How Much Does a Motorcycle Crash Cost?

11/29/2012 @ 2:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler105 COMMENTS

In 2010, 439,678 motorcycles were sold in the United States. In that same year, 82,000 motorcyclists were injured in motorcycle crashes, and 4,502 were killed. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the direct cost of these motorcycle crashes was $16 billion or more. Thirty-times more likely to die in a vehicle accident, the typical fatal motorcycle crash costs an estimated $1.2 million according to the report, while non-fatal crashes range from $2,500 to $1.4 million depending upon the severity of the injuries and incidents.

In making its recommendations to curtail the costs associated with motorcycle crashes, the GAO says that only effective measure is the mandatory use of a motorcycle helmet. Citing several studies that say motorcycle helmets reduce the fatality rate of motorcycle crashes by 39%, the GAO also cites the NHTSA, which says that motorcycle helmets prevented 1,550 deaths in 2010. The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) says helmets saved the economy $3 billion in those 1,550 instances.

This information seems to confound Jeff Hennie, Vice President of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), who told the Associated Press that his group is “100% pro-helmet, and 100% anti-helmet law,” and went on to state that “putting a helmet law in place does not reduce motorcycle fatalities.” The MRF has the stated goal of promoting motorcycle education and training, but a track record of ignoring the prior, while failing to achieve the latter.

Because of lobbying efforts by groups like the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and the American Motorcyclist Association, both of whom have been vocally against the adoption of helmet laws in the United States, earlier this month the NHTSA has dropped mandatory helmet laws from its list of the ten “most wanted” safety improvements.

Just a two days ago, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) issued a press release, where it praised the GAO for its call to Congress for changes in motorcycle safety. The GAO made two points in its charge to Congress, 1) Congress should give states more flexibility in the way they use funds that have been earmarked to tackle motorcycle safety, and 2) that the NHTSA should provide states with more comprehensive information about motorcycle crashes and injuries.

Unfortunately, roughly 50% of the American motorcycle market is based around the Harley-Davidson biker stereotype, which often trades common sense for fashion sense when it comes to protective headwear. Making personal liberty arguments about the mandatory use of helmets, these single-issue libertarians apparently forget the original point…motorcycle crashes are costing our economy $16 billion each year.

The fact of the matter is that the United States needs a robust and comprehensive study into motorcycle safety issues, so that our leadership can make informed opinions and educated laws regarding motorcycling in the United States. Maybe then, our industry can stop listening to our detrimental leadership, and become functioning members of the 21st century.

The full GAO report can be found here:

Source: AP

  • Exodus

    Liberty is even more expensive than that. It cost blood and lives from the very founding of this country.

    You don’t come right out and say it but I assume from your tone that you believe that some government agency should be given the power to tell me how I should or should not protect myself. I live in a state that does not require a helmet to ride, and yet I wear a helmet regardless.

    This country was founded and constructed, in part, for the purpose of being at Liberty to make my own choices. Otherwise, why leave Europe and England?

    I appreciate the motorcycle news you offer Mr. Beeler, and I understand how much work goes into running a successful blog – but we deeply disagree about the value of Liberty and I suspect we always will. Once Liberty is successfully eliminated in this country you won’t be able to get it back at any price, and all the helmet laws in the world won’t make a hill of beans difference.

    Have a good evening.

  • Crsh&Brn

    @Exodus +1

    I also live and work in states that do not require an experienced rider to wear a helmet. I CHOOSE to do so. Let those who ride decide, hope they decide correctly.

  • Spamtasticus

    How much money would the economy savemif we banned motorcycle riding?

  • TC

    National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act require passengers in a motor vehicle to wear seat belts because people were dying from minor crashes. I am sure people in the 60s thought that was a intrusion of liberty. Why couldn’t anyone drive down the freeway at 60mph without any restrain if they so to choose? If they were ejected out of a car in a crash, it’s their own choice?

  • TRL

    I challenge you to compare the costs of car accident related head injuries and head injury related deaths to the costs of motorcycle accident related head injuries and head injury related deaths (even as a percentage of total vehicular accidents).

    If the justification is savings, then helmets for all including car drivers and car passengers!

    Cost savings alone is rarely a good argument for anything.

    And I agree with others, I’ve been with (now) and without (15 years). I CHOOSE with. You can’t fix stupid and you can’t legislate a fix for it either. If you could, Jerry Springer and Maury wouldn’t have jobs.

    Freedom means having the Freedom to make good and bad decisions as well.

  • You’re right, we do deeply disagree about the value of liberty.

    I enjoy the idea that since I am pro-helmet laws that I therefore must be anti-liberty, by my very nature. Moving beyond how cheap of an argument that is to make, the reality is that I wouldn’t begin to make the transgression of suggesting that mandatory helmet laws are even within the same realm ideologically as the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, due process, equal protection, or even the fundamental right to the pursuit of happiness.

    Just so we are clear, on the spectrum of personal liberties, wearing a motorcycle helmet is somewhere in-between getting up while an airplane is taxiing on the runaway and running with scissors on a schoolyard. And, just so we’re clear about one thing, when you talk about helmet laws in the same tone as say something like free speech, you’re not elevating status of the prior, you’re lowering the value of the latter.

    There is a misnomer here that personal choices are the same thing as personal liberties, and if you argue they are the same, then you have never had to weigh the importance of either.

    Somewhere in the hyperbole of the public discourse on the issue of motorcycle helmets, it gets lost that our country is one of laws, and that there is a social contract between the people and its government. If we debase that the idea of personal liberty is to include every choice that an individual could make, then we might as well not have a government.

    Yet we do have a government, and our particular form, the one that is the actual reason why we revolted against the British, is a democracy through the structure of a republic. In other words, we directly elect the people who generate the laws that govern how all of us individuals, with all our divergent and self-centric agendas, are going to get along together. This is the system that our Founding Fathers envisioned for us, this is what the “cost of blood and lives” was paid to protect — not the choice to wear a helmet while wearing a motorcycle, which as it turns out costs about $5 billion a year.

    Just so I’m taking the temperature correctly on this issue, you anti-helmet/pro-liberty guys are in favor of abortion, gay marriage, and the legalization of marijuana, right?

  • I got a hospital bill for 1.7 million one time, but I’m still here, hard to kill Micky Fickies. :)

    And that Bill, well I keep tellin em, the check is in the mail.

  • Minibull

    I feel so repressed and controlled here in NZ…having to wear a helmet by law…you have no idea how little freedom we have.

  • ERG

    Well said, JB, well said

  • Some of the infant morons who post here are so funny, notice they are anonymous i.e. cowards. If you can’t put a name and a face behind your words, then you ain’t a man.

    Just little boys playing on the Internet, have no idea what the world has in store for them. I just hope you got your mommies and daddies around to wipe your nose and clean your behind, and spoon feed your brain damaged ass, when they scrape your empty brainpan up off the highway. I hope they love with a fierce devotion, for your sake. :)

  • Nick


    Aaron A. Brown is a man. Thank you.

  • Nick

    *B. -1

  • Crashmanjay

    Interesting debate. As one of the guys who has spilled blood in uniform for our freedom, spent a career as a professional fireman scraping people off the road I get older and more libertarian (I’m almost 43), and yes I’ve had serious crashes, one where I would’ve lost my jaw had it not been for a full face helmet yet I wear full, 3/4 and 1/2 helmets (NY has mandatory helmets and eye protection, along with having to wear a shirt of some kind while riding….. used to be a big deal in the 70’s so don’t laugh) and I have gone lidless many, many times since that crash. I was thinking about helmets and laws last night after watching a 70’s biker flick online (Northville Cemetery Massacre, I love looking at real chops from the 50’s-70’s and exploitation flicks are the best for that).

    As for your last line you wrote Jensen, yep, I’m pro gay marriage, legalize all drugs, scrape baby Susie out of your crotch at will, I’m all for them and always have been. I also think I should be able to buy any legal gun in any state at any time and carry it on my person (you can’t and types of guns allowed are regulated by states other than full auto/burst capable guns). I also think the drinking age should be the same as the draft/military age (drop drinking to 18 or lower maximum minimum enlistment age from 17 with parental consent/18 without to 21 to match ‘legal adulthood).

    But what gets lost in the debate is responsibility. No helmet, I’m taking my chances. Carry/own a gun, I’m obligated to use it lawfully and hopefully with common sense. Bang a chick without protection and I might be on the hook for the cost of a visit to Planned Parenthood or 18 years of child support. Every choice we make, every second, has consequences. There are factors beyond our control in life and there are things we can try to minimize via things like condoms……. helmets……. training.

    To tell someone that they must do something removes responsibility from them. Most Americans are lazy with their rights and freedoms. We have allowed ourselves (especially post 9/11) to accept what are basically military forces controlling our daily life in the guise of police, Border Patrol, speed cameras, red light cameras….. you name it Big Brother IS out there and IS watching. That isn’t coming from a survivalist, Mayan prophecy believer, it’s coming from a guy with experience who has seen it transform.

    The implementation of California’s helmet law came with the criminalization of riding in the bed of an open truck too. People who didn’t live there then or weren’t old enough to remember might say “Good!” but the reality was that a few times a year, across a state with tens of millions of people a truck full of people crashed and some died as a result of riding in the bed of the truck. So those 10’s of millions were told ‘for your safety we are going to stop you from doing this’. Has it saved 30-40 people a year? Maybe. Did it steal personal responsibility from millions of pickup owners? Yup. To me that is wrong. I see helmet laws as the same thing; a solution to a problem that is one of choice. Economics should never come into play as there is a much larger argument for banning all bikes being banned (on and off road) as too dangerous and none of us want that. Think I’m wrong? Find me a brand new 3 wheeler from Honda. Ain’t happening. Because safety Nazi’s said they were bad for us. That led to quads coming out to replace them. OK, good. What replaces a 2 wheeled bike? One of those Can Ams? Get plowed by a Mack on one of those and it will be similar to if you were on a Ducati. How about Corvettes and Vipers? Dangerous or the some of the safest cars around from a braking and handing standpoint. A Chevy Spark? Too small? I don’t know. It isn’t up to me to say. It meets regulations, it has to be as safe as ‘safe’ can be using whatever measurement is decided upon by those we elect and then those they appoint to decide such things.
    So it comes down to “there are products available for your safety, we suggest you use them”. I understand riding and driving are privileges (another issue I had while thinking about this….. I pay for roads, why do I need permission to use them?) but there needs to be a rethinking of how America ‘lives’ in my mind. Do we live in fear with fully kitted out cops and Border checkpoints 100 miles inland the norm? Where you can be “stop and frisked” by the NYPD? Where the Supreme Court needs to tell cops ‘yes, you are no different than a garbage man and can be filmed 100% of the time while on duty’. Where kids can’t play dodgeball because it hurts kids feelings but that same fatty can go home and behead zombies online all night?

