Do You Wear A Helmet (if not required)

  • October 18, 2009 9:07 AM PDT
    On July 17th 2009 I hit a deer at about 55MPH. The bike is now repaired and I don't ride without a helmet, jacket, chaps, and gloves. I thoroughly believe in freedom of choice - and I choose to wear protective gear.
    • 0 posts
    October 18, 2009 2:33 PM PDT
    I would like everyone to have the right to choose for themselves, but like florida, if you choose not to wear a helmet you would need medical coverage. and higher than what is mandated in florida. As far as for myself, I wear a 1/2 helmet for the most part, and have a full helmet for when the weather starts turing bad. But, when I was running around in Moab and hitting all the state parks and such, I just wore my cowboy hat.
    Of note, in Florida, after the repeal, there was an increase in head related fatalities, but a decrease in the number of neck and spinal cord injuries. (based on numbers compared to rider registration data)
  • October 18, 2009 9:45 PM PDT
    Rex... Sorry... It feels like i poked you in the eye by starting this discussion "again". Freedom of speech is also MY right... Anal? Me? Man, I was just expressing an idea... I also started bike riding young.. Been doing it since I was 12... I am now 61 and getting back into it after almost 30 years of not riding... As a matter of fact, the wife and I just did a 5 week, 10,600 mile trip from coast to coast and a bit of Canada too... After racing motocross and riding crazy for all the young and stupid days of my early days, I quickly realized that my wearing a helmet is the only reason I survived all those crashes and broken bones. In any case, you missed my point. I have nothing against bikers... Love them all... No reason not to... And I sort of wonder what the girls that ride without helmets have to say about your "we have the cajones" statement. Are you implying that they have them too? Not physically I hope...? I never thought that those of us who wear helmets, wore them because we didn't have "cajones"... Hmmm... As for me, I guess my 23 years in the Corps, Viet Nam, Drill Instructor Duty (two tours), and countless other little skirmishes which left me a bunch of scars, took away my "cajones"? Interesting concept. Oh, on the helmet thing... It is hard to see but, both my feet are on the ground... We had just arrived from a 400 mile trek on the first leg or our trip and, we were asked to take our helmets of for a pic... I was playing with the wireless intercom mic right then, the confounded thing just kept sticking out and I didn't want to damage it...
    In any case, if anybody cares to read the small print on most insurance policies (bike insurance in particular) they would find that there are money caps. The insurance will only pay up to a certain amount, which in most cases will not even begin to cover the medical expenses, resulting from a catastrophic head injury... Our laws, as they are written, require the medical establishments to provide care, regardless of the ability of the patient to pay. Where do you think the moneys, to cover those expenses which exceed the ability of the patients to pay, come from? Take the time to check it out, the figures are staggering...
    I am in no way interested in enacting so called "paternalistic" laws which infringe on the free choice of any individual. I strongly believe that if people want to ride naked, clothed, with or without helmets, it should be the right of the individual to do so. (However, body beautiful and all, I hope i don't get an opportunity to see too much of that...)

    GaryTJ brought up a good point in that the State of Florida had in fact done away with the helmet law, with the exception of persons under 21 where helmet wearing remains mandatory... Even though they did in fact raise the coverage requirement, they have found that it is not nearly enough... What follows is a portion of the "Final Report: Evaluation of the Repeal of the All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law in Florida" written in 2005, 5 years after the law was eliminated. It makes for some interesting reading and is available from the National Technical Information Service in Springfield, VA.


    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. The comparable figures for 2001 and 2002 were $605,854 and $610,386, adjusted for inflation. Time series analysis showed a statistically significant increase in fatalities while controlling for changes in motorcycle registrations. Similar analyses also showed significant increases for Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas. Florida crash reports also indicated that helmet use declined markedly among riders under age 21, who were still covered by the law. Fatalities in this age group nearly tripled in the three years after the law change. Comparing the 30 months before and after the law change, there was an increase of 55 percent in the average annual number of motorcyclists killed (181 to 280, respectively). Registrations increased an average 33.7 percent in this time period. Some of the increases in fatalities and other injuries in Florida were probably due to this increased ridership. The expected number of motorcycle fatalities as a result of the increase in registrations was 242. The actual number who died in 2002 was 301, 56 (+24 percent) more motorcycle fatalities than expected as a result of increased registrations alone. Nationally in 2001 and 2002, motorcycle miles of travel declined compared to earlier years. Given the large registration increase in Florida, it is unlikely that this national pattern held in the State."

