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Helmets must be compulsory.

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by Ktulu, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. Hi guys, I know I'm a n00b on these forums, and 'yes' I did see the other thread on the topic of helmet laws in the states.

    I just see a lot of posts saying 'it's ok not to wear helmets, as long as it doesn't cost me any extra $$$ on my health/auto insurance'.

    Forgive me for being blunt, but this is an incorrect perspective IMO.
    I hope this post enlightens some people, or gives others some pointers on correcting those who advocate pro-choice above anything on this issue:


    I appreciate the right to choice, as you guys do - and also that there is a cost to consider with regard to insurance.

    However, I believe it should be compulsory to wear helmets while motorcycling - despite people's right to choice, and even IF otherwise insurance premiums would be adjusted to compensate for the increased risk of riding without a helmet.

    First, I would like to establish one thing - helmets prevent injury [and death in many cases] to the head & brain of a motor-cycle rider in the event of an accident in many situations.
    Granted, sometimes a helmet does nothing - but as a rule, those who wear helmets have a far better survival rate than those who do not wear them when involved in an accident.

    Second - my first point is a fact. Statistics do not accurately represent an even remotely close ratio of injury:death instances in motorcycle riders helmeted or otherwise.
    I personally know of 4 motorcycle accidents (amongst myself and my friends) in which wearing a helmet protected the rider's head from injury, the rider was not seriously injured, bike was recovered - and police/ambulance/insurance co's were not notified or involved at all.
    Not a single record of the incident.

    The accidents where the bike is written off, or a rider seriously injured or killed - ARE recorded, because authorities must be involved. However, please keep in mind that a great number of lower speed, not-so serious accidents occur to riders every day of the week and helmets make a huge difference to the seriousness of those accidents.
    In fact, helmets probably save us money in insurance premiums already with lower crash statistics with many accidents not needing to be reported.

    When considering this issue, there are a lot more factors to look at than just freedom of choice vs cost. These include: capacity for choice, experience, preventing accidents, loss of life, true cost of injury.

    Capacity for choice:

    From early childhood you learn to drive a car. The majority of vehicles on the road are cars, your parents drive you around in a car, on TV you see cars cars cars.
    A motorcycle is completely different.
    When you learn to ride, aside from operating clutch and throttle with your hands instead of feet, you must use your entire body to control the bike - everything from posture to weight distribution make an enormous difference to a rider's control of a motorcycle.
    It takes time to teach yourself to ride with as much control as possible, it takes practice and experience.

    Many countries impose power limits on rider's of motorcycle based on a progressive license scheme - ie. from "You're a n00b: have a 250cc, try to stay on the road" TO "You've been riding for 3 years, buy a 1 litre track bike if you want".
    They do this because inexperience can cause death or injury on a motorcycle, the severity of which is proportional to the power of the bike.
    In a car an 8 year old can put their foot to the floor in a straight line... on a sports bike, too much throttle in the wrong gear and you flip over and crash.

    Every few months news articles pop up "19 year old buys Yamaha R1. Discovers brick wall at 150 miles/hour before bike has even done 50 miles. Deaded." --> in some US states where it is legal for someone to choose a bike that will end their life in under 10 minutes - can you trust that person to make an intelligent decision regarding the use of a helmet? [Assuming suicide isn't the goal].
    The answer is no. Boys will be boys. It is fun to go fast; and people will die without SOMETHING to at least kurb their enthusiasm until they have the skills to stay alive.

    Preventing Accidents:

    All the debate seems to be in the instance of an accident the helmet comes into play!

    This is incorrect!

    Your helmet is protecting you from the moment you hop on the bike.
    While riding, your helmet protects you from the following (apart from head injury):
    - high wind.
    - dust, dirt.
    - debris that may come from trees or other vehicles (trucks with unsecured loads etc.)
    - insects.
    - sun-burn.
    - extreme cold.
    - rain.

    Eye protection is an absolute must - you simply can not have your eyes open enough to see everything you need to see and anticipate to stay alive on a motorcycle in traffic, while wind is hitting your face.
    Sunglasses etc are not designed to displace rain or other things that may inhibit your visibility. They offer no protection for dirt or debris hitting the rider's head at high speed.

    All these things are distractions, surprises and discomforts one can ill afford at 80 k's/hour or any speed for that matter. The unexpected is no excuse - riders must expect the unexpected, plan for it, have skills to compensate for it; and the points above all promote a loss of control for the rider which could have dangerous consequences. A helmet greatly assists a rider manage such circumstances.

    Loss of life:

    For those who actually treasure human life (and I don't treasure all of my fellow human's lives) - you can not fail to recognise that some people need to be protected from themselves, and in the instance of a motorcycle where injury can happen so suddenly and quickly; it is vital to have protection in place.
    A progressive license system is ok.
    People who have ridden for longer are BETTER.
    It's a simple fact.
    Do NOT defend the rights of the new rider to choose their limits for themselves. Their choice is born of inexperience and stupidity - they are not qualified to make that decision.

