not to do without actively questioning authority. See US Constitution for clarification.

    3.) Ignorance, both active & passive versions.

    As a life long rider (45+ years), I don’t need someone to tell me what I need to do to protect myself. If fashion & style is more important to me than preservation of life & brain function, then I should be able to choose whether or not to allow chance/fate/luck/skill to decide if I should be removed from the gene pool.
    The truth can be a very, very painful lesson to learn when preceded with ignorance.
    But you go ahead & fire up that Road King to ride down to the Starbucks in those shorts, flip-flops, and backwards gimme-cap, Junior.

  • Nobody

    Darwin Award nominee.

  • Anto

    I live in France, and here, as Andrew said, it’s mandatory (as in the whole Europe)
    Even if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t ride without my helmet on, BUT, I also understand the wish of liberty, and it’s an important thing, I guess.

    I don’t know how motorcycle and motorcyclists are seen in the US, but here, we’re almost gangster, no joke. If accident statistics are bad it’s OUR fault, WE are going too fast, WE blah blah ..
    People don’t know about the motorcycle world, politicians and medias are trying to scare people .. For instance, you’ll never see a motorcycle advertisment on the public television, or only once in a while in the street (like 1 per year)

    IN BRIEF, what I’m trying to say is, even if I think it’s stupid to ride without an helmet, why wouldn’t you let people do what they want .. after all. Keeping your liberty is important, for instance here, they now want us to wear yellow reflective vests (!!!) and to put licence plates of 20*30cm (that must be something like 8*12 inches)

    I kind of agree with Ben, saying it shouldn’t be forced, let dumb people be dumb, since you can do what you want

  • Jack

    “an organization that states it encourages the voluntary use of helmets but opposes mandatory helmet laws (for a comparison in arguments, that’s like saying you don’t believe in god, but consider yourself to be ‘spiritual’).”

    It’s more like you believe in god but don’t think you should be forced to go to church. It’s about freedom of choices.

  • Steve

    Funny how it’s not even an issue up here in Canada. People wear helmets for cycling, skiing, rollerblading, water sports, horseback riding, etc.

    I guess it’s individuality over society!

  • Why is it that Americans have overwhelmingly accepted laws that make the use of seat belts mandatory, and tolerate paying thousands of dollars more, per new car purchased, because of laws specifying that all new cars are equipped with mandatory crash protection… but somehow draw the line at helmets?

    I guess this endless debate will just drag on indefinitely. Of course, the ‘riders’ who are joining these anti-helmet-law rallies are typically one-Sunday-a-month-in-the-summer motorcyclists. Anyone who rides regularly knows that helmets aren’t just safer, they’re actually more comfortable than riding bare-headed. Check it out the next time you’re in a ‘no-helmet’ state — helmetless riders are almost all grimacing/scowling because of wind/grit/bugs in eyes (no, Ray Bans don’t solve this problem), deafening wind noise (your ears were not designed for 80 mph turbulence) to say nothing of the occasional june bug to the cheek or, even worse, mid-summer prairie hailstorm.

    If motorcyclists devoted half the energy they waste fighting helmet laws to something productive, maybe we’d actually have some political clout, and lane-splitting would be legal in states other than California. In the meantime, my favorite poster child for helmet laws is still ‘Big Ben’ Roethisberger, who nearly offed himself crashing his ‘busa while riding helmetless even though, of course, he wouldn’t dream of actually doing his job without a helmet…

  • Richard Gozinya

    The problem with the freedom argument, is that riding on the streets is a privilege, not a right. I guess the anti-helmet law people are too old or brain damaged to remember that from driver’s ed.

  • TSW

    I have to agree with Steve. In Canada it isn’t an issue. Sure some bicyclist don’t wear helmets and I know there’s a lot of dumbass teens out there Longboarding without zero gear on and getting very hurt. However Motorcyclist wear helmets without question. What I find amusing though is out here in Vancouver you’ll see more dudes on cruisers wearing the flip flop and shorts than the young kids on sport bikes.

    Even though it isn’t an issue I have to agree, let people decide what to do. There is nothing wrong with filtering the gene-pool. We over protect ourselves as a society and ironically it’s not through morals we do this, it’s business motivated.
    I belonged on a safety commitee at work and after a year I had to step down. It boiled down to this; if people want to be unsafe they will no matter what they are told, no matter how big the incentive no matter how many meetings. You either choose to wrk safe or you don’t. We are adults and as such assume all risks.