    Doesn't take a brainiac to understand what it is I am referring to... No helmet-No problem... However, there should be a requirement for higher insurance premiums (for no helmet riders, as in Florida) to cover the luxury of that "free choice" in case of an accident... That is all I am saying...

    One last thing, before I get off of "my soapbox"... On the cool, uncool thing... It is hard for me (in my limited, "no cajones" mental capacity) to believe that the fear of being UNCOOL, doesn't come into play when intelligent, prudent, people decide to wear a helmet-or not... C'mon... The wife and I, and only a handful of people, were wearing helmets at Sturgis... Of the tens of thousands of people there, only a handful of us drove around wearing a helmet?!?!?!?!? Oops, I almost forgot... There was this other guy who had 3 foot long longhorn horns sticking out of either side of his... I find it hard to fathom the idea that, all those tens of thousands of bikers, were riding around Sturgis without helmets- ONLY because they were exercising their freedom of choice... Peer pressure being what it is, my friend, sounds like a whole lot of lack of "cajones" problem to me... Thank you for allowing me my precious right of freedom of speech, and for allowing me the opportunity to debate this very important topic... Ride safe, far, and forever...
    • Moderator
    • 19061 posts
    October 18, 2009 11:28 PM PDT

    I am glad your response was short.

    Quoting your first post... "If I had my way, I would make helmets mandatory, for all recreational vehicle drivers and passengers (maybe some water craft too),"

    But in your second book you state "I am in no way interested in enacting so called "paternalistic" laws which infringe on the free choice of any individual. I strongly believe that if people want to ride naked, clothed, with or without helmets, it should be the right of the individual to do so. 

    Now which is it?

    You further missed my first point. I was incensed (being polite)  when you stated all that choose not to wear a helmet are merely wannabes and lack cajones.

    Thanks for your time in the military especially Vietnam (welcome home brother), I also wear the green, yellow and red ribbon and am retired USAF.

  • October 19, 2009 12:22 AM PDT
    Red and I wear helments when we ride 99.9% of time, we do agree that it should be a matter of choice. If we are in the Hill Country on back roads we have been know to ride with out. Again Choice,
  • October 19, 2009 12:22 AM PDT
    I ride with a helmet 99% of the time, I have seen hair, teeth, and eyes on the pavement too many times!
  • October 19, 2009 5:56 AM PDT
    I am also a member of ABATE and dont wear a helmet when riding local but I do when on the interstate i have been down both with and without a lid and recieved stitches in my head with and without the lid so I say let those who ride decide
  • October 19, 2009 7:56 AM PDT
    I wear one and I don't care what anybody else does.
    • 2 posts
    October 19, 2009 10:14 AM PDT
    Always wear a helmet including on a bicycle. Wore one before they were required. Always wear long sleeves, long pants, lace up hi boots & gloves w/ fingers. Recently started wearing a slider jacket & it has payed for its self once when I dumped while riding on gravel. -
    This past year was made aware of a 10MPH fatality when a moped rider hit his coconut on the edge of a curb.
    Still have gravel in my hands from a bare handed, slow speed dump on gravel 40 years ago.
    Once managed to stay upright after a blowout by taking careful dabs w/ my USN boondockers - had I been wearing sneakers I would have gone thru them.