    True cost of injury:

    Serious injury or death in a motor accident can and does involve another vehicle. Let's say person A pulls out in front of rider B.
    In a reasonable speed accident (ie. the rider has time to brake) a helmet can mean survival for the rider.
    Now, sure - you scream how much cheaper it would be if the rider died instead of behing injured etc. But how about the effect on person A?

    A friend of mine was driving near a hospital, and a woman talking on a mobile phone stepped onto the road completely oblivious to the traffic. She stepped in front of my friend's car and she was killed.
    My friend has to live with killing another person now - he has gone to counselling. It has affected his job, and his family.
    -> Yeah, we all know how cheap psychologists are these days ^_-

    Personally, I had a motorcycle accident at the beginning of this year - a friend on a bike cut me off, and I hit him. If I hadn't been wearing a helmet, I don't know how I would have ended up - but I know my friend, and he would just about kill himself if he was responsible for a mate's serious injury/death.

    If I hadn't had a helmet on, I may very well be dead - and forcing someone else to live with the consequences of the risk I decided to take.
    ... and that is not fair or acceptable.

    Most of you who ride would also drive - look at this thread

    What if N20 hadn't been wearing a helmet?
    Would we be cheering his pro-choice lifestyle?
    I'll bet the poor b@stard who was in the car wouldn't be. I'll be he'd be very upset at having killed someone.
    Rather, I'll bet he's thankful N20 was wearing a stack-hat... and consequently thankful that they are compulsory.
  2. Wearing helmet when riding is compulsory in Australia.

    What are you trying to say?
  3. I'm not "trying" to say anything.
    The post is for people who are against compulsory helmet laws (or people who want to educate them) whatever country they are in.
  4. Let those who ride decide for themselves.
  5. Why?

    I know it's a long-ish post, but geez at least read it and then explain your own point of view.
  6. I am against compulsory helmet laws.

    Anyone over 21 should be able to make up their own mind.
    I'm against compulsory anything so long as there is no risk to family , friends, other humans and the wellbeing of the plant we live on.

    People who don't wear helmets don't care if others do.

    People who like wearing helmets always whinge about those of us who do not/would not/have not...and we don't need you worrying about us, thanks, but no thanks.

    There is no point even writing more in this thread mate...it's been said so many times before.

    You "compulsory for your own good" guys will never convince the more open minded and freedom loving individuals such as myself.

    And I actually like wearing my helmet, but I like not wearing one at times also.
    I seriously doubt if more than a handful of Netriders have ever ridden long distance without a lid.
    So only a few of us really "get it."
    I know you don't.
    Make sure you wrap lots of cotton wool around yourself when you go out, one cannot be TOO careful.
  7. people should be able to decide because this country is enough of a conservative hell hold as it stands already. It's boring to tell people not to do anything that might harm anyone ever.
  8. Jaqhama - I know what you mean.
    From what I gather, the most likely scenario is that you are quite a competent rider and from time-to-time enjoy riding without a helmet. Hence, any law that impinges on that personal freedom for you = bad.

    Also, I have ridden w/out a helmet, and yes - it was great to just hop on the bike without taking the time to strap the lid on and muck around with a visor (I wear glasses which adds an annoying step to the process) and take off.

    However, I just have a couple of yes/no questions:

    Do you think helmets help to prevent accidents?
    Do you draw distinction between injury and death in both legal consequences and impact on 3rd parties [ie. psychological impact on someone who causes an accident, or friends and family of an involved party]?

    [edit]Tailus - I agree. 'Strayan police are far too interested in mobile phones, litter, and graffiti for my liking. However regarding helmets, I'm for 'em.
  9. well all be dead one day, so helmets shouldnt matter. Aint that right Ktulu? :p
  10. I know you don't much about riding helmetless yourself because the sentence you wrote in your original post is incorrect.

    Eye protection is an absolute must - you simply can not have your eyes open enough to see everything you need to see and anticipate to stay alive on a motorcycle in traffic, while wind is hitting your face.

    A: There are specific glasses and sunglasses that cover the entire eye as well as the sides of the eye. Combat soldiers also use them. They are shatterproof.

    B: Your eyes do water for an hour or so when you are not used to riding without a visor or sunglasses.
    However...your eyes adapt to the constant wind pressure and will stop watering after a time.
    I seldom have my visor down at all, many riders do not...kinda displaces your eye watering theory huh?
  11. ^a sig I adopted years ago, and stuck with :)

    Sure, but to quote from The Outsider:
    "What's your rush now? Everyone will have his day to die."

    I suppose I can examine the philosophy of my sig if you want, but in context I would not adhere to the contradiction.
  12. ahhhh large words.

    to quote from super troopers:

  13. A) So you would prefer to make special sunglasses compulsory?
    But you wouldn't want that either I imagine...

    8) OK, we don't make anything compulsory, and everyone's eyes will only water for an hour when they start riding. Now which one of these inferences do we prefer?
    - accidents only happen after you've been riding for an hour anyway.
    - your eyes watering more than normal in no way affects your vision.
    - your vision has no bearing on your ability to perceive and respond to hazards.
  14. Do I think helmets prevent accidents?

    No I think not coming off and car drivers not running into you prevents accidents.