    That is the real question, what do you, any of you, think America should look like from a freedoms, rights and responsibilities standpoint. Then do what you can to support or change things to fit your view. Otherwise you have no right to complain. Like I tell family members who refuse to vote,’ you choose not to participate then you give up the right to complain. Shut up and pay your taxes.’ Democracy is participatory by definition.

  • Crashmanjay

    Arron B Brown, do you think that putting a name makes your statements more or less valid? I bet with some snooping you could track me down. Professional fireman, former Marine, lives somewhere in NY, crashed his motorcycle and has referenced other sites he posts on…… I don’t need to list my full name online. If you want to figure out who I am you can. You just need to work at it. But to play the ‘old guy’ thing is a pussy move. Add something to the debate beside calling kids names. You wrote a long reply to the crash video post, this theme (helmet laws) MUST bring out more in you than calling kids names. Or are you a ‘named’ pussy online acting tough? The internet is full of those too…….

  • Mariofz1

    Well, if they want to improve motorcycle safety how about BANNING cell phone texting and talking period…’s the conversation that intrudes in your driving, it doesn’t matter if you have a hands free device….also the proliferation of SUVs of the past 20 years have helped a lot…..not fun hitting or being hit by a 8000 monster.

    As for the helmet, or more specifically helmet laws, personally I never need a law to protect myself. It’s really a no brainer, except for the people that insist on riding without one : )

  • mchale2020

    It is a person’s personal choice whether or not he or she wants to wear a helmet, but the repercussions of their choice is felt by society as the more severe injuries likely faced will have to be compensated by some kind of health insurance, which is a collective fund paid into by all kinds of people.

    When people take their safety for granted, they are also taking a lot of other influences/factors for granted as well, including their common man.

  • Phil Pfeiffer

    You ought to think a little about just who these groups are promoting the studies.

    They have their own motives.

  • Crsh&Brn

    @ Crashmanjay +1

    I CHOSE to serve my country. Fortunately, it was in peacetime. I appreciate your service, and I agree with you despite the fact you don’t go by your real name.

    If I have the RIGHT to CHOOSE whether or not to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, why do I not have the RIGHT to CHOOSE whether or not to wear a seat belt when driving or riding in an automobile. Which one is more dangerous? Who am I endangering other than myself if I CHOOSE to not wear a seat belt? Whose best interests were served by the passage of seat belt laws? I wonder how much money the insurance industry has saved that can be attributable to seat belt laws.

    If the lives of 1550 motorcyclists were saved in 2010 by the use of helmets, how many motorcyclists could be saved in 2013 if laws regarding “distracted driving” were passed and enforced with the same vigor police would have you believe that they are enforcing DUI laws? When I see large signs at state lines stating “distracted driving” subject to fines, cause death – go to jail, then I won’t mind wearing a seat belt so much.

  • Crashmanjay

    From a purely cost point of view, do any of you pro-law guys think we should tell everyone who lost their homes in Hurricane Sandy that they will never be allowed to rebuild? It costs the nation an assload of cash every time something like that, or wildfires or earthquakes or floods happen. We need to get some relocation camps to move most of the population so we can save money. C’mon, I use my belt 99.9% of he time and it is because I get that it is safer. I also realize every single time I ride that I am extremely vulnerable. It changes how you ‘participate’ in the action of operating the vehicle. Driving the fire truck to a call vs going back or just being out and about puts me in two different frames of mind. BUT, because I ride and because I’ve learned to run a 45 foot long rig through the city I consider myself at a different level of awareness than the genuinely average driver. I have learned how to pay better attention and it is 2nd nature now, on the bike it is tweaked to another level (similar to when driving lights and sirens to a fire in my mind) and when my confidence in my own riding skills, along with being in an area that allows helmetless riding (another state), considering the type of road, the surroundings, traffic, weather and whatever else there have been times I’ve ridden lidless. It was a calculated risk I took. Same as riding in jeans or a tshirt or gloveless. The potential consequences might not be the same as being lidless, but swing by a VA hospital and ask a kid with no left hand if it’s fun. But I bet everyone on this page has at some time ridden without ATGATT, even if only once, even if it was just riding with the faceshield up on their helmet. ATGATT IS ATGATT isn’t it? And that is the point, let people decide, stop being Big Brother about everything to save somebody from something. Wussification of the country. Take your kids to see X Games then tell them they can’t climb a tree in the yard. Bitch that they play video games all day then tell them to put a helmet, elbow, knee and who knows where else padding on just to skate around in the driveway.

  • Brett Atkin

    I’m for whatever the rider chooses to do. But I must admit, I find it difficult to feel sorry for a rider that crashes and gets injured/dies because they weren’t wearing a helmet and other projective gear. I think mandatory helmets would save some lives, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of personal freedoms.

    Where does it stop? Next it will be jackets, gloves, pants, boots… I’ve once passed a guy wearing a helmet, tank top, shorts and flip flops. The helmet could save his life, but he’ll die of infection when he looses half his skin.

    I can think of much better ways to save the economy 3billion, but let’s not get into politics. Taken by itself, this is a blip on the radar, but when you look at what the government is doing collectively to regulate, control, censure, tax, etc…., we have some scary times ahead.

  • JoeD

    1973. Broadsided by a Gran Torino and landed on my helmeted head. Without a helmet, I could have died or worse, watered like a house plant for the next 39 years. (Mom was the last to go a few months back so I guess The State will now take over the care on the taxpayer’s dime.) Being ex USAF, I appreciate some of the sentiment about service, duty, and freedom but when was the last time a soldier went into battle without a helmet and vest. Did any of you self riteous freedom fighters refuse that PPE?

    Are some of us so selfish that we elevate personal freedom above the common good? Bring back the universal helmet laws.

  • It might be semantics, but it’s important to note that no one has a right or freedom to ride a motorcycle or drive a car on a public road.

    It is a privilege given to you by the government, which is why you pay road taxes on gasoline and have get a license before you can terrorize the highway.

  • Crashmanjay

    Refuse to use PPE or use it properly? Every day at work and in the Marines, including in combat. Expediency, comfort, risk awareness, whatever, yeah just like guys go out in a leather jacket and helmet but no gloves, even though the gloves are right there on the bike in a saddlebag. They didn’t do it to be foolish or macho, they made a decision. That’s all I’m saying, educate and explain and then allow people to do what they want.

  • sunstroke

    Jensen, the GAO has concluded that the motorcycling industry is not an efficient way for Americans to utilize the labor force and increase GDP. The inefficiencies of superfluous transportation are costing our nation billions of dollars in lost productivity. The USA is suffering through some difficult economic times right now, and our economic activity needs to improve for the good of our children, our poor, and our elderly. As a good citizen, you surely want to help our less fortunate citizens.

    The GAO knows how much you enjoy journalism, and you may continue to write for as long as you wish. For the good of the nation, all motorcycle journalism websites will now cover the highly-productive petroleum engineering industry. If you refuse, the US government will retrain you as a petroleum engineer. The US Constitution does guarantee freedom of the press but not freedom of occupation.

    Journalists always take liberty for granted b/c everything they do is protected by our expansive interpretation of the First Amendment. First Amendment is about the only individual liberty the media understands, and the only construct of liberty and negative human rights that they bother to support. The other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights, particularly the Ninth Amendment, and the general concept of individual freedom are just dangerous and inefficient.

    OMG, if the government makes me wear a full-face helmet, I can’t shout political dissent as I ride through DC!! The first amendment is under attack by Jensen Beeler!!

  • As someone who holds a law degree, I can find a couple holes in your constitutional analysis…

  • David

    WTH….The Government doesn’t GIVE me the privilege to drive on the road. Are you insane?

    I freely pay taxes so that the Government (Local and Federal) can do their JOB of providing services (roads are just one) that I pay for and demand from them. As soon as they (the Government) gets out of line and thinks they are high and mighty and just doling out privileges to the underclass then that is when the Government finds out who really is in control. Get my drift?

    If your going to use higher cost as a reason for requiring helmet laws then why not factor in the over all cost of motorcycle ownership. In that case, higher medical cost from people without helmets hurt in motorcycle accidents would be offset by the cost savings of motorcycle ownership compared to auto ownership. Does that make sense? lol

    As said earlier by Phil, ulterior motives are probably at work when it comes to who and why these helmet laws are forced upon people.

    If was only about cost savings and health and safety of the individual then cigarettes would have been banned long ago. Wearing or not wearing motorcycle helmets is small potatoes compared to ciggs.

    And BTW, I always wear a helmet, dirt or street, no matter what the law says.

  • So for everyone that is against the law: do you think that people who get hurt while not wearing a helmet should be forced to pay their medical bills if they don’t have insurance? and what if they die at the hospital, who should pay then?

  • sunstroke

    Have you ever considered what it costs to keep human beings of such extraordinarily low intelligence alive?

    Maybe $16B is a drop in the bucket compared to the exorbitant medical spending and social security benefits they will incur for refusing preventive medicine, physical fitness, healthy diet, and fiscal discipline. Who knows how many cheap Chinese retail goods they buy, and how much foreign oil they consume?

    Even if they are Rhodes Scholars, early death by motorcycling is probably a bargain. Forget mandatory helmet laws, we need to ban helmets and ban all forms of transportation for senior citizens other than motorcycles!

    Why save $16B when we can save $16T?! Long boom, baby!!

  • Crsh&Brn

    @sunstroke: Congratulations! You just figured out how to pay off our national debt.

  • Jake F.

    Because I do love a good economics argument, I’d like to ask if this study weighed the economic cost of fatal motorcycle crashes against the economic gains derived from non-fatal, non-debilitating crashes.

    The optimum macroeconomic scenario is to eliminate fatal and debilitating crashes while encouraging crashes that increase consumption of goods and services.

    In short, the best way to grow the economy is ATGATT and more track days!

  • Mitch

    My whole deal is that hospitalization costs aren’t covered solely by oneself; when you hurt yourself, we all pay (we all pay the insurance when your insurance pays your bill, or if you have no insurance, we all pay the taxes or fees that a hospital or state must incur when you discharge your debt). This is okay – I’m no so immature as to think we must all be 100% within our own means, and since we are not, we obey the Social Contract – the idea that, to benefit from something like a society, we participate in it and agree to behave in a way to avoid disrupting it. Wearing a helmet is such an easy, trivial, and cheap matter that has such obviously proven benefits, I can’t see how it’s allowable not to – would you be so selfish as to inflict your choice of ‘freedom’ and the consequences thereof on the rest of us?