    For those of you that have the attitude "It's my head I will do w/ it as I want"
    I agree w/ you as far as that goes. - If you want to ride around your farm nude, wearing flip-flops. - fine w/ me - maybe not your neighbors but ok by me.
    Sadly we all have to share public roads. Sometime, sooner or later I will have an accident. I might be driving my truck when I have my accident & you might be the one I hit. - You or your estate will sue me. - I will resent to all hell if I have to pay out for major damage to your gourd when had you been wearing your helmet you could have walked away
    • 190 posts
    October 19, 2009 4:13 PM PDT
    For my 2 or so cents, at this point I always wear a helmet, prefer my half helmet and glasses to my full. In Pa, I can not wear one, since I've passed the safety course, but right now I like the half and glasses. Protects most of my head but still gives me good rotation to look wherever I need in any position. I do support one's decision to not wear one if they choose, it's thier life not mine; unless your a passenger on my bike and under 21. Most guys going w/ out helmets dont bother me, mostly just the guys in sportbikes w/ wife beaters and an open flannel w/ aviators no helmet and riding like ... well not safely.
  • October 20, 2009 8:51 AM PDT
    I wear one only because it's the law here in TN, and of course I work on a military base and have to have one on to get on base. Otherwise I'd ride without. I often take off over into Ark where I can ride all day without my helmet. I'm a big boy and I'm well aware of the risks I'm taking and accept them.
  • October 20, 2009 11:36 AM PDT
    In (NH) helmets are not required and for many years I didn't wear one. However, over the last two years I haven't been out without one on? Who'd of known? ? ?
  • October 20, 2009 12:05 PM PDT
    Unless I'm racing, no.
    • 212 posts
    October 20, 2009 1:31 PM PDT
    Being a EMT, I work for a company that only does extreme sports events (motorcross,car racing, rodeos,bullriding) all which have very good protective equipment that I wouldn"t do without it.Yet I
    don"t wear a helmet when we ride, but I have been thinking about getting one and wearing it- after my first close call!
    • 21 posts
    October 21, 2009 9:24 PM PDT
    Depends but usually don't go with a lid if I don't have too - but I'm in NJ so I dont have that opportunity all that much!
  • October 22, 2009 7:48 AM PDT
    My head tested pavement strength back in the 80"s and I was lucky to live(got some cool scars) so both my wife and I wear them all the time.In fact we have like 3 different ones each.You dont want to wear one is no skin off my face, lol, but your choice here in MT. We dont have a law requiring them.
    • 513 posts
    October 22, 2009 9:39 AM PDT
    We have a mandatory helmet law here in Ireland but when in places I don't have to I don't.
    Not out of anybravado or image thing I just like not having to wear it.
    People in these kind of discusions always quote stats for and against but at the end of the day the choice should be up to you.
    • 21 posts
    October 22, 2009 12:12 PM PDT
    Dyna wrote...
    We have a mandatory helmet law here in Ireland but when in places I don't have to I don't.
    Not out of anybravado or image thing I just like not having to wear it.
    People in these kind of discusions always quote stats for and against but at the end of the day the choice should be up to you.

    Gotta agree - I think at tjhe end of the day should be a personal choice! 
  • October 22, 2009 3:02 PM PDT
    fortbriscoe wrote...
    I wear one and I don't care what anybody else does.
    wish I had seen that before,pretty much sums it up for me too
    • 1 posts
    October 26, 2009 2:28 AM PDT
    wolfhound wrote...
    fortbriscoe wrote...
    I wear one and I don't care what anybody else does.
    wish I had seen that before,pretty much sums it up for me too

        And that would be full-face.    

    • 601 posts
    October 27, 2009 9:46 AM PDT
    As Dyna says it's law in Ireland to wear one. But after 30 years on bikes and over a million miles under me ass i wear as much protective gear as i'm comfortable with...but always helmet and handshoes, you tumble off and the first thing to hit the deck is your paws, followed promptly by your skull and whatever it may contain. I've lost too many chairde (friends) off bikes not to have learned some lessons.Having said that i truely believe it should be personal long as in your will you state "turn off the life support machine" just to save the taxpayer paying for your choice !
  • October 27, 2009 10:54 AM PDT
    Proud Member and officer ABATE of Illinois. I wear mine when the weather is bad oron the Interstate. Otherwise I don't. I am proud to have the freedom to choose. Thank you ABATE.
  • October 27, 2009 11:27 AM PDT
    If I am in a state that does not require it, I usually do NOT wear it! Here in Cali we have to, and I think the law is pure Crap!!!!
  • October 27, 2009 11:50 AM PDT
    NO, were still a free state, and i avoid any state with a helment law if i can, but if i can't, (yes i confess i do own a helment) i put it on.
  • October 28, 2009 6:33 AM PDT
    I wish I had the choice