    I don't care about third parties, it's my life, I'll do what I WANT and not what others think is best for me.

    As for someone who causes a rider to die on the road and then feels badly about it...GOOD...I hope the bastard feels so bad that he/she lives in a mental hell for the rest of their lives.
    Learn to drive properly, be careful, don't be driving around with the brain in neutral, don't drive around thinking your at Le Mans, and all should be fine. Young people especially need to learn this lesson. It applies to a lot of young men in particular.

    People die without expecting too, in the most mundane circumastances, every day...so the fact that people grieve for you cannot really be taken into account. They're going to greive no matter if you were riding a bike or driving a bus.

    Life is for LIVING...it's not for worrying about every time you walk out the door.
    If that was the case, no one would get on a plane, there would be no test pilots, no bike and car racers, no mountain climbers, no cavers etc etc.

    I have a sneaking suspision that that the above scenario would go down well with the "compulsory" people.
  15. Your eyes only water for an hour the first day, the next day they may water for a few minutes, the next day probably not at all.

    So assuming you have managed not to fall off or hit anything in that first hour on that first day you'll be fine.

    You can keep quoting me and adjusting your answers till the moon falls from the sky.

    The fact remains that not everyone feels as you do about helmets and safety equipment.

    Get over it.

    In all fairness I think you'd better go to the site below and read what I and some others have written
    I write for a USA based custom bike/ chopper webzine, the biggest of it's kind on the Net.
    You may be surprised. The thread began because some dumbass said helmets kill you.
  16. Without a helmet, there's an increased risk to 3 or those 4.

    Because caring would be against their morals/values/image?

    Agreed, unless you fall into one of the above mentioned 3 types :p
  17. No, I certainly appreciate acceptable risk.
    That's how I ride a bike in the first place. A helmet doesn't guarantee you won't die on a bike.

    I also support personal responsibility.

    OK, "coming off" and "car drivers running into you" are accidents - which helmets can help to prevent in the first instance OR prevent/protect in the second.

    What about if the rider is at fault?
    What if it isn't clear cut who is at fault?
    Usually on the road.
    There is no other situation we so frequently place ourselves in that provides the opportunity for injury and death to occur as driving/riding on the roads.

    We can not even begin to compare frequency of auto accidents with those of planes or mountain climbers. Worlds apart. Not to mention the unwilling participation of any 2nd party in an auto accident. Of course different rules apply.
  18. Go back to page one and read the Bikernet thread I supplied the address for.
  19. You don't know that for sure Jason, you only assume it. I rode for years with no helmet and I'm still here. I know riders in the USA in their 50's and 60's who have never worn helmets, and they are still with us also.

    Because we realise it's your personal choice and we respect that.

    Again you are assuming that everyone who does not wear a helmet is going to come off, and if they do come off, suffer massive head trauma, that's often not the case. Take note that the helmet is heaviest part of your body when you're flying thru the air or rolling/sliding along the ground. It normally always makes contact with the ground. Even helmet companies have admitted that. Go completly limp in shock and with your neck muscles relaxed the helmet ( and gravity) drags your head downwards. I thought everyone knew that?
    Plenty of helmetless riders have come off and their head never made contact with the ground. I'm not saying it happens that way all the time, just pointing out it can happen. 40 years ago professional flat trackers either wore no helmet or just a leather flying helmet. Few of them died, odd huh? My father rode a Norton Commando for years after WW2 in the UK, no one wore helmets.
    You've all been conditioned to believe that helmets are the end all of being safe on a bike, and they are not. The safest thing is not to fall off or be hit by a car at all.
    Helmets do help in the majority of situations, but not in all situations.
    This argument will be never ending, for me it's all about having the right of personal choice, everything else is just ammunition for one side or the other.
    Like I said...Let those who ride decide for themselves.
    Cheers: Jaq.
  20. Done.
    Let's make everyone's first hour of night-driving be with sunglasses on too, that way their night-vision will be better when their eyes have to adjust for the glasses!

    Look man, I'm obviously not going to change your mind on the subject.
    I argue the point because unless there is a view the helmets should be compulsory - if no-one says otherwise, there will be a reform: and it will be for the worst.

    In the same way you think I am close minded and selfish by believing you should wear a lid all the time: I think you are close minded and selfish by expecting others to live with a recognised increase of risk you decide to take... and also raising health insurance premiums and other costs to myself and the community etc.

    The underlying point is this - I know we can both agree there are riders out there who SHOULD wear a helmet.
    But it'd cost too much time and money which can not be afforded to weed these people out from the rest.

    Both the cheapest and safest solution for all involved is to make helmets compulsory.
    So you are really weighing your right to choose a risk against someone else's right to drive without living with another's death on their hands, a family's right to know the law has their relative's best interests in mind, the right for communities to save tax payer's dollars by using legislation to fairly and appropriately reduce the expense of traffic accidents.

    I respect your decision to determine your own level of risk. I may consider it selfish in certain instances, but I respect it.

    But if you want to tell me that helmets shouldn't be mandatory because they don't prevent accidents/injury/increased cost to the community: then I consider that; stupidity.