  • joe

    Freedom of choice is the key. When we voluntarily accept the loss of certain freedoms, we make it easier to lose more. Perhaps more fundamental ones, like the right to ride motorcycles at all, or maybe just the right to any bike over 100hp, or maybe the opportunity to own anything larger than a 400cc until the powers that be feel you are ready. Riding without a helmet is a cool feeling, but I always wear a helmet. I’m legally allowed to ride in shorts, but I would never do it. I think it is important to protect freedom, not just when it’s logical, but whenever it is encroached upon.

  • Oscar

    “American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE), an organization that states it encourages the voluntary use of helmets but opposes mandatory helmet laws (for a comparison in arguments, that’s like saying you don’t believe in god, but consider yourself to be ‘spiritual’).”


    For a true comparison in arguments, exercise is good for your health, and I exercise regularly and strenuously, but I oppose any attempts to force people to exercise. That’s liberty.

    However, liberty requirese responsibility. Just as people like me – who eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly – should not be forced to pay for the negative consequences of our neighbors’ junk food diet and lack of exercise, those of us who wear protective gear regardless of law should not be forced to pay for the negative consequences of those who don’t.

    Bottom line: helmet laws are a misguided attempt to protect brains that – by the admission of their owners – are not worth protecting.

  • Balzaak

    fyi: the link doesn’t seem to work and I tried it from both my phone and from a desktop

    Oops! Google Chrome could not find

  • Greg

    I think that people should have the opportunity to choose whether or not they protect the one brain that they’ve got rather than have the government decide for them. The trick is to give incentive for them to protect it, perhaps by giving insurance breaks for people who wear helmets and other protective gear.

    I certainly agree with the ‘natural selection’ comments, but I don’t think the rest of us want to have our rates affected by the helmetless. I can’t imagine what it costs for the non-fatal accidents where individuals spend the rest of their lives in a vegetative state from traumatic brain injuries. Spread that cost among the rates for those who choose not to protect their heads. We Americans love freedom of choice, but I’m sure that most of us also will make the choice(s) that don’t hit our wallets as hard.

  • Sam

    Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

    If you don’t want to wear a helmet you can always exercise your FREEDOM and CHOOSE not to ride a motorcycle.

  • jamesy

    Mr Gardiner et al:
    It is not and never was about whether it is safe(r) to wear a helmet. It is safer to stay home ferchrissake, safer to NOT jump out of a plane, among an entire litany of other choices that we demand to be allowed to make. Why is it different about MC helmets? The abridgment of my freedom for “my own good” could be used to eliminate a huge portion of our lives that we have come to view as essential. Where does it stop Mr. Gardiner? Perhaps when something YOU want to do becomes illegal?
    Choice, Period, nuff said!!!

  • Ricardo

    If Social Insurance Health Services are free for all habitants (and foreigners) but paid by the State as it is in Spain, it’s mandatory to wear maximum protection against damages in drive/ride vehicules, because the damages caused by not wearing safety belt or helmet are paid by us through our taxes.

    So, here in Spain, even if you have poor wheel conditions you get a police’s note. Of course the same with helmets (they blocked you the bike) or even low safety equipment.

    So, there is a reason of common (economical) interest of being less injured as possible in case of traffic accident…the sanitary bill that everyone paid here through taxes.

    Ok, in your case in the USA…since I consider a stupid thing not to protect the head in any type of vehicle wher you are overexposed, there is no an economic argument behind the fact of wearing helmet or not. If you cras, you pay (or dead). So it’s personal choice. You can call it freedom, from my perspective is madness….

  • Jester

    I cringe that my response from this article was to laugh hysterically. I am not laughing at the poor helmetless man-turned-example, but at the situation itself.
    Also, reading these comments makes me think of the Patriot Act. Undoubtedly, many of you who scream “freedom” about helmet laws whole-heartedly supported the sacrifice of much of our privacy rights (etc.) in the name of public safety. Public safety is also the issue here.
    Sure, you can choose to not wear a helmet, and die from a small, otherwise insignificant accident. But what about your kids? Is it just that your children should be raised with the same disregard for their own safety that is demonstrated by their freedom-loving parents?
    Next thing you know, they are going to try and outlaw my freedom to go next door and shoot my neighbors, or shoot myself! Oh, wait. Suicide is already illegal, as is murder, and these acts are synonymous with not wearing a helmet and encouraging your children to do the same, respectively. Everyone wrecks, it could happen anytime you swing a leg over your bike. Wear a helmet and live to ride another day.