    Some would hyperbolize and say that we should just ban motorcycle riding; I say no, I say there is a reasonable compromise, and while I would not be in favor of legislation demanding one piece leather suits, I would be for the mandatory use of helmets.

  • 6and10

    I think Winston Churchill said it best “when you have 10,000 regulations you destroy all respect for the law”

    It’s one thing to claim that motorcycle injuries cost money and lives but its another thing to ignore the purpose of life and the gain of those who have to deal with these incidents to feed there own families. Paramedics, fire and police are payed to deal with peoples choices so they can continue making them. The cost of them is shared with others in a monetary sense. No financial cost can be calculated without that aspect.

    The emotional cost and physical costs are not mine to regulate. I may think it’s stupid to not wear a helmet but so long as there actions only effect them and those they are responsible for then I have no place asigning laws to dictate there lives.

  • Spamtasticus

    @Jensen, Individual freedom means that I get to decide what freedoms are most important for me. If you wish to wear a helmet then that is a choice you made. Helmet laws are enforcing your views on others. That is the antithesis of freedom. You can not quantify what freedoms are more valuable than others. You can only quantify what freedoms or most valuable than others to you. If you dont grasp the paramount nature of that subtle difference them I’m afraid you dont really understand what liberty actually means. A fellow libertarian, who’s name slips me said it best. “All I know for sure is that I do not know what is best for you”. Freedom to ride a motorcycle instead of a car is not likely a very important freedom to most car drivers. Probably semewhere between toothpaste choice and riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. I’m guessing it is very important to you.

  • Spamtasticus

    @Mitch. “reasonable compromise” by who’s standard of reason? I assure you that banning motorcycles completely is a very reasonable standard to people who never ride, have to slide on a seatbelt every day and then see some biker punk wizzing down the street. If you have a problem with “others paying for our injuries” then go after that injustice, not our freedom to live our lives the way we choose. When did did freedom and personal responsibility fade? Are we a society of little children thant need a nanny to take care of us? I am not, and refuse to be treated thusly.

  • TexusTim

    quick story, a customer came to me with his 24 year old son to rebuild a 2012 R6 with 16 miles, this kid bought the bike on credit at dealership and it was too late to get insurance and the kid crashed it on the way home, bike basicaly totaled, kid with broken pelvis,briken ankle.broken wrist,collor bone along with the usual roadrash.
    I tell them the only way I will fix the bike is if 1- he takes a safety course, 2-he gets full coverage insurance, 3- buys proper gear.
    Okay so a month later he comes with his dad to pick up the bike I can tell he is not focused and the dad is acting stupid I almost didnt want to let him have the bike, well the next week he drops it in the parking lot and scrathes up the whole left side !,that next weekend he goes to a popular twisty road and gets behind a faster rider and you can guess what happened of course, so that crash broke some stuff and I refused to fix it…he and fixed it and went ridding the next weekend and got pulled over for going more than 120 and went strait to jail, well he had a suspeneded license and they found some pot on him so now he is in deep.
    MORAL OF THE STORY…NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO SOME PEOPLE JUST DONT HAVE THE RIGHT MINDSET OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT TO BE ON A MOTORCYCLE. i think there should be some precent that should be rejected at the safety school but that hardly ever happens.

  • MikeD

    It costs a SHIP LOAD of money, PAIN & SUFFERING, we all know it…the article is just more evidence to a well known fact.

    I wear A.T.G.A.T.T just to make myself feel better about riding and have “some, better than none” peace of mind if the worst is ever to happen…even tho there’s no warranty u’ll make it alive.

    Not to mention i have ZERO medical insurance or means to pay such said medical services.

    This bad/old saying comes to mind:

    U better die on the scene before reaching the hospital or u’ll die anyways when the bill comes in.

  • MikeD


    Holly $%&* man, with that many broken bones/pain/bills anyone would think he got a little better(wiser?) on the brain department, right ?

    But i guess is like the Ron White says: U can’t fix stupid.

    I don’t see how u could screen the bad seeds. If u want your license u’ll follow and do as your told until u have on your hand……..then what ? From that point onward is up to natural selection i guess ? Dumb fook dies, Common sense level minded dude lives ? Sometimes the ones who get the worst part of it all is their family members…you ? you are dead, don’t make a difference for you…but your family, they have to march w/o you….forever…now that’s f-up.

  • JoeD

    There was a vid on Y Tube a few years ago that explained the relationship between birth rate and intelligence (or the lack thereof).

  • Damo

    I wear protective gear anytime I am on the bike, period. I personally don’t want helmet laws, but I think your insurance company shouldn’t pay you out if you crash without a helmet. No different than refusing a liver transplant to an alcoholic.

    I could give a toss whether or not squids and weekend cruiser/cafe poseurs don’t want to wear helmet, just like I couldn’t care less if my neighbor binge drinks 24 hours a day, but my insurance premiums go up because of idiots like this and that is the only thing I care about.

  • Starmag

    Exodus: +1 . Have a look at: if you want to see how bad it can get. This website is published from France in english. Do a search for French motorcycle laws. Truly stupid. Jensen, are you sure this is what you want? Mandatory helmets, mandatory Day-glo vests, mandatory Day-glo armbands, mandatory breathalyzers, etc. Who gets to decide when it’s too much? I personally wear a helmet by choice. I suspect this is being pimped by insurance company(s) to increase profit by reducing payouts. Florida’s law ( I believe ), seems like a fair compromise between freedom and responsibility, that is , $1,000,000 of insurance or mandatory helmet usage. The folks who I’ve talked to who act oh-so-concerned about the public’s medical bill for helmetless accident victims expenses never know a thing about the mammoth fraud of the Fed and QE (infinity!), which is far more likely to impact them personally. Priorities folks.

  • TD Graham

    All this bickering about helmet laws is rather pointless, as the State laws currently enacted only stipulate the use of a DOT-approved helmet, and therefore, a future federal/ country-wide state law, would presumably follow the same model.


    The DOT standard in its current form is the problem, in that its’ testing and certification standards allow and pass half- and 3/4-helmets. As the more recent European crash studies reveal, the odds of being struck in the middle top of your head during a crash is pretty much statistically zero; which is the only part of your head protected by a half-helmet. Therefore, the enaction of a nationwide helmet law, based on a flawed DOT standard which allows half-helmets, will make absolutely no difference in crash fatalities, or their associated costs whatsoever.

    In addition, of those States with helmet laws currently, an alarming percentage of riders wear boutique helmets or ‘beanies’, which are nothing more than thin plastic bowls designed to skirt the intent of the law on the cheap, and have even less protective capability than the aforementioned, and highly ineffective, DOT-approved half-helmets.

    The State of Michigan apparently agrees with a portion of my logic, in that they just repealed their long-standing helmet law, citing it being ineffective for some of the same reasons, not to mention the difficulty in enforcement of what is, and is not, a DOT helmet. (There were other reasons as well, but not relevant to this discussion.) The AMA champions rider education and training in lieu of helmet laws, based on the logic that not crashing makes helmet use or non-use semi-irrelevant.

    If the powers-that-be are truly interested in saving lives and cutting costs, start by talking to their own Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood; he’s on the right track with his campaign against what has become The Distracted Driving Epidemic. And put some teeth into the DUI laws while they’re at it.

  • I’ll avoid what has already been said and that’s a lot by simply asking this. IF you choose to not protect yourself with a helmet are you willing to be responsible for your own health care costs, all of them? I’m not sure why you’d expect others and the government to foot that bill for you. Know the risk you take are you willing to be responsible and again pay in full if you’re riding in less than the appropriate jacket/pants with protective armor and abrasion resistance? Yes, I’ve survived a motorcycle accident with helmet and protective gear. Now I just have frontal lobe lesions and joints that don’t move. I pay for my now required meds out of pocket and function as before, basically.

    Jensen, keep doing that thing you do mate. Conversation is all part of the experience, especially when it comes to communication with those who hold the totally opposite point of view. Those who can hold a civil conversation in such circumstances are what keep us moving forward.

  • Federico

    In my opinion, if you state that having to wear an helmet is against freedom, you should take a tour in a local ER and see what it looks like when somebody comes in with their head cracked open in a 30 mph crash.
    It would change a lot of opinions in here….



  • Kevin


    I always suggest jumping head first off ten foot tall wall and talk when their done if they think helmets aren’t necessary. ER would change some minds on common sense

  • mark

    Last year I was broadsided by an SUV, breaking my femur and knocking me over hard, which smashed my head into the ground. Even with a high quality helmet I sustained a brain bleed in addition to the broken femur. If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet I would be dead now, there’s no doubt about that. Also, the other quality gear I was wearing prevented me from getting any road rash — only injuries were the broken leg and minor head injury, and a lot of bruises. I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital and a few months on crutches, then a cane, and I don’t remember most of last August, but I healed quickly and recovered fully. This year I had one of my best riding seasons yet, putting well over 20,000 miles on my bikes.

    Without good gear I would have been in no position to do that — and the crash would have been a hell of a lot more expensive. As it is, it cost only my medical expenses (close to $100k), and the SUV that hit me was totaled. A lot to be sure, but much less than it could have been.

    People who ride without good gear are idiots, in my opinion… but they have the right to be idiots if they want to be. It’s not the government’s place to be their nanny. At the same time, I hope they’ll listen to stories like mine and save themselves and their families the potential pain of much more serious injuries in crashes that could have been easily survivable.

  • So, everyone accepts that there are a multitude of good reasons for wearing a helmet. It also appears that the majority of responders here always wear a helmet themselves- whether it’s required where they live or not. It follows that a large number of these helmet wearing riders would recommend the use of a helmet to fellow riders, new riders, and especially family members. This appears to be a good example of like-minded individuals looking out for one another. Makes you feel good.

    What I have yet to hear is a single, rational, good argument for NOT wearing a helmet. “Freedom”, “You can’t make me”, “Next they’ll ban motorcycles”, “You can’t fix stupid”, “I’m not hurting anyone else”, “My life, my choice” are examples of arguments that are neither rational or good. These sound more like something you’d hear in kindergarten right before nap time. I’ve been waiting for years to hear someone posit an argument against helmet use that makes me say: “That’s a damn good reason to not wear a helmet- it makes sense to me now.” I’m not holding my breath.

    The helmet-optional arguments always seem to fall into one of two camps- the “I’d never ride without one, but believe you should have a choice”, and the “Freedom/You can’t make me”. The “freedom” argument is the easiest to refute- there is no “right” to operate a vehicle on a pubic road in America. You do, however, have the right to earn the privilege of operating a vehicle on pubic roads by showing basic competence and abiding by the rules of the road. Wearing a helmet is the number one most basic safety rule of motorcycle operation, and therefore the most basic form of competence. Therefore, it follows that not wearing a helmet equals lack of basic competence- and that means loss of privilege. Enforcement is extremely easy, too. Training is integral to reducing motorcycle accidents by enabling riders to avoid an accident. But wearing a safety device is also integral to the equation by providing a level of protection for the rider in unavoidable accidents- those which we have no control over.

