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Aftermath of Florida's repeal on helmet laws

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by Kaer, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060618/ap_on_re_us/motorcycle_helmets

    Fla. motorcycle fatalities reportedly soar

    Sun Jun 18, 3:14 PM ET

    MELBOURNE, Fla. - Motorcycle fatalities involving riders without helmets have soared in the nearly six years since Gov.
    Jeb Bush repealed the state's mandatory helmet law, a newspaper reported Sunday.

    A Florida Today analysis of federal motorcycle crash statistics found "unhelmeted" deaths in Florida rose from 22 deaths in 1998 and 1999, the years before the helmet law repeal, to 250 deaths in 2004, the most recent data available.

    By comparison, Florida logged 270 deaths of riders without helmets during the 1990s, when riding without a helmet was illegal, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports.

    Total motorcycle deaths in the state have increased 67 percent from 259 in 2000 to 432 in 2004, statistics show.

    Records also show a corresponding rise in the popularity of motorcycles in the Sunshine State. Motorcycle registrations have increased 87 percent in Florida since Bush signed the helmet law repeal on July 1, 2000.

    The debate over motorcycle helmet safety resurfaced last week when Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, an advocate of helmet-free riding, broke his jaw, nose and several teeth in an accident. He underwent seven hours of surgery.

    Merritt Island motorcyclist and helmet law opponent Dave Carroll said the helmet law debate is misguided.

    "The media spent way too much time harping on the helmet issue and not enough on the cause of the accident," Carroll said. "What causes most of the crashes is cars. Usually, it's the car driver turning left at an intersection and causing an accident because they didn't see us coming."

    Physicians and insurance companies say helmets are crucial safety gear.

    "We used to call (helmetless riders) 'organ donors,' because they break their head and not their body," said Dr. David Harbour, who works in the emergency room at Wuesthoff Medical Center in Rockledge. "You can actually fix a broken bone. But if you hit your head and hurt your brain, there's little we can do to fix that."

  2. While I wholly support riding with a full-faced helmet, I must object to this flagrant piece of statistics abuse.

    Before mandatory helmet wearing was revoked, the vast majority of riders would have been riding with a helmet on. Now that the law is revoked, a large number of riders will not be riding with a helmet, and so the rate of "helmetless" deaths will go up.

    For this debate to be settled once and for all, someone over there needs to start gathering data on the rate of deaths and serious trauma due to head AND neck injury for helmeted and non-helmeted riders. They need the neck injury data to conclusively confirm or refute the claim that helmets cause neck injuries at a rate righer than non-helmets cause head trauma.
  3. darwin was right and here is a prime example
    dumb laws for dumber people = cleaner gene pool

    Go America!!!
  4. The problem Cathar, is that every accident is different and therefore it must be hard to gather useful, unbiased data. It would probably also be hard to get people to volunteer for "helmet effectiveness tests" :)
  5. If you don't think you need a helmet, then you probably don't.

    These are the people that voted Jeb Bush as their governor :grin: :grin:

  6. Yeah, they need some cool and hip leaders like we have... *cough*
  7. Thats such an idotic comment. I think he somewhat misses the point of wearing a helmet. Being dead and in the right might be just dandio in his book, but not in mine. I think they call that being 'dead right'.
  8. If your too bloody stupid to realise a Helmet is an essential piece of safety gear and you ride without it...it's too late to rue that decision when your paralysed sitting in your wheelchair and your family is changing your nappies and feeding you babyfood.

    Legal to go without or not...I wouldn't EVER consider riding on the road without a helmet(oh sure i've trundled up the driveway moving my bike without one...but commuting to work or going riding with the boys without one...no fcuking way)
  9. I think where the Yanks are actually coming from is not so much that they don't believe helmets save lives, but more a case of trying to remove some of the "over regulation" that exists.

    I think they are hoping to change some laws that exist and get back to a situation where people can make their own choices.

    I'm not sure but this could be what they are thinking???
  10. Over regulation is a problem in all countries however helmet use should be mandatory...if they are worried about over regulation there are many other laws that you would repeal before this one...and where does it end sometimes people need to be protected from their own stupidity...

    I am very anti rules and regulations but a Helmet law makes perfect sense...come off at 25ks withut one...hit your head and maybe you die, maybe you have brain damage...wear a Helmet and do the same your helmet is scratched/damaged but you WILL get up and walk away...

    Do we allow parachutists to pursue their sport without a chute...which is a crucial part of safety gear...after all those pesky regulations get in the way of them making their own choices...where does this end?
  11. If registrations have increased by 87% but deaths have increased only 67% then realistically I make that a decrease in the casualty rate... :roll:
  12. I'm sure most of those people that died new the risks. Just as smokers and heavy drinkers know the risks, climbers attempting everest, you name the dangerous activity.

    Crash without helmet doesn't mean death. I've had a few stacks over the years, never even scratched my helmet. But I always wear a helmet because it's good protection just in case. But I don't think we should force others to comply to our safety levels - if we all did that, car driving politicians would eventually ban motorcycles because the risks are too great because of the few who die on them.