  • Sid

    @collyer –

    “We in the US are not willingly told what to do/not to do without actively questioning authority. See US Constitution for clarification”…

    Over the centuries since that amazing document was written, “actively questioning authority” in the US has barely amounted to applying for a protest permit and gathering in x numbers. This pales in comparison to the most recent events throughout northern Africa and the Mid-East. Ukranians showed a great example of camping out in sub-zero temps when they called bullshit on their election. What did the US citizens do with the hanging chad fiasco in FL? Just about nothing but have more money spent in our name. We all know what bush did with that “win” of that election. Spent a trillion more in a trumped up invasion.

  • jamesy

    a public safety issue. A helmet? Lets hope your carpets are as fuzzy as your logic. Typical. Always want to make sure everyone ELSE is doing YOUR version of the RIGHT thing. I do not ride helmetless but I am also man enough not to PRESUME that my ideas on things are anyone elses responsibility. Get over yourselves

  • Frenchie

    Maybe this will all change when you’ll turn into a modern country with universal healthcare?
    When you’ll have proper healthcare, you’ll soon understand that all these mindless helmetless riders cost YOU money for trivial and unnecessary reasons.
    As already mentioned by someone else, this is a rather uncommon approach in the US, thinking as a society instead of a collection of individuals, therefore it is hard to accept, particularly in certain groups.

    Actually motorcycle accidents leaving the rider in a vegetative state are rather uncommon but what is much more common is a mindless rider spending days in a hospital whereas he would only spend hours if he had the brains to wear a helmet. Here is your waste of money!

    I know the US approach to civil liberties is historically very different from other parts of the world, even if you relinquished lots of liberties in the past 10 years (Patriot Act etc…) but please, please, please, travel abroad, confront yourself to different societies, ways of life, ways of thinking and stop believing you are the only ones living in a free world! (I’m not saying all US citizens are like that, I know it’s not the case, but still can apply to a good portion)

    Anyway, why so much opposition against the helmet law compared to wearing a safety belt? Why is one common sense and the other an attack to your constitutional rights?

    PS: individual VS society bis…I will never understand why in some states it is not mandatory to have a car/bike insurance…good luck if someone crashes into you and doesn’t have the money to pay for your car or injuries…scary thought!

  • Andrew: The Florida case was almost eerily like this one… the woman who was responsible for getting the Florida helmet law repealed died shortly afterwards from traumatic brain injury. Yep, she was riding without a helmet.

  • Frenchie

    Sorry, my previous post appears much more agressive than I intended, please don’t take offense.
    America, fuck yeah ;-)

  • Billy B.Tso

    There are so many rules and restrictions that are already enforced…to question one restrictions, gives you a false sense of freedom. To question all, the country would be engulfed in riots!
    Nothing is being achieved here.

  • My theory is that since every driving test I have ever taken has posed the question “T or F, Operating a motor vehicle is a right” (the obvious correct answer being false); that you have no ground to make helmet laws a rights issue. If operating is not a right, setting guidelines on how you must safely and legally operate one can not be an infringement of a right. Additionally, what kind of booger eating, slack jawed moron would ever say, “Hey Princess, go ahead and hop on the back if that 19 year old boy’s bike, but don’t let him make you wear a helmet, that’s infringing on your rights” or “Hey, it my God given right to put my infant child any where in the car I dart well please and I won’t let you Commies tell me any different. My boy likes to ride on the back dash in the hole where the speaker used to be”.

  • GeddyT

    What people don’t seem to understand in this country is that even with our “private” healthcare industry here, we STILL pay for traumatic accidents! Hospitals cannot refuse emergency care. We pick up the tab. No matter publicly or privately funded (via insurance), the cost of all medical care (except the infinitesimally small amount that is paid for by the very rich with cash) is distributed. It’s just that simple.

    Having said that, I’d like to see some actual data on this. I’d like to see what the cost to society is from helmetless riding. I’ve seen it argued both ways: one side claims that injured helmetless riders cost everyone in tax dollars and raised insurance premiums, the other side claims that a dead rider is cheaper than an injured one.

    So let’s see some actual data instead of conjecture. Jensen, this would be a decent idea for a story, to put this issue to bed once and for all. Here’s what I believe would be pertinent:
    1.) Percentage of accidents that are fatal for helmeted vs. helmetless riders.
    2.) Degree of injury for helmeted vs. helmetless.
    3.) Average cost of medical treatment for helmeted vs. helmetless.
    4.) Average lifetime cost of survivor benefits for helmeted vs. helmetless.
    5.) Are helmet laws more or less likely to incur further legislative winnowing of motorcyclists’ rights?