    I’m truly at a loss as to why otherwise intelligent, competent, well-meaning motorcyclists who would never ride without a helmet become so apathetic when it comes to the helmet use of fellow riders. Somehow, even armed with the overwhelming evidence in support of helmet use, they founder when faced with the “freedom” argument- which really makes no sense at all. I would expect the majority of helmet-wearing riders to support helmet laws because it requires the use of a safety device that they have already figured out for themselves is obligatory. Should we “let ’em figure it out for themselves”? How does it help our fellow riders by caving-in to the specious “freedom” argument? Is it not more of a disservice to our motorcycling brethren to support their “right” to ride in a manner you would never consider doing yourself? Why do you not care? If you don’t care, and wear a helmet yourself, who are you hurting by supporting helmet laws?

    I’m still waiting for that good argument against helmet use, and until it arrives I will continue to be surprised by the lack of brotherhood displayed by otherwise passionate, enthusiastic individuals whom I always assumed would be more altruistic towards fellow riders.

  • L2C

    All I’m going to say is that I agree wholeheartedly and intellectually with Jensen Beeler’s first reply. That’s it.

  • HHF

    Man, what’s with all the crash stories this week? California rain got you down?

  • Campisi

    Why do people talk about the “right” to not wear a helmet when the prerequisite motorcycle endorsement is merely a legal privilege? Following a logical course of reasoning, railing against helmet laws should come second to arguing for the abolishment of motorcycle endorsement requirements completely, an action the vast majority of motorcyclists- helmeted or not- would likely oppose.

  • Crashmanjay

    *Riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous.*
    What don’t you ATGATT guys get? Every argument put up for wearing a helmet is also one for NOT riding a motorcycle and using a car instead, or forgoing all motorized transport and urban living in general. Forget to put your feet down even while motionless on a motorcycle, or even a bicycle and you will fall over, period.
    “I survived my accident because of gear….”, no, you were injured because you chose to be on a bike and not in a car or on your couch. The gear is not the issue. You riding is the issue, not ‘your riding’, that you chose to ride at all that day. There is no way to make motorcycle riding safe, none. Mechanical failures, other drivers actions, road conditions and a million other things can effect a person on a motorcycle that would have almost no effect on someone in a closed 4 wheeled vehicle because when 4 wheeled vehicles stop they don’t fall over. You can’t argue against that. So to post about how ignorant or silly or brazen or whatever lidless riders ALL MUST BE (lot of generalization in the comments here, eh?) is bullshit. As I said before, how many ATGATT’ers have ridden with their visor up? I’ve been hit in the face with some big ass bugs and stones that made me lose concentration and even forced me to the side of the road, having a visor or having it down would 100% have eliminated that pain/distraction, yet there are pics all over the interwebs of ATGATT’ers tooling around with their encapsulating gear on….. and their flip up helmet in the up position. That ain’t ATGATT, that is MOST-GATT. Lotta hypocrates in this thread I bet.
    *Motorcycles are dangerous.*
    Some other points:
    -All riding is not on public roads or land. Yet a helmet is required in some states even if you are on your own property. Even if it is to putt down the dirt driveway to get the mail on your farm on your TW200.
    -The way insurance works, all insurance (homes, cars, health, etc) is a sharing of the risk. Nobody answered my Hurricane Sandy question, should we ban rebuilding in known problem areas to save the majority a few bucks in insurance costs? Or you chose to be a fatty and my health insurance goes up because you decided to be unhealthy, do we ban McDonalds?
    *Motorcycles are dangerous.*
    -DOT certification is crap. As mentioned, they allow open face helmets and I’ve read more than a few sites where no federal authority can describe exactly what “DOT Certified” means and where the mandatory minimums used to qualify for approval are (because they don’t exist).
    -Are the facts/figures used in the various reports about motorcycling broken down into on vs off road riders? By age? Experience? Seems like a lotta variables and just lumping any and all riders in America into one group seems like a poor choice of data when there are so many variables.
    -There are bigger fish to fry than helmetless riders in this country. Drop in the bucket? More like drop in a hurricane.
    *Motorcycles are dangerous.*
    The people on here mocking the apparent stupidity of others all drive the safest and most ecological cars I assume. No convertibles or sports cars, no Jeeps or gas guzzling SUV’s, right? Or would me telling you you shall sell your car or truck no matter what because you shall get a newer one with more airbags and ABS etc. because it is for the common good of man and lower insurance rates OK with all of you?
    *Motorcycles are dangerous.*
    There are laws, people are expected to follow them. As with all laws, if a person decided that they want to go above and beyond what the law says they may. Nobody says you have to own a gun, or smoke weed, or get an abortion or ride a motorcycle, nobody. If you can’t start the conversation with acceptance of that than you will never get it.

  • Damo


    “DOT certification is crap. As mentioned, they allow open face helmets and I’ve read more than a few sites where no federal authority can describe exactly what “DOT Certified” means and where the mandatory minimums used to qualify for approval are (because they don’t exist).”

    Might want to use google before you make baseless statements.

    How about you read :Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 (FMVSS 218) and get back at me chief.

  • SCBonneville

    Jensen, interesting subject… lots of ways to look at the subject of mandatory helmet laws… I’m no accountant but anytime a govt. agency calculates “the cost”… I worry… Don’t they buy $57,000 hammers? I digress… On the “liberty” front, I’m also hesitant in giving the govt. anymore “power of decision making” in the name of protecting us from ourselves… I just think it is a slippery slope… and yes, one that we seem to be well down the path on, anyway…

    The main reason that I am against “helmet laws” on a federal level, is that NHTSA ‘s SOLE ANSWER to “making motorcycling “safer” and reducing fatalities, is required/mandatory helmet usage. I question the sole reliance of reducing fatalities and “making motorcycling safer” on accident mitigation .

    A number of years back, I was in a court case with my ex wife over whether I could take my daughters on my motorcycle (I have a sidecar that I can attach and ride three up) or not. So to prepare for the case, I became fairly well versed in their 2005 “study”…

    Bear with me here… I’m going from memory and I hope to get the numbers correct.

    50% of all MC fatalities were single vehicle accidents (bikers crashing on their own – no help needed) The three main factors in that 50% were: Alcohol use, lack of training and lack of experience for the weight and/or horse power of the bike. So, let’s draw a conclusion here… If we can get motorcyclists to get training, buy a motorcycle that is appropriately sized and powered and quit hitting the boozer with his buddies, we have a chance of reducing fatalities by 50% right there! That’s a MUCH BETTER fatality reduction rate than just relying on helmets!!

    Ok… let’s address the next largest percentage of MC accident causes… Right of way violations by automobiles… I believe that accounts for around 30 or so % of the fatalities, if I remember correctly… If we could just get people to quit talking on their cell phones, texting or stuffing a hamburger and fries in their mouths while they drive… and actually open their eyes and PAY ATTENTION to the road when they are behind the wheel… well… there you go… again… a fatality reduction rate exceeding what just requiring helmets, brings to the table… Maybe a concerted highway safety/driver responsibility/awareness of other road users campaign… along with having Police Officers ACTUALLY enforce current laws designed to reduce dangerous driving practices and habits… would be a good idea…

    In looking at the lower(ed) automobile death rates lately… I ask, are the highways and byways “safer”… or have we merely made accidents more survivable via mandatory seat belt use, adding air bags and improved engineering/crumple zone to auto designs?

    My main “objection” to NHTSA’s relying SOLELY on helmet use to reduce fatalities is, that it is an accident mitigation strategy only and in no way, includes an accident prevention strategy…. And if they can get to that point of mandatory helmet use… They will declare their “campaign to reduce motorcycle fatalities” a victory and complete. Trumpet on about all the “Lives and MONEY saved”… But that is far from the truth, just think of the life and money savings that would be realized, if we actually PREVENTED accidents in the first place!! NHTSA has even tried to divert monies appropriated by Congress, specifically for the SOLE use to fund MSF type courses, to fight their mandatory helmet law battles… WOW!! good going NHTSA!! This is a “fatality reduction strategy” that I simply can not support…

    If a NHTSA or any govt. type person,, came to me and asked, “would you support a MC highway safety program that included rider training programs, peer programs that promoted proper gear and appropriate motorcycle purchasing strategies , alcohol abstinence, highway user awareness/safety campaigns AND mandatory helmet use… would you or could you support that??” I would answer yes…

    I would trade off a mandatory helmet use law if we could get a comprehensive and proper accident prevention/highway safety strategy to go along with it… But I am certain that is something that we will never get as long as accident mitigation is the preferred strategy over prevention….

    Now, let’s talk about novelty helmets with DOT stickers….. =8-)

    Just kidding… sorry if I was too long winded…

  • Bob Krzeszkiewicz

    I have mixed feelings about a helmet law.

    I actually had my first road crash back in September up in Labrador. Front axle clamp casting broke. Wheel cocked sideways, locked up and sent me over the bars at 80 mph. I remember everything clearly right up to the impact with the ground. The next thing I remember was lying in the middle of the road. I have no idea how long I was out. I did the routine where you lay there, feeling if something is wrong, then try moving fingers and toes, then limbs, then the body as a whole in trying to assess how bad off you are. I was a little busted up. Ribs hurt and my shoulder was obviously broken up. I didn’t feel my fractured foot at the time. My head….I knew I was out cold and that wasn’t good so I only sat up to look around and see where I was lying. Was I on the road or off it in a ditch, etc. ?

    It was totally unexpected, especially on a 2 month old bike. I wear some pretty good and expensive gear. A Rukka SRO suit, Alpinestars GP Pro gloves, Alpinestars GP Plus boots and Shoei Multitech helmet. If I were not wearing this stuff, I wouldn’t be posting. The whole chinbar assembly disconnected from the helmet (impact was on the side up high near the pivot) and the shoulder I landed on blew out in the suit. Nevertheless, I came away ok considering the terrain and speed. The bike was 20 ft down off the side of the road, totalled.

    Still, I was flown to Newfoundland for x-rays and a CT scan to check for brain trauma. The helmet, other than the chinbar coming detached, had a little crush to it. It did it’s job. And my family got to see me again and not in a casket or at the morgue to positively identify me.

    While I believe in ATTGATT, my mixed feeling is that it also can provide a false sense of security. As if you are protected from danger. So, you take more risks.

