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Florida Helmet Law Repeal - Review

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by dan, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. [from here...]
    Evaluation of the Repeal of the All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law in Florida
    "Effective July 1, 2000, Florida eliminated the legal requirement that all motorcycle riders wear helmets. State law now requires helmet use only by riders under the age of 21, or older riders who do not carry at least $10,000 of medical insurance. Observational surveys and crash reports indicated that helmet use dropped substantially following the law change. Motorcyclist fatalities increased by 81 percent comparing 2001-2003 to 1997-1999, compared to +48 percent nationally. Non-fatal serious injuries began increasing in the first six months of 2000, increased by 32 percent in the first year following law repeal. There was a 40 percent increase in the number of injured motorcyclists who were admitted to hospitals. Admissions for head injuries increased by 82 percent. The average head injury treatment cost increased by almost $10,000, to $45,602. In 1998 and 1999, the acute care hospital charges for head-brain-skull principal injury cases per 10,000 registered motorcycles were $311,549 and $428,347 respectively."
    Table of Contents
    Full Report (PDF; 3.84 M8)

  2. Very interesting....

    I guess the septics are bigger believers in Darwin's theory than us.
  3. The "economic" argument for not wearing a helmet starts to look pretty thin when you look at these stats, doesn't it?

    And an 81% increase in motorcycle deaths. that's appalling.

    My guess is that some enterprising lawyer will start looking at a class action against the Florida legislature for passing a law that allowed it to happen.
  4. bwahahahhahahahaha :LOL: funny, but not at the same time. it is america after all :roll: land of the free, home of the lawsuit :?
  6. I wonder how long before the insurance companies either put an exclusion on people riding without helmets, or just make their premium reflect the risk?
  7. Pretty soon I'd bet.

    I'm sorry but I can't imagine riding without a helmet. I'd be like... naked. Like walking Iraq without armour :shock:

    Mind you there is plent of HD riders out here with the "Novelty" helmets, shorts, thongs and the old leather vest. :oops: Too scary
    Take care
  8. That's not the only state with the "no helmet" law though is it? I'd be interested to know the stats in the others...
  9. That's a superbly practical approach to rid the state of stupid people, shame it costs so much though.

    If you need it explained to you why wearing a helmet is a good idea you're already too stupid for me to talk to.
  10. ....or should that be:
    If you need it explained to you why wearing a helmet is a good idea....you don't need one.
  11. What, a 'duty of care' lawsuit? Doubt it. But the concept is funny, nonetheless. Success would mean anyone could sue if involved in an accident:
    "The speed limit was too high!"
    "I was not told that my 20 year-old car is unsafe!"
    "Why did the State give me my license?"
  12. Dont thirty years make a difference.
    Figures then showed a drop in accidents, deaths, and serious injuries, involving Motorcyclists when helmet laws where repealed in some states way back then, so go figure.
  13. An interesting article from here

    Easy riders bear high cost of feeling wind in their hair

    As U.S. states succumb to pressure to repeal helmet laws, fatalities from motorcycle accidents are rising
    Friday, August 12, 2005 Page A3

    WASHINGTON -- The Easy Rider mystique is taking U.S. highways by storm -- and motorcyclists are paying the price.

    Deaths in motorcycle accidents are soaring as states rescind laws requiring helmet use, pressed by politically savvy biker groups and backers of the same libertarian ideology that views gun control and taxes as threats to individual liberty.

    "The pattern is very consistent. When you repeal helmet laws, you see an increase in injuries and fatalities," said Rae Tyson, a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reported last week that motorcycle deaths in the United States have jumped 89 per cent since 1997. In that year, 2,117 people died in accidents. Last year the number was 4,008.

    Safety experts say contributing to the rise in fatalities are baby boomers who buy large, powerful machines and take to the road in an effort to recapture the image of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper from Easy Rider.

    As recently as 1975, all but three U.S. states had mandatory universal helmet laws. But motorcycle lovers, arguing that it's a question of individual freedom, have lobbied successfully to have these laws rescinded in all but 20 states.

    "The United States is the only industrialized country in the world where there is this organized campaign to repeal helmet laws," said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is sponsored by auto insurers.

    A militant biker-rights group that lobbies for repeal of the helmet law compares the risk in riding a motorcycle to those in driving a car and climbing stairs, and says that wearing a helmet can actually increase the chance of an accident. "You can hear better and you have better visibility" without a helmet, said Vince Consiglio, president of the Michigan chapter of American Bikers Aiming Toward Education, which is lobbying to repeal Michigan's mandatory-helmet law. "You get a better sense of the road."