    Hmm... allowing humans to make decisions about risking their own lives... No we need the government to dictate to us how to live, that's true freedom in this day and age. :roll:
  13. Hey all,
    As stated above, and I concur,
    I like to use part of Charles Darwins Theory of Evolution on this "helmet debate".
    It is not survival of the fitest (sp?)
    It is survival of the smartest,
    by all means let the rider have the right to choose,
    you can choose to wear a bandana (sp?) or cap or some other piece of cloth on your head instead of a helmet,
    And no one should feel sorry for you if you die from a head injury.
  14. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this coming from the land in which you don't have to wear a seat belt in a car? If so then makes sense to not wear a helmet on a bike. Next ammendment: swimming in shark pool without a cage...welding without googles and my favourite pastime: stabbing myself in the croth with a rusty razorblade "cause the govenment sez I hav the choice darnit!"
  15. PS. some of the quotes on this thread re: not wearing a helmet are going into my all time fav quote database. Funny stuff
  16. An interesting comparison indeed. While never having considered riding without a helmet myself, not even before it was compulsory, I do appreciate the compulsion issue as a valid one. We do allow parachutists to pursue their sport, which even with a parachute is probably more lethal than riding a bike without a helmet. We do allow people to climb mountains, to sail the southern ocean, and to attempt the world water speed record, a sport with a fatality rate of 50%, the world's most hazardous competition. Yet people who attempt the water speed record are heroes, and those who ride without a helmet are idiots. There is an argument that the freedom of the individual is being curtailed here for the sake of convenience and economics, and that these are not sufficient grounds on which to do so. If we ban helmetless motorcycle riding because of its increased risk, then why not just ban motorcycle riding altogether and eliminate the risk completely? Not a simple issue by any means in my opinion.
  17. Ok...about seat belts, you do have to wear a seat belt in most American States. But that is because the road toll among car drivers was literally off the scale in many states, there are still hundreds of car accidents every day however. But you have to remember how many people live in America to start with. Once again, for Politicians it's all about numbers.
    The most dangerous thing to a biker in America is cagers and deer.
    Getting rid of both would obviously improve bikers chances of not having an accident. An unlikely scenario I grant you.
    As to why riders in the USA don't wear helmets...because they feel it is their choice to decide.

    American bikers are not average citizens, they will fight tooth and nail for what they see as their rights. ABATE (the largest riders rights organisation in the States) has frequently stated they wish to see riders up to the age of 21 wearing helmets, and riders over 21 as having the choice of not wearing one.

    But one must look deeper than simply the age...guys who ride around on Choppers and Harleys normally do not wear helmets in states that allow that option.
    Guys on sports bike also do not wear helmets.
    You can guess which group is the more reckless on the road.
    I would like to see a comparison done between the two groups.
    I'd also like to see the death rate of bikers who came off who were NOT hit by a car, compared to those who were.

    I think a lot of you don't realise what the American countryside and roads look like. The roads are often almost perfectly straight for hundreds of miles, huge curves rather than corners in most of the south west and north west states. You can ride on a secondary road and not see a car for hours. (And this at the height of the holiday seasons).
    You seldom see deer during the day.
    It begs the question that...on a lonely secondary road, in the middle of their outback areas...on a warm, sunny day...why should you have to wear a helmet?
    And that's how many USA riders think.
    I would think many would be happy with a law that says they must put their helmets on when approaching town and city limits.
    But again that's letting the rider think for himself.

    The helmet debate is a very American issue, it's not simply about not wanting to wear a helmet, it's also about freedom of choice and Government control. The American Government like the Aussie and UK Gov would be happy to see no bikes on the roads at all.

    I rode without a helmet several times in the USA last year. In outback areas and national parks. I felt perfectly safe. Why? Because there were no fuking car drivers around! That's it right there.

    Too many people seem to think they will be ok so long as they are wearing a helmet. I see it all the time in posts here.
    A helmet is NOT a safety blanket, you don't want to be riding fast through (example) the RNP on the assumption that if you come off the helmet is going to save you.
    If you're riding around, worried about falling off, but convinced that if you do you'll be ok because you have a helmet on...well I've got to say thats a little naive.
    You should ALWAYS ride like you don't have a helmet on at all.
    That way you will probably avoid putting yourself in a postion where you MAY come off.

    I don't mind wearing a helmet, in fact I like the face shield and the protection from the elements, that does not mean I would not like to make up my own mind about wearing one. I am over 21, I pay my taxes, I am an adult. I do not need the Government telling me how to be safe.

    And before anyone quotes insurance figures...as has been mentioned...parachuting, rock climbing, scuba diving, horse-riding, sailing,
    caving, flying, etc etc...all carry risk and people die doing all those things.
    Where does one draw the line?
    If bikers dying cost the goverments of the world money...hey lets ban bikes.
    Hmmm....horse riders break their necks a lot....ok, lets ban them too.
    Don't think the powers that be have not considered it.
  18. While I agree with this in principal, the problem is the government pays for the hospital care of people who are injured more severely than necessary because they're not wearing a helmet.

    Short of the ambulance leaving an injured helmetless rider on the side of the road until they can verify he's got health insurance, I don't see the alternative to compulsary helmets.
  19. 1. Ok, lets accept that. "the problem is the government pays for the hospital care of people who are injured more severely than necessary"...

    2. So, given that...."Motorcycle riders are around 29 times more likely to be fatally injured than other vehicle operators (Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Monograph 12 October 2002)."

    3. I see no alternative to banning motorcyclists completely, as they are obviously killing themselves and being injured "more severely than necessary", and should obviously be in much safer cars.

    Unless I am putting someone else at risk, what gives anyone the right to determine what risk is" necessary" for me? Racing is not "necessary" at all, so logically it should be banned altogether, as well as every other hazardous sport. The core issue has nothing to do with helmets. It is that once you accept as valid the principle of government determining 'acceptable' risk for the individual, where does it stop?