    Should I have been traveling on the Trans-Lab at 80 mph? The speed limit is posted as 70 kph (43 mph) for a good reason. I had already covered a few hundred miles of this crap road surface of dirt, gravel, rock and potholes over every square foot. I was in the zone. I took a chance and could have paid the ultimate price.

    Now for the cost part. As Canada is socialized medicine (which really sucks ass BTW) so any medical cost I can incur as a citizen is spread out amongst the people. Guess what Obama care is going to do. But as of now, the only cost savings for mandated hemet laws are going to be for the insurance company, not the people. The insurance companies save money in payouts but the people spend more money on gear.

    In a country with socialized medicine, mandatory use of a helmet makes sense economically. It affects all tax payers. It will here too in 2014. But make no mistake, currently, helmet laws are not designed in the best interest of the taxpayer. They are in the best interest of the insurance companies. Less payouts equals more money in the big wigs’ pockets.

    While a helmet saved my life it may not for someone else in their circumstance. And sometimes, death would actually be better than surviving. I know if I crashed, broke my cervical column and became paraplegic and was on a machine to keep me alive, having my head in one piece would be the least bit desirable for me or my family.

    So, I am all for the “choice” as there can never be a guarantee.

    Texas actually requires that certain coverage be maintained if you ride without a helmet…10,ooo bucks. Not enough IMO/ 10,000 is the cost of a room in ICU each day.

  • Bob Krzeszkiewicz

    SCBonneville says: “I question the sole reliance of reducing fatalities and “making motorcycling safer” on accident mitigation .”

    This is what our government does: prote safer crashing instead of safer driving/riding. Look at cars. Since 2003 the Kia Sorrento has been fitted with every safety feature you can imagine. Stability control, ABS, traction control, airbags all around, more acronyms for other things I can’t remember. Al because the government mandates it.

    None of this addresses to root problem. Bad driving skills and habits. The best safety feature you can install is one that prevents cell phone usage while in the driver seat while driving. Maybe a soundprrof window to separate the driver from the rest othe vehicle so you can’t hear the kids would be good too…or at least offer it as optional equipment.

    “If we can get motorcyclists to get training, buy a motorcycle that is appropriately sized and powered and quit hitting the boozer with his buddies, we have a chance of reducing fatalities by 50% right there! That’s a MUCH BETTER fatality reduction rate than just relying on helmets!!”

    Agreed, but let’s not suggest tiered licensing. I look at the UK and those HP limitations are dangerous even on the roads they are restricted to ride on. The road system in the US is much different and low HP bikes won’t fly here. Limiting them to no highway use is actually unreasonable. I would have to insist on tiered licensing for cars and trucks too if it happened. An inexperienced 16 year old girl is still inexperience no matter what she’s piloting.

    As for training. Driver’s ed was available in high school for me. I took it and enjoyed the simulators and class time. Did a lot of good IMO. Now days with video games being so realistic and even haptic, the school system should get a company to build simulators and for a lot less money than the old ones cost. It should be brought back to school.

    “If a NHTSA or any govt. type person,, came to me and asked, “would you support a MC highway safety program that included rider training programs, peer programs that promoted proper gear and appropriate motorcycle purchasing strategies , alcohol abstinence, highway user awareness/safety campaigns AND mandatory helmet use… would you or could you support that??” I would answer yes…”

    Me too. I would also add in discounts on riding safety apparel to those who pass the class at stores who partake iin supporting the program.

  • Crashmanjay

    Damo, thank you for that link. It appears that in 1973 the DOT came up with a certification process for helmets to allow them to display a DOT sticker. Excellent. So I assume every helmet that comes to market undergoes testing to meet these criteria and if it meets them it gets the sticker and we ride off into the sunset wearing them with cops waving and smiling at us.

    Of course, then I typed ‘DOT, helmet, certification’ into my computer and one of the 1st pages that popped up was Cal Scientific, (which makes bike windshields). A nice write up on helmets and an interesting tidbit:

    “In the ’80s, the US DOT got into the helmet certification business. Their standards were set in 1971, and the DOT has not substantially revised them since. Also, the DOT does not do consistent testing, so a DOT sticker does not carry the security that a Snell sticker carries. The DOT expects manufacturers to voluntarily test their own helmets and certify them themselves. If it happens that the DOT tests a helmet and the helmet fails, the DOT informs the manufacturer and expects them to voluntarily correct the problem. In all of 2001, the DOT tested 40 helmets total, and 8 of them failed the test. Generally speaking, the DOT requirements tend to protect you at lower speeds, and the Snell requirements tend to protect you at higher speeds. Therefore, meeting both requirements is pretty tricky and results in a pretty good helmet. However, absent the Snell sticker, you can’t be certain the helmet even meets DOT requirements. In fact, some manufacturers make “beanie” helmets, popular with certain riders, and put DOT stickers on the helmets even though it’s quite obvious that the helmet does not meet DOT standards at all. They do this because several court cases in several states have found that if you buy a helmet with a DOT sticker, then as a rider you’re in compliance with the helmet law, even if the helmet does not actually meet DOT standards. There has never been a fine levied against either a dealer or a manufacturer for misrepresenting a helmet as DOT compliant when it is not. Some people think the DOT standard actually offers slightly better protection than the Snell standard, and this may even be true. Unfortunately, due to the voluntary nature of DOT testing, you cannot be certain that a DOT helmet actually passes the DOT tests. For this reason, I recommend only Snell helmets.”
    (from which is obviously opinion)

    The words “The DOT expects manufacturers to voluntarily test their own helmets and certify them themselves.” stand out to me. In legalese there is a ‘standard’ from DOT but no regular ‘testing’ to insure ‘compliance’ with said ‘standard’. I’m not a lawyer…… but that sounds like ‘crap’ to me. The testing done by Motorcyclist (linked on the Cal Sci article but to a dead link) was one hell of a read when I first saw it originally. I remember the low cost helmets won or placed in the top in their tests. My point is DOT certification is not DOT testing which I think most people assume it is, kinda like NHTSA crash tests. But NHTSA tests cars all of the time ( so why not all DOT marked helmets on the market every year? If they can get 54 cars to wreck, free or donated, are you telling me they can’t afford or get donated 200 or however many models of helmet are available in the US? It’s like when E-coli breaks out and we discover the Food and Drug people doing inspections actually worked for the farms, not Food and Drug. So while there is a standard, and I would bet most companies using DOT stickers do meet it, having a DOT sticker means a company applied one at the factory, period. It does not mean the gov’t, known as the DOT, has actually tested that helmet. Not to mention that 1973……….. 19…. 73!!!!! I was 3, plastics and composites have come a long way, maybe DOT should review their standards? BUT, if they do then I would bet lobbyists will say “If you are updating standards then you should eliminate all open face helmets from certification as major injuries CAN NOT be prevented with the face exposed as it is on all non-full face helmets”. Think it can’t happen? Ralph Nader got the military to remove the last Jeep (the M151) from service because it was a roll over risk similar to the Corvair. The military was convinced (i.e. forced by politicians) to remove a piece of equipment from use in war because it wasn’t good enough for the DOT.
    Slippery slope which is why I and some other have said nobody is stopping anyone from wearing a helmet. Nobody.

  • MikeD

    WHAAaaa…im gone for 1/2 day and this thing got ON FIRE ! Keep it up. Lot’s of interesting yet so different opinions.

    I just want to add that until i saw Wes Siler’s wounds on his latest Crash-capade (it almost made me toss my stomach’s contents at the time, not that it takes a lot) while wearing jeans that i fully got the “URGE” to go FULL geared head to toes.
    I had been riding around since 09 “fully” geared, i had it all but the pants…guess what ? Now i wear those no matter if is 100* outside. Can’t handle the heat ? Stay at home or man up.
    Feels a bit like is cutting in behind your knee joints ? Stretch out every now and then, but never go out not wearing it…i always remenber those nasty wounds.

    +1 TO the person who sugested a little tour around the Trauma center to make the “non-believers” think/TWITCH about it twice…and witness a white lipped, poor squid passing in and out screaming like a little bitch while he’s being scraped with a metal brush to get all the little pieces of road off the wounds…YES, LOVELY xperience.

    Not saying ATGATT is the solution to your problem…but would you like to get all the help u can to try and walk away from a nasty accident ? If u have left a few properly working brain cells and some common sense you know u would.

  • sideswipe

    For some reason I knew there would be heated commentary as I read the socio-political soapbox being dragged out in this article. Using a monetary public health cost benefit analysis to propose legislating individual behavior is the oblique approach to solving a problem and more often than not is using data to hide what in essence is moral judgement masquerading as concern. Let’s be straight. Riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than traveling by other motor vehicles. Choosing to do so for any reason is assuming risk to body and life. As said above it could just as easily be justified in banning all motor vehicles with less than 4 wheels and without an enclosed passenger compartment. That would be far more effective than any safety or protection measure mandated to operate motorcycles. Lets just get those dangerous things off the road. Any takers? Didn’t think so. Are people that ride without helmets or comprehensive protective gear a danger to the public welfare and communal coffers? Almost insignificantly in the big picture. Are they a danger to themselves? Significantly. I would venture so much to call them dumbshits. My opinion, their lives. I may choose to ride in nothing less than the best helmet money can buy and clad myself as a walking Alpinestars advert but that’s me mitigating my chosen risk. I wouldn’t impose that same level on others but would recommend it to any that would listen. It’s like soft drinks. That shite is pure liquid health hazard. Don’t like it, won’t go near it. It’s not my place however to impose my choice not to drink it on someone walking out of a store with a super size Coca-Cola. Oh wait, my hometown of NYC has legislated against that very thing. Guess I’m wrong.

  • Potreroduc

    Jensen’s right. Operating a motor vehicle is a privilege and not a right guaranteed by the Constitution. I think that means that governments (federal/state/local) can legislate whatever rules of the road they want without worrying if what laws they pass will meet the framers’ litmus test for freedom (i.e. constitutionality).

  • Westward

    It’s a matter of perspective. If a given intersection or street has a high rate of accidents, the city government might then place a traffic light or lower the speed limit at the given location. How is that any different than requiring a helmet for riders, or as I am sure some has mentioned, seat belts for cars…?

    ***** Irony or Coincidence? *****
    *************** ***************

    Man dies after motorcycle crashes during helmet protest ride | July 2, 2011 | WSYR-TV
    Posted on 3 July 2011 08:33:56 PDT by Berlin_Freeper

    LAFAYETTE, NY (WSYR-TV) – New York State Troopers say one man is dead after a motorcycle crash near McClary Road and Route 11 in LaFayette on Saturday.

    New York State Police say 55-year-old Philip Contos of Parish was part of a protest against motorcycle helmets.

    Police say several motorists from the group ABATE (American Bikers Aimed for Education) of Onondaga County had come together to make a point that they didn’t need their helmets.