    Number 4 is a figure that I think most overlook. When a rider spills his brains and leaves a homemaker and four kids behind, what’s the cost to the state in survivor benefits and welfare? What’s the cost to the state in counseling and mental health? What’s the cost to the state in dealing with fatherless/motherless children that don’t get enough attention growing up and take it out on the world?

    Number 5 is also a question definitely worth considering. Some feel that if you give the legislature an inch they’ll take a mile. Others feel like brains scattered across the highway pretty much screams, “PLEASE make this activity completely illegal!” So which is it?

    It’s like in Fight Club: If A times B is larger than C? Screw you, freedom lover; you don’t have the right harm society.

    If, on the other hand, a couple thousand idiots per year cleansing the human gene pool amounts to nothing more than, well, a couple thousand idiots per year cleansing the gene pool? Yeah, whatever Dude, have fun eating bugs and go out with a bang.

  • GeddyT

    Huh, go figure. IIHS has already done exactly the research I was asking for.

    Want a sneak preview?

    Unhelmeted riders have higher health care costs as a result of their crash injuries, and many lack health insurance. In November 2002, NHTSA reported that 25 studies of the costs of injuries from motorcycle crashes “consistently found that helmet use reduced the fatality rate, probability and severity of head injuries, cost of medical treatment, length of hospital stay, necessity for special medical treatments, and probability of long-term disability. A number of studies examined the question of who pays for medical costs. Only slightly more than half of motorcycle crash victims have private health insurance coverage. For patients without private insurance, a majority of medical costs are paid by the government.”


    Studies conducted in Nebraska, Washington, California, and Massachusetts indicate how injured motorcyclists burden taxpayers. Forty-one percent of motorcyclists injured in Nebraska from January 1988 to January 1990 lacked health insurance or received Medicaid or Medicare.17 In Seattle, 63 percent of trauma care for injured motorcyclists in 1985 was paid by public funds.27 In Sacramento, public funds paid 82 percent of the costs to treat orthopedic injuries sustained by motorcyclists during 1980-83.28 Forty-six percent of motorcyclists treated at Massachusetts General Hospital during 1982-83 were uninsured.

  • Nice find GeddyT. A little more fuel for the fire, though not perfect proof: when I moved from CA to PA, my motorcycle insurance doubled (CA for being a helmet law state, PA being a non-helmet state). When I moved back to CA, it went down by nearly half.

    The insurance companies are doing the math, and this isn’t rocket science. The whole libertarian argument about personal freedoms is based on the idea that people should be allowed to do things, as long as it doesn’t impinge on the others living their life. Well heltmetless riders, you’re doubling my insurance premiums, what gives you the right to do that?

    I also like @abovethebars’ point that driving, from a legal perspective, is a privilege, not a right.

  • GeddyT

    The IIHS studies aren’t perfect. Mostly because they all seem to be nearly 30 years old, which is sad. Also, although they seem to cover points 1 through 3 that I wanted addressed, it’s really points 4 and 5 that I’m curious about.

    Still, it’s a starting point.

    Here in Washington state we are not required to be insured to ride a motorcycle. Sorry to say it, but I’m among the many riders that have never been insured. Most insurance companies won’t even insure a sport bike (I’m with Allstate, and back when I tried my agent told me that company policy is to deny coverage to any motorcycle that “contains the letter R”). The ones that will insure (Progressive, Geico) are so ridiculously expensive that it just doesn’t make sense. I demolished my bike at a track day, costing thousands and thousands of dollars to get it back to pristine conditions. It was really a worst case scenario. I did the math and found that I had still spent less for the repairs than I would have on just two years worth of insurance premiums (never mind what claiming the accident–had it been on the street and therefore covered–would have done to my future car/bike rates).

    I have excellent healthcare coverage through my work that covers myself in any accident. The only “gap” in my coverage was liability. It’s sad that this coverage was just not affordable to buy. It was more expensive than the bike payment!

    No worry anymore, though. I only ride dirt.

  • irksome

    1. Please stop using the “slippery slope” argument, ie “Next, they’ll take away our dang motorsickles”. It’s not a valid point, it’s a smoke screen.
    2. Since we can’t legislate away stupidity yes, require helmets. Until, that is, those who refuse to wear one are allowed to sign a waiver saying that they will be personally responsible for their own head-trauma costs.
    3. Sorry to say it but I laughed at this jackhole. Sadly, it seems he had already procreated.