    Mr. Consiglio's group has persuaded the Michigan State Senate to vote in favour of repealing the helmet law, but Governor Jennifer Granholm is expected to veto the bill if, as expected, it passes the state's lower house. The bikers, however, have no intention of giving up.

    "They're very vocal, they're tough, they're mean-looking and they can be confrontational. They just keep after you election after election," said Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside Michigan Politics, which tracks the state political scene.

    "Their agenda is that they want to be able to feel the wind in their hair," said Richard Miller, community safety services manager for the Michigan branch of the American Automobile Association, who has lobbied for a decade to retain the mandatory-helmet law. "It's live free or die. They say the government shouldn't be regulating freedom of choice."

    He said that he has given up attempting to convince many state legislators of the huge cost to society of repealing helmet laws, saying that the bikers are so relentless that legislators finally give in to the pressure.

    "They'll do almost anything to get them off their doorsteps."

    The AAA estimates that repealing Michigan's helmet law will result in an 22 additional motorcycle deaths in the state every year, along with 132 more incapacitating injuries, and $140-million in added expenses.

    A recent study prepared for the insurance institute concludes that repealing the universal helmet law in Florida led to an explosion of motorcycle deaths and a 25-per-cent increase in the likelihood of death from a motorcycle accident.

    The study concludes that 117 motorcycle deaths could have been avoided in 2001 and 2002 if the old helmet law had remained in place. It calculates that the "likelihood of death given involvement in a motorcycle crash was 25 per cent higher than expected after the law change."

    A separate study of the Florida experience by the National Highway Safety Administration, made public this week, reported that motorcycle deaths jumped 81 per cent after the helmet law was changed in 2000.

    Most strikingly, it showed that 50 per cent of motorcyclists who suffered incapacitating injuries in motorcycle accidents in 2001 were not wearing helmets, compared with only 21 per cent who suffered similar injuries in 1999.

    All this comes at a cost. In the 30 months after the Florida law was changed, hospital costs in the state from motorcyclists with head, brain or skull injuries more than doubled to $50-million (U.S.) from $21-million and the average cost of each case of injury rose by $10,000.

    In Canada, where helmet use is required in all 10 provinces (with an exception for turban-wearing Sikhs in British Columbia on religious grounds), the number of annual deaths among motorcyclists has been virtually unchanged in recent years despite the number of motorcycle registrations increasing by one-third.

    Raynald Marchand, manager of traffic safety and training at the Canada Safety Council, calls the freedom to avoid helmet use "the liberty to die."

    "Why ride without a helmet? I don't understand it," said Mr. Marchand, an avid motorcyclist for the past 31 years.

    He noted that Dorthy Rushton, who lobbied for the right not to wear a helmet in Florida, was killed while riding her Harley-Davidson one month after the law was dropped. She was not wearing a helmet.
  14. This in the same country that cannot legislate FOR the use of seat-belts in cars, even though the manufacturers ARE legislated to supply them!!! How in the name of everything that's good and holy can it be a matter of choice to avoid something which will save one's life in the event of an accident? These same brain-dead protestors every day enjoy the passive safety measures put in place by legislators to protect their lives; handrails on stairs, warning signs on road-works, etc etc, and then hop on a device, without a helmet and say "It's someone else's problem if I get killed or incapacitated."
    It's not freedom of choice, it's just rampant selfishness.
  15. Well, if you don't have a head that's worth protecting, why bother wearing a helmet????
  16. Think about that a second - does the US govt legislate that people aren't allowed outdoors during electical storms, or that they must were rubber soled shoes? Accidents can and do happen. Accidents have culled our species for millions of years, why do they feel the need to legislate everyone into padded cells?
  17. Actually it's their insurance companies problem, which is why they are so vocal on the issue. The companies don't particular care about a person's right to life or whatever, they just don't want to pay out on their life insurance. I reckon you'll soon find that if you come off a bike without a helmet, you won't be eligible for a payout.
  18. yeah but, Dan, how many electrical storms are there per year and how many people get killed in them? That's a random risk. It's a proven fact that if you fall off a motorcycle at much more than walking pace and hit your head on the ground or some object, you're going to be injured at best or killed at worst. Millions of people ride motorcycles and thousands get killed; that's not a random risk, that's a controllable statistic.
    We had similar agruments back in 74 (I was only a lad meself) when compulsory seat belt laws were introduced, but Australians are cleverer than the yanks, and we've reaped the benefit of the (perceived) infringement of our liberties.
  19. its an over population problem , nothing to do with rights .
    they just wantto cull of some people 50 a day from riders , do it by giving so dickhead his wish .

    there all idiots.
  20. And, Dan the law isn't about controlling whether or not the accident happens, the law is about curtailing the consequences.