    The group was driving south on Route 11 in Lafayette around 1:30 p.m., headed toward Lake Como, just south of the Finger Lakes.

    Police say Contos suddenly hit the brakes and lost control of the motorcycle.

    According to troopers, Contos was thrown over his handlebars and hit the pavement as his 1993 Harley Davidson motorcycle skidded toward the guardrail.

    Contos was still alive when crews arrived at the scene and was transported to Upstate University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    According to police, Contos was not wearing his helmet, as required by law. Witnesses say this decision was part of the protest.

    Police say that based on evidence at the scene and from doctors, Contos would have survived if he had been wearing a DOT-Approved helmet.

  • Spamtasticus

    Potreroduc, you dont understand how the constitution works. Everything is a right unless the constitution specifically allows the government to get involved. Not the other way around. The constitution does not say your wife can give you blowjobs, Is that now a privilage revocable by government? It would be by your interpretation.

  • I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Lawrence v. Texas at this point in the conversation…

  • gabe

    “Are people that ride without helmets or comprehensive protective gear a danger to the public welfare and communal coffers? Almost insignificantly in the big picture.”

    Wrooooong. ER visits are extremely inefficient and costly, and raise the cost of healthcare dramatically (for everyone.) Same for under insured riders getting extremely hurt. In other reports the GAO has exposed this.

  • sideswipe

    JB- Well timed example. I think the 9th amendment nods towards both examples of voluntary cranial invasions. The intentional sexual example and the unintentional example as the result of being a dipshit without a helmet. I always liked the maybe simplistic statement that laws should protect citizens from others but not from themselves.

  • My God, this is an embarrassing thread, notice the average IQ (That’s intelligence quotient for you geniuses) for the anti-helmet mandate posters, is something between 74 and 87. Not the brightest bulbs in the bunch.

    Quite obviously their primary information source is Fox propaganda, since they can’t resist inserting their Imbecilic talking points at every opportunity. There is no point even trying to communicate with Neanderthals who obviously can’t think for themselves, let alone comprehend basic logic, inertia, physics perhaps even the law of gravity.

    Next Some of you will be proposing to do away with that law, we don’t need no stinking gravity, it’s interfering with my freedom to float off into space, I can float off into space if I want to damn it, who are to impose your gravity on me. Without gravity we wouldn’t need any helmets.

    Hell you pinheads can’t even spell my name correctly when it’s right in front of your face, two attempts and two failures. Go back to school, please. Better yet, go ride your bike naked backwards at 190 without a helmet, kill yourself off quick, before you breed and make more imbeciles.

    This is the second motorcycle safety thread I’ve seen on this blog where I’ve avoided writing anything substantive, specifically because of the low quality of the discourse. Those of you who have tried to elevate the conversation aside, I respect your input. But I won’t dignified this nonsense with a real response, I’ve seen too many highway deaths, lost too many people that were close to me.

    Most stupid humans only learn one way, the hard way. It is the primary failing of our species.

  • sideswipe

    @gabe. I don’t have the data but I’ll go out on a limb here and say that if you were to tally up the dollar total of all medical care costs and the sources of their necessity I think people riding motorcycles without helmets would be waaaaay down the list. I’m sure falls in bathtubs and showers are magnitude higher. Lets mandate that helmets must be worn in all bathing areas.

  • @sideswipe: Lawrence v. Texas makes no mention of the 9th Amendment, and was decided on 14th Amendment grounds.

  • sideswipe

    Aaron B. Brown (did I get that right? whew!) Ahh, so if there’s a point of view that you don’t agree with it must be due to their inferiority? Nice of you to sprinkle that with insults. I would think the satisfaction of superiority would be enough. I don’t think anyone here is making the argument that riding a motorcycle without a helmet is a safer or wiser choice. I and others are trying to make the argument that maybe it’s preferable educate and advise letting people make their own choice in the manner and extent of safety gear they would wear. I think it should be universally apparent to make the choice of wearing a helmet just as I think it should be universally apparent to always cut away from one’s hands and body parts when using a knife. In both cases I don’t think it should require a law to enforce it. Yes stupidity hurts. I feel as long as we can ensure that the information is there so it’s willful stupidity and not ignorance that determines one’s individual level of risk.

  • sideswipe

    JB- Gotcha. I was mentioning the 9th as it pertains to this subject. We don’t have to have an enumerated right for someone to drive nails into boards with their foreheads if they so choose and I don’t see that we need a law prohibiting someone from doing so if that’s what gets them off. Again it’s tricky enough to keep the books on all the ways we do each other wrong. Growing them for all the stupid stuff we can do to ourselves seems a sisyphean task.

  • Benny Ray Riddle

    Jake F. says:
    November 29, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Because I do love a good economics argument, I’d like to ask if this study weighed the economic cost of fatal motorcycle crashes against the economic gains derived from non-fatal, non-debilitating crashes.

    The optimum macroeconomic scenario is to eliminate fatal and debilitating crashes while encouraging crashes that increase consumption of goods and services.

    In short, the best way to grow the economy is ATGATT and more track days!

    I hope your riding is better than your.economic reasoning because you just plowed straight into the broken window fallacy.

  • Paul McM

    I wear a full-face helmet always. I think everyone should. But I also deeply resent ever-increasing government control of our lives. Parents handed $250.00 fines because their child rides around the block on a bicycle without a helmet — that’s nuts. My solution is simple. You pre-purchase 1 year of non-refundable medical insurance for a year, and provide proof of that with your annual registration. You get a special stars and stripes license plate that lets you choose helmet or no helmet. The issue of “cost to society” is covered by the insurance you’ve paid. Regarding the 1.7 million per accident, we should recognize that much of that is caused by the obscene overcharging by ambulance companies, hospitals, doctors etc.

  • Starmag

    Mr. Brown, Very diplomatic! In order to not further expose yourself, you may wish to look up the psychological term ” projection”. Or not. Still, you may wish to consider what a world full of your tyrannical self would be like. Prefect! Or not.

  • MikeD


    LOL, i still remenber that piece of gold. I would say both irony and coincedence.

  • Jake F.

    Benny Ray Riddle says:
    November 30, 2012 at 6:05 PM
    Jake F. says:
    November 29, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Because I do love a good economics argument, I’d like to ask if this study weighed the economic cost of fatal motorcycle crashes against the economic gains derived from non-fatal, non-debilitating crashes.

    The optimum macroeconomic scenario is to eliminate fatal and debilitating crashes while encouraging crashes that increase consumption of goods and services.

    In short, the best way to grow the economy is ATGATT and more track days!

    I hope your riding is better than your.economic reasoning because you just plowed straight into the broken window fallacy.

    The broken window fallacy is not a fallacy because it doesn’t hold true in all conditions. It assumes that the money spent on repairing the broken window would have gone towards other uses. What if, instead, that money was kept in savings? If money is in savings rather than in circulation, it’s not driving economic growth. You are correct that in the long-run the broken window fallacy holds true. But, as my favorite economics professor often said, “In the long-run we’re all dead.”

  • Spamtasticus

    @Kevi & Federico.
    Nobody here is arguing that wearing a helmet is not better for your health than not wearing one. Why do people have such a hard time grasping the difference between education and law. We are saying that everything that makes sencse to some or even all people should not be a law. Should it be against the law to drink fewer than 6 glasses of water per day? Should it be against the law to eat fewer than 2 portions of leaffy vegetables a week? Should it be against the law to race motorcycles? If you are going to join the debate, at least have the decency to grasp the subjec we are debating.

  • Spamtasticus

    Jensen, The fact that the 14th amendment was used to shoot down an unconstitutional law in no way negates my previous statementmthat the constitution is an inumeration of the limmit of government powers and not our rights.

  • Spamtasticus

    Gabe, I have seen studies at show that a helmetless motorcycle rider costs the state, and therefore taxpayers, less in lifetime entitlements than a live one with a helmet. No social security, no medicare, etc, etc. My solution to the problem is let people have freedom and the responsibility that goes with it but since we dont, the costs more argument must be looked at completely and it fails.

  • Spamtasticus

    @Aaron B.

    Nice way to generalize and be predudicial. If someone does not agree with you then they must be idiots with a low IQ. That is the most intelligent argument I have ever had the privilage of seeing in a debate. Of course, us low IQ morons lack the sophistication to grasp the brilliance of your point and will have to just accept it and return to watching yellow journalism on TV. Well played old boy.

  • Damo

    Smart bikers wear helmet regardless of the law. Bottom line.

  • Crashmanjay

    Erin B Braun, I see from your linked Twitter feed and then your various linked pages on there that you are a skateboard enthusiast. Do you advocate for the mandatory wearing of helmets at all times by anyone using a skateboard? And how about elbow and knee pads along with gloves? How about getting back to the good old 80’s way of life for skaters where cops smash your board when they catch you doing tricks in parking lots, etc. (Skateboarding is not a crime……. you remember those days right?). Please, fill my brain with your many (or is it a couple of) decades worth of life experience.
    It is a nice looking board you made, I will say that. I haven’t been on one since about 1978, but I do appreciate a pointy nose board.

  • Again, everyone seems to agree that it’s rather unintelligent to not wear a helmet. There’s definitely a lack of people, here anyway, proudly expousing how they never wear a helmet. The question remains, however, where is the reasonable, logical, good argument against mandatory helmet laws? Exactly what harm is caused by requiring motorcycle riders to show basic safety competence? Why do intelligent, helmet-wearing riders not care if others wear their helmet, but care if others are required to? It really makes no sense.

    Here are some sanctioned sports that require a helmet to participate: football, baseball, cricket, ice hockey, cycling, bobsleigh, ski-jumping, sky diving, mountaineering, fencing, and polo. Here’s the definition of sanction:

    1. Authoritative permission or approval that makes a course of action valid. a. A law or decree.
    b. The penalty for noncompliance specified in a law or decree.

    I have never heard of any outcry for the rights of participants of these sports to have the “freedom” to choose whether or not to wear a helmet. I find it very ironic that the AMA requires the use of helmets for all riders participating in racing events, but fights for the “right” of its members to ride unprotected on the street. Street riding is a privilege sanctioned by the government, and therefore no different than participating in a sanctioned sport. How is the safety of sports participants different from the safety of motorcycle riders? It’s quite simple, really- to participate, you must wear the equipment.