  • DanY

    Jensen – “Well heltmetless riders, you’re doubling my insurance premiums, what gives you the right to do that?”

    How about we put pressure on the insurance companies to lower insurance rates for people who wear helmets and other protective equipment. I would volunteer to ALWAYS were a helmet, gloves, jacket, pants and boots if it would lower my insurance rates – I wear it even without an insurance discount.

    “I also like @abovethebars’ point that driving, from a legal perspective, is a privilege, not a right.”

    Who said that a Citizen (not a commercial vehicle), didn’t have the RIGHT to drive? I didn’t give up that right.
    In fact, Supreme Courts have ruled that it IS a right:

    “Complete freedom of the highways is so old and well established a blessing that we have forgotten the days of the Robber Barons and toll roads, and yet, under an act like this, arbitrarily administered, the highways may be completely monopolized, if, through lack of interest, the people submit, then they may look to see the most sacred of their liberties taken from them one by one, by more or less rapid encroachment.” Robertson vs. Department of Public Works, 180 Wash 133, 147.

    “The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by horse drawn carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city can prohibit or permit at will, but a common Right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thompson vs. Smith, 154 SE 579.

    “The use of the highways for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common and fundamental Right of which the public and the individual cannot be rightfully deprived.” Chicago Motor Coach vs. Chicago, 169 NE 22; Ligare vs. Chicago, 28 NE 934; Boon vs. Clark, 214 SSW 607; 25 Am.Jur. (1st) Highways Sect.163.

  • Anvil

    Hey, ABATE, here’s a much more effective idea for an anti-helmet-law protest:

    Invite riders who wear helmets…voluntarily.

  • Scott

    “Here at Asphalt & Rubber, we’re keenly in favor of state helmet laws”

    I always wear a helmet and full gear no matter how short the ride or how warm the temperature. I think ABATE is a moronic organization. But….I’m absolutely opposed to mandatory helmet laws. It is not the Government’s duty to protect us from ourselves.

    “Why, the Government is merely a servant- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.” – Mark Twain

  • Bazza

    Americans and their precious ‘civil liberties’. It’s a big laugh to the rest of the world. You think these are the things make your country so precious to you ? Look what your gun laws do for you in your cities and your schools, yet you wont change them. Only a fool who doesn’t care about his own life would ride a motorbike without a helmet. Only an idiotic Government would allow such easy procurement and possession of firearms, and give citizens the right to bear arms. Only an idiotic Government would allow helmet laws to be left to personal choice. You’ll all end up falling off your bikes and perishing from head injuries as you try to shoot your neighbour.

    But at least you’ll look cool, and get to fire one off before you go. Yee-hah.

  • joe

    It is a slippery slope. Did you hear about the motorcycle protests in France? That’s a country that has already accepted a hp cap. I believe Florida already dealt with the insurance issue with regards to helmet less riders, no life insurance, mandatory helmet. Again, I would never ride any further than I have to without a helmet, but lets keep that issue as a benchmark.

  • Westward

    I think they should make it a mandatory law, that everyone has to wear bulletproof vests too, so that i’m not the only one…

  • JoeD

    When did ABATE change itself. A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments was the original phrasing. Any way, I teach the MSF Suite and always relate this story–I was broadsided by an auto when 16. I landed on my head at the 90* junction of curb and street. I am now 54 with grandkids. I would have missed a lot if it were not for the helmet. Go ahead and be a statistic, don’t expect any sympathy from me. And the Insurance company should not have to pay for your vanity/ stupidity. Protective gear has come a long way. It has become the most comfortable, non-intrusive safety package as yet devised. If you want to kill yourself, do it early before marriage and kids. The family you will never have will thank you.

  • GeddyT

    Huh, just noticed that my link to the IIHS studies didn’t work. Just copy/paste:

  • My sympathy goes out to this fellow and his family, and what a bitterly ironic exclamation point to this argument. Out of EVERYTHING our various governments do, I’d be hard pressed, personally, to dig in and make a stand about this particular issue if I were picking a fight with Big Government, but that’s just me.

    I’ve lived long enough to know that a) all I can take care of is me and mine, and b) like Ron White says, ‘you can’t fix stupid’.

    In a different world, riding in street clothes with the wind blowing across my face would be a wonderful thing.

