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 https://netrider.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=20030 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.