    The list of good reasons to wear a helmet is long, logical, and supported by fact. Where is the list of reasons not to require helmet use? In fact, where is one, single, good reason for helmet use not to be mandatory? If anyone has the answer, please spell it out clearly and concisely, so there’s no misunderstanding. I’ve been waiting years for any reasonable answer, yet it remains elusive…

  • Crashmanjay

    The confusion between competition in a sanctioned sporting event and something kids can do in a vacant lot is where you lose the plot sir. Did you never play tackle football as a kid at a park? How about picked up a bat (or stick) and any kind of ball you could hit for some type of ‘baseballish’ game even though you had no mitts? Hockey in the street with just sticks, a ball or puck and gloves (to look like Cylons more than anything)? Taken your bike for a nice ride around the neighborhood without a helmet and pads? Skied or snowboarded without a helmet and pads? Climbed a hill…. or tree…. or ‘mountain’ without ropes and ascenders and others on belay? Picked up a couple of tree branches for a quick light saber dual with a pal?
    All of those sanctioned competitions come from sports that millions of kids play as ‘pick up games’ or what we called ‘fun’. Trying to force ‘play’ to become ‘sport’ is one of the issues Americans need to get a grip on. Kids all over the world are still allowed to run, jump and play without being encapsulated in plastic. There aren’t stories of the maiming and mutilations of these kids in every paper around America last I knew of. Ahhhhhh, but wait, there is. Because people have forgotten that like politics, all news is local and so people see online or the news that some kid impaled was on a twig in B.F.E. while out throwing a baseball in the air to himself and “Oh my God! Johhny!” And next thing you know every kid has to wear full catchers gear to toss his balls (hah!).
    There is a difference in competitive riding and plain old getting on the bike to enjoy a 20 minute ride to the lake.
    I said it earlier, nobody is forcing people to NOT wear a helmet, just like nobody forces gun ownership or abortions. But YOU have decided I need to do something YOU want ME to do. To save you money? Again…… still looking for a comment supporting the mass relocation of Hurricane Sandy victims to save us all insurance dollars in the future. (crickets……..). My stupidity doesn’t hurt you any more than the apparent brilliance of so many here doesn’t make my life better.

  • sunstroke

    @ Ton Up Jax and Aaron B Brown

    Do we really have to spell this out for you?

    Whenever you write a law you are making an implied agreement to impoverish, jail, or kill a citizen of your own nation in order to enforce the law in question. Obviously, this power is meant to be used sparingly, not as a practical panacea for humanity’s minor problems.

    Should we authorize lethal force on a murderer? Yes. Should we authorize lethal force against a drug-dealer? Heroine, yes, but pot heads? Should we authorize lethal force against a tax dodger? In principle, yes, b/c it undermines democracy, but should we kill someone for refusing the individual mandate or FICA taxes? Should we authorize lethal force against someone who doesn’t wear a helmet? No, and it takes a spectacular moron to propose such a policy. Mobilizing the whole of society against the individual by using such methods is not appropriate for a victimless crime of this nature, especially since the costs of not wearing a helmet are related to other legal mandates like healthcare and insurance policy.

    To avoid catastrophic financial tolls (jail) and human tolls (death), the government relies on voluntary consent anyway. What’s the point of the law then? Political optics? So cops are basically marketing executives who use guns and zoo cages to advocate for your cultural beliefs? The high IQ have spoken!! No wonder the public loves law enforcement so much!!

    But we’d just take away his license, right? If he continues to ride, then what? Authorities always escalate the infraction until they have managed to obtain a lethal force directive. You’re proposing to prevent death and the related costs of death by promising to shoot someone if they don’t save their own life. I can’t see how such policies wouldn’t improve society! x_x

    Yet the people who write these laws have the gall to wonder why society seems to be getting worse, and our jails are overflowing. Obviously, it’s b/c people with libertarian sensibilities are too childish to address society’s ‘real’ problems.

  • gabe

    ^Relax Braveheart, nobody is going to get the electric chair for not wearing a seatbelt, riding without helmet or driving without a license.

  • Spamtasticus

    Gabe, you naively missunderstood his point. If they make it illegal to ride a motorcycle without a helmet and someone chooses to ignorenthe unjust and unconstitutional law they will be pulled over and ticketed. That ticket will take time and or money wich took time to make from the rider. Time is life. If he refuses to pay the unjust and unconstitutional fine they will revoke his license do drive. If he ignores this unjust and unconstitutional revocation they will issue him a DWLS violation which some jurisdictions jail you for untill you clear your license. If he refuses to be dragged into jail for an unjust and unconstitutional law they will use force, including deadly force to accomplish their encarceration. This is the reality of these stupid little laws idiots think its ok to pass. You dont know it but if you take all the city, county, state and federal laws that have jurisdiction over you there is not a single day that goes by that you are not in violation of one or more. That meqns that on any given day, if you piss off a cop or your neighbor, or your ex andmthey decide to nail you they can, in very real and severe ways. The dumbest legal cliche on the planet is, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. There are so many freaking laws that nobody, including a lifelong lawyer, knows them all. Yet we keep passing more and more laws that reactionary or politically driven. If you want to live in a Nanny state then please move to Greece, France, Spain or some other socialist abortion. Just stop converting this country into one. People dont realize that what made the US so powerfull economically and culturaly was our respect for personal freedom and responsibility. We are slowly destroying that. This is how that, which makes this country so unique, gets destroyed. Not with some grand coup de tat, red dawn style. With a slow, incicious and voluntary erosion of our rights and freedoms for the sake of the illusion of safety and security. Wake up. Braveheart enough for you there bub?

  • Crsh&Brn


    I like your distinction between accident mitigation and accident prevention. I have no doubt that wearing a helmet reduces the chances of a motorcycle accident being fatal, but who wants to be “only” injured? I don’t. Been there, done that. Didn’t like it. Don’t like to see others experience it either.

    According to the statistics you listed, some of the greatest potential for reducing motorcycle accidents and the costs associated with them is within our own control. I think everyone here will agree that riding a motorcycle does carry risks. So why do people chose to increase those risks by partaking of too many/any adult beverages and then riding a motorcycle? Talk about a recipe for disaster.

    Lets give the GAO, NHTSA, or whatever organization some numbers to crunch. How much does “distracted driving” cost? I’m not just talking about motorcycle accidents. I’m talking total. Fatalities, injuries, property damage, cleanup. Don’t think I’m putting this all on cage drivers either. I’ve seen a guy yacking on his cell phone while riding his motorcycle. It must have been one Hell of an important call.

  • Crsh&Brn

    @Aaron B. Brown

    I will agree with you on one thing. You have definitely “avoided writing anything substantive” regarding this thread.

  • sunstroke

    Gabe, if you want to participate in a democracy, you must at least be honest with yourself about the ‘business end’ of law enforcement.

    Re: Seatbelts

    In the 1970s, over 490,000 American were killed in car accidents. In WWII, the US had 416,000 fatalities. Though auto fatality rates were low as a total percentage of the population, we still had a serious problem with car accidents causing social and commercial problems for the general public. That’s part of the reason why we have seatbelt laws, though I still struggle with the idea of inflicting harm on someone b/c they refuse to save themselves.

    Helmet-less motorcycle fatalities are not a serious societal issue, and firing up the oppression machine is scarcely going to improve the relationship between the government and the governed.

    I don’t want to take things too far to the extreme, but you should understand that abusing legal authority and overstating its contribution to the common good has caused some of the most macabre social situations in US history. Husbands willing to unleash government on their own wives for trying to vote. Citizens authorizing lethal force against their neighbors for drinking. Whites willing to use lethal force to stop minorities from going to certain public schools and businesses. The mistrust (lack of legal equity) associated with bad policies continues long after the law has been amended, repealed, reformed, or overturned.

    Helmet laws are not nearly as serious, but all of these little laws add up millions of incarcerated citizens, exorbitant law enforcement bills, and a general breakdown in the social contract.

  • SCBonneville

    @ Crsh&Brn & Bob Krzeszkiewicz: I’m doing a kind of combo response to your comments here…

    For anyone that cares… you can google either NHTSA , NHTSA highway safety studies or NHTSA motorcycle highway safety studies and get all of the exact statistics… but I think that I’m pretty much in the right neighborhood with the stats I cited from memory. The studies are really fascinating reading… and very short sighted when compared to say, Brit or UK highway studies… You can google those too….

    There are a number of things that bother me about our govt.’s and NHTSA in particular, approach to highway “safety”… The obvious is that it focuses totally and solely on accident mitigation… Look at ANY other industry or area where safety analysis is performed and the approach is ALWAYS accident prevention/reduction as the front line and accident mitigation as the last line of defense…

    The other is that NHTSA “gnashes their teeth” and huffs and puffs solely about motorcycle fatalities… On average… over the years, the US has 40,000 auto fatalities per year… 40,000 per YEAR!! That is like wiping two Aiken South Carolina’s (near where I live and ~20k residents) off the map each and EVERY year!! And that is “acceptable” per NHTSA… it must be… because I’m not hearing any “gnashing of teeth” from them about how high that number is… Nor do I hear any “gnashing of teeth” from them over the ~800 bicyclists killed each year… or the ~1200 pedestrians killed each year… But OMG!!! those dang motorcyclist deaths are just off the chart and THEY are THE “problem” with our highway fatality statistics!!

    Folks… please do not misunderstand me here… I am not against accident mitigation… we should be doing everything we can to make accidents more survivable… But I feel that we need a truly comprehensive highway safety program that targets reducing accidents and fatalities for ALL highway users… And until we “the people” put heat on our govt. & NHTSA to adopt such a strategy… we are going to just continue with the same annual carnage…

    Bob, I don’t know how to handle MC licensing… but for a 16 year old kid (or anyone lacking any MC experience) to be able to go down to their local dealer, with only a learners permit in hand… plop down 10 grand and head off with a 120 hp sport bike capable of hitting 150 mph… well, that’s just wrong… Same thing with a 50 yr. old who experience level is “I know how to ride! I rode a 100cc dirt bike back in the ’70’s”… heading down to the Harley dealer and getting an 800 hawg and heading out with his buds for a Sat. afternoon bar hop… Both are a recipe for disaster… The Brits tier licensing program is age and training level based and I don’t think it is a totally bad strategy… And the availability of riding courses, riding skills assessments and track day sessions, absolutely SHAMES what we have here in the US…

    Personally… what I would like to see… is that EVERYBODY wanting a drivers license in the US, has to go through a MC training course and get an MC license first… Ride a minimum of a year and then go through drivers training and get their drivers license… I know that’s a fantasy… but I also know that being a motorcyclist has made me a better, more aware driver…

  • Benny Ray Riddle

    The broken window fallacy is a fallacy because it always holds true, including when the shopkeeper saves his money. If the shopkeeper saves $X instead of spending it immediately, he is expressing not a lack of demand, but a demand for $X worth of future goods. The lower time preference (his desires for current vs. future consumption) causes the _natural_ interest rate to fall. This does not leave resources idle; it diverts resource consumption from the production of current goods to the production of future goods consistent with consumer time preferences. It is this investment (in research and development, new capital equipment, and such) that drives increasing prosperity.