    But in the world I DO live in, bare my head is no match for any number of inanimate objects it would hit at any speed faster than a walk. The wind blowing over me is often filled with rocks, sand, any number of stinging insects, the occasional jettisoned beer can or Big Gulp, and my absolute favorite, the still-lit cigarette butt, a close second to a loog of Copenhagen out of the 4×4 just ahead of me. I can’t figure out how to slide on my bare hands at 50 mph on asphalt, or bare legs and feet either. So, I’m an ATGATT guy, not easy in these 90-degree-plus summers.

    I get cold chills when I see some good looking kid in a muscle shirt on his R6 and his darling little girlfriend in her Daisy Dukes wheely-ing by me on the Interstate at 70, what would happen if he sets it down wrong and they go for the l o n g s l i d e on all that bare skin?

    I’d like to think I’m not a wimp. But why on Earth would I NOT give myself every chance of surviving if worse comes to worse? But that’s the way I look at it for me. And for the people who depend on me. I could not imagine my family at MY funeral saying, ‘if he’d have only worn a helmet and the rest of the gear . . .’ It’s no guarantee, but I want to better my odds any way I can. Why wouldn’t I ?

    Unfortunately, freedom does leave room to hurt yourself. I could easily shoot myself, but I don’t want gun control. So I can understand how these guys feel. But it’s just not for me.

    Be careful out there !

  • Spamtasticus

    This is simple.

    Step 1. Ban helmetless riding. Too dangerous.
    Step 2. Ban Motorcycles. Too dangerous.
    Step 3. Sit on the porch and tell the kids about how cool it was in the US whe we were allowed to live our own lives the way we wanted to.

    Helmet law is a very bad thing for motorcyclists. Let me spell it out for you all. If the states are allowed to ban non helmet riding because it is dangerous instead of allowing the free, adult citizen to make his own decisions about how to live his or her life then how long do you think it will be before motorcycle riding gets banned for being dangerous?

  • Spamtasticus

    To clarify, I think helmetless riding is moronic but by the same token I think bull riding, boxing, hockey, and harleys are moronic but what I think should not affect the people who enjoy those things. The last thing we need is more nanny in our nanny state.

  • Spamtasticus

    “an organization that states it encourages the voluntary use of helmets but opposes mandatory helmet laws (for a comparison in arguments, that’s like saying you don’t believe in god, but consider yourself to be ‘spiritual’)”

    It is like saying you don’t believe in god but respect the right of others wasting their lives groveling over an imaginary invisible man in the clouds. It is their right, no matter how stupid you may think it is as long as they, do not try to force it on you.

  • Beary

    Spamtasticus, everything you say is wrong. It’s endemic of the ridiculous American attitude of everyone having a right to do as they please, the ridiculously laughable ‘slippery slope’ argument, the blind ‘don’t force your laws on me’ redneck idiocy. Fact: Wearing a helmet SHOULD be the law, anyone who wants to fight that law has their head up their arse – no doubt, without a helmet.

  • Spamtasticus

    @Beary. Your argument thick on hyperbole and name calling and completely lacking in coraborating basis has conviced me to change my mind. Cheerleaders shoul definetly be required to wear helmets by the government. Considering it is the most dangerous and injury prone sport in colleges and highchools.

  • Spamtasticus


    That “ridiculous American attitude of everyone having the right to do as they please” is called personal freedom. It is one of the most important priciples that not only founded this country but differentiates it from many others. It is in fact one of the primary reasons I live here. Bring that “ridiculous attitude” to mind the next time one of your endemic bureacrats tells you what you can and can not do.

  • JoeD

    Your so-called right to ride helmetless is adversely affecting my insurance premiums. By using the “Freedom” card, one person becomes the reponsibility of the rest. Just as obese people run up health care costs for all. The solution is to hit the wallet of those who are the problem-have an accident with no protection, no insurance pay out.

  • Spamtasticus

    So, your insurace premium should affect other people’s rights to live their life the way they choose? Furthermore, by your logic, the non motorcyclists should kick your ass off of the insurance policy because you ride a motorcycle and that will raise their premiums. Interesting. Advocating for just the freedoms you are interested in is more than a little perverse.

  • Spamtasticus

    Richard G.
    “The problem with the freedom argument, is that riding on the streets is a privilege, not a right. I guess the anti-helmet law people are too old or brain damaged to remember that from driver’s ed.”

    I hate to destroy your concept of civics instilled in you by that wise drive’s ed teacher but freedom of travel is in fact a right inumerated in the constitution. Furthermore, the streets are, in fact, ours and not the government’s. When did Americans forget where they came from and what this country stands for? I am amazed at how little they know of their herritage and how willing they are to give it away. Sad