    If the window is broken, the best that can happen is that the world is poorer by the value of an unbroken window. If the window is not broken the worst that can happen is the world is richer by the value of an unbroken window.

  • Robert Chase

    Education is more powerful than laws. Offering no cost motorcycle safety classes to both drivers and motorcycle riders covering basic MSF information could be beneficial to society. As dangerous as it is to ride without a helmet I think our country is unique and should allow people to make their own choices even if those choices are not good ones. You can’t really crunch the numbers and understand the sense of freedom many have when they ride their motorcycles.

    I ride a Harley and always wear a DOT approved helmet. It’s my choice. Even if my state did not have mandatory helmet laws I would still wear a DOT approved helmet every single time.

    If the government actually cared about motorcycle fatalities they would fund this. They would also pay attention to accident data that shows clear patterns of dangerous intersections and roads and spend the money to correct the flaws that claim lives. Passing laws and writing tickets is just a revenue generation scheme rather than a solution to a problem.

  • Damo

    “If he refuses to pay the unjust and unconstitutional fine they will revoke his license do drive.”


    You might want to read the Constitution to jog your memory, because to there isn’t even a tenuous link to it and helmet laws.

  • Spamtasticus

    Damo, you might want to understand the constitution, or scroll up amd read my other posts. The comstitution does not enumerate our rights it spells out the only powers we have granted the federal government over us. Every time one of these discussions comes up it amazes me how many of my fellow citizens dont have a clue about even the most fundamental principles in the most important document in this country. A document, unique in the history of the world and the basis for this countrie’s rise to power and prosperity. No womder the United States of America is in a steep decline.

  • Crashmanjay

    No! Isn’t everything illegal until they tell me exactly how I can say, write, think or do it? How have I been living like this all of these years, breaking…… nothing? Here I thought I was some kinda outlaw. Damn.

  • Damo

    I am sick to death of every pleb on the internet invoking the most holy constitution as a catch all for everything they disagree with.

    Driving/riding a motor vehicle of any kind on a PUBLIC road is not a right, it is a privilege that one must pass some level of competency test administered by a government appointed official to receive. This allows said publicly elected governing body to pass rules as necessary to regulate behavior while on these public roads.

    Seat belts, helmet laws, speed limits, lighted turn indicators, brake lights, headlight minimum height regulations, hands free electronic device laws, school zones, cross walks, traffic lights, the list goes on and on. By your logic everyone of these is unconstitutional.

    I have no idea why when the helmet law comes up every tries to get all sanctimonious and talks about the “constitution” and “liberty”. You would swear helmet laws were slipped in with the Patriot Act.

    The FACT is there are a whole grip of reasons to have helmet laws and there aren’t any tangible ones not to.

    I personally don’t agree with helmet laws, not for the sake of personal freedom, but because we have much bigger fish to fry in terms of road safety for motorcyclists.

  • Spamtasticus

    Damo, you, after all these times forced to read comments about the constitution from plebs, have still not understood how it works. The majority of the requirements and laws you rattled off in your frothing rant are in place to protect drivers from other drivers. That is to keep rabbid idiots from just driving around like a moron killing others. The only exception to this is the seatbelt laws, and for your info, the biggest argument when those are passed to justify their validity is that without a belt you would “be flung and loose controll of your car thereby endangering others further”. These pleb points, however, will be lost on you just as all the others because you have made up your mind and will not listen to any point no matter how valid or how slowly it’s explained. Here, Ill try another way.

    Government protecting citizens from harm or theft by others, acceptable.
    Government protecting citizens from themselves, unacceptable.

    The Plebe
    Constitutional Minarchist Extraordinaire.

  • Spamtasticus

    Oh, I forgot, please provide some kind of reference to this “Not a Right its a privilage” phrase I keep hearing. A privilage granted by whom? Under what authority? Is your concept of government analogous to Mommy and Daddy? Where they decide what is ok for you to do and what is not on a whim? Where they derive their power by some devine force and not from a specific mandate of the people via the constitution. You do understand the basic premise of our republican system of government ? Where in we are governed through concent. So, I ask, what are these priviliges you speak of and what are they based on? Is Air travel a right or a privilage? Sex, a right or a privilage? How do we distinguish between rights and privilages? More importantly, how do our government bureacrats distinguish?

  • Jim Smith

    Ah yes a “Not a right a privilege” argument again. The reality is with all the illegal Mexicans on our roads without insurance or valid drivers licenses that argument is not really valid anymore. If you want to use the roads without having to deal with “the law” just get a very fast sport bike. The police can’t arrest or harass what they can’t catch. The unfortunate truth is most of the laws about driving and licensing are just a revenue model for the government. They could care less about the lives of road users. They just want to get paid.

  • Damo

    “Government protecting citizens from themselves, unacceptable.”

    Have you ever worked with OSHA? Their entire existence is based on protecting people from themselves.

    “The reality is with all the illegal Mexicans on our roads without insurance or valid drivers licenses that argument is not really valid anymore.”

    Everything is fare game when you start breaking laws. Straw man.

    “A privilage granted by whom? Under what authority? Is your concept of government analogous to Mommy and Daddy? Where they decide what is ok for you to do and what is not on a whim? ”

    My local government issued me a license to drive a motor vehicle of both the two wheeled and four wheeled variety on public roads. Just like I would be a license to be a practicing Doctor or freelance Contractor or sign off on bridge design. We as a nation elected the people that have put these measures into place. Please tell me you have been driving since age 16 with no license and never registered your car.

    I do understand the basic principles of a republic based government, which in turns means I understand that the United States of American doesn’t operate completely within the strict definition set forth by the Oxford dictionary. Much the same as cold war era Russia was not a complete Communistic government.

  • Spamtasticus

    Demo. You dont dissapoint.

    – OSHA’s charter is to protect employees from employers. Come on man, dont just blurt crap out, do a little research first. Hell, even a first paragraph scan of the OSHA wikipedia page would have saved you the embarassment of that post. Even if OSHA was what you imagined, it would still not negate my argument. Just because the government is already doing something it does not mean its permited by the Constitution. Hell, do a search on the ATT spying lawsuit. The NDAA will certainly be show to be unconstitutional. The immigration checkpoints along highways that dont actually cross any borders are unconstitutional. It just means that a case agains them has not reached the Supreme Court.

    – Your license explanation does not answer my question about the distinction between a right and a privilage or are you now saying that working is also now not a right but a privilege? Or is being a software developer a right but a hair stylist a privilage because one requires a license and the other does not?

    – I suggest you do a little more studying and stay away from the dictionary. Not exactly the best place to learn about government.

  • Damo


    I understand that you are trying to make an argument about how things “should be” and you are right about that. Things “should be” (misguidance aside) how you describe them. But we both know they aren’t.

    Also OSHA, besides providing work place safety standards does require people to where personal protection equipment regardless their level of skill or opinion about the task they are accomplishing.

    Also my licensing structure describes perfectly the difference between right and privilege, don’t play dumb, you know exactly what I am getting at. (All forms of employment are a privilege, I don’t think I have to explain that.)

    Are there laws that protect an unlicensed driver’s right to use public roads? No there aren’t. You keep throwing theory at me, but I am no seeing any facts. Answer me one thing: Do you have to have to pass a competency test and have a valid license to LEGALLY drive on a public roads in the United States?

    The funny thing is, I agree with what you are saying, but I am just trying to state that it does not in fact reflect reality, nor has it every in this country.

  • Spamtasticus


    This is my last post or read of this thread as I am certain you dont grasp the crux of what I am saying.

    1. Of course my argument is about how things should be. What idiot argues about how things should not be. Furthermore, if nobody debates about how things should be then how do you think anything gets better? We should all just shut up and keep our dissent to ourselves and be sheared like compliant little idiots.

    2. Working is not a privilage. In the case of employees, it is a contract between them and an employer. We are not talking about that contract. We are talking about government. OSHA, once again, requires those safety steps of the employer to protect the employees from the employer’s practices. If the government wants to mandate motorcycle dealers must sell a helmet with all bikes, I would still dissagree, but It would be more analogous to what you are trying to argue. When an OSHA inspector shows up at a plant and finds an employee without gogles, who do you think he fines? Now do you grasp the difference?

    3. I know what you are getting at, I am not playing dumb. I think what you are getting at is dumb. I work, require no licence from any entity to do my work and depend only on the quality of my work for employment. There is no privilage envolved. I offer a service, my customers pay me for the service and that is it. How is that a privilage granted to me by government?

    4. Are you under the impression that the antithesis of a right is a law? Otherwise, I dont understand on what premise you are standing on to postulate about your public roads statement. Licensing, as others here have explained to you, are about extracting money from private citizens. Ere is nothing in the US constitution that issues a power to government to determine privileges.

    Over and out.

  • Damo

    And here we go:

    1. Totally agree.

    2. I never said working is a privilege granted by the government. It is a privilege in the truest sense of the word. You just defined that it is a privilege granted by an employer which is what I said. Also if OSHA shows up and does and on site inspection (which I have been in attendance for many times.) they are more often to correct a problem on site than fine you, but you bet the employer is going to reprimand the employee for the issue. I realize this is twice removed.

    3. You working is a privilege granted by your employer. I know we are playing semantics so I wont waste time.

    4. So you agreed it is in fact a privilege regardless of why it exists ? If licensing was free it would still exist as people shouldn’t be turned out of the womb directly on to the road with out an basic competency exam.

    Once again I am saying any of this is how things should be done and as far as helmet laws are concerned this conversation couldn’t have devolved much further (although I appreciate no one resorted to calling anyone a penis.)

    I prefer to be in touch with the reality of the present and work it from there, as opposed to upholding an altruistic view of the world that is unattainable.

    Stay free.

  • Paul

    To Organ Donors,

    Ride Free, Ride Hard, Die Hard and leave your organs to those who really want to live.

    Your contribution to the health and well being of others is appreciated.

  • HurrDurrHelmetsSuck

    New rule:
    Mandatory sledgehammer blows to all riders’ heads when getting an M-class license.

    After this testing scheme, the only riders left will be those who wore a helmet during their license “exam”. And then we can finally stop hearing from all of the fucking idiots who think it is their right to crash without a helmet, costing the rest of us billions of dollars in taxes each year.

    Better yet, do us all a favor and stop riding. You look better posing on your bike in front of Starbucks anyway…

  • Getta Life

    Jeez. All this uproar over helmets. Honestly I don’t think it’s about the law or safety or any other reason. The real reason you guys are in an uproar over helmets is you just want to force your own narrow little view of the world onto other people because you don’t have enough control of your own miserable lives. Very very sad.