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Great article! JAMA is a very good journal, and the CDC always turns out top-notch work, IMO. And NHTSA data while imperfect are about as good as one can get (also IMO).

While I appreciate the legislative facts:
"12% of fatally injured motorcyclists were not wearing helmets in states with universal helmet laws [vs] 79% in states without a helmet law"

I'd prefer less of a legislative slant and more of a focus on the numbers. I find the fact base and estimates helpful:

"In 2010... 4,502 motorcyclists (operators and passengers) [were] killed in motorcycle crashes"
"NHTSA estimates that in 2010, helmet use saved the lives of 1,544 motorcyclists, and an additional 709 lives might have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets"

But to me, the most useful percentages given are the prevention rates:

"Helmet use prevents an estimated 37% of fatalities among motorcycle operators and 41% of fatalities among passengers."​

that to me is the core message. Put on your helmet and you just improved your chance of living after a crash by 40%.

To me, that's the message.
 

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Not knocking ABATE or my local ABATE Chapter but most of those I have been in communication with are not for helmet laws and want it to be rider's choice no matter what. My view it is total insanity to not wear a helmet and my preference is not a Turtle Shell type either but a 3/4 or full face. Just my view point but if the insurance companies started charging the proper rates for those not wearing helmets the cost would go down for those of us who swear by wearing our helmets. I wear mine because even if I do go down I am hoping to still go home to my family at night. Not wearing a helmet those odds are not so good.
 

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We have a passenger helmet law but no rider law. But an interesting subject has come up at public forums when they hash out changing the helmet law and that is one of insurance payouts and civil suits involving crashes where the rider has no helmet. Insurance companies feel that they should not have to cover all the bills from injuries to the head if you're not wearing a helmet. And talk of civil liability and having to get sued by bikers that got head injuries and want more for damages.

Although I'm not in 100% agreement with them they have some poignant arguments. Example: If it's a choice made by the rider then it should involve said person taking on the extra liability that you are risking higher amounts of injury in a wreck and you should be held accountable for that, not the other driver. And to be clear they are talking about partial liability not taking away 100% of the liability from the 2nd party to the rider. Last number I heard talked about was having the rider responsible for 50% of head trauma costs if not wearing proper safety gear...
 

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Just my view point but if the insurance companies started charging the proper rates for those not wearing helmets the cost would go down for those of us who swear by wearing our helmets.
I think you put too much faith in insurance companies doing the 'right thing'. Lowering rates is not something they tend to do unless forced to...

Not an argument to go without a helmet - I've been down and seen first-hand exactly what that helmet absorbed instead of my head and face. I trust my helmet, I just don't trust insurance companies.

As for mandatory helmet laws, I want to say I'd support the freedom of choice combined with education and encouragement of wearing one. But to be fair the costs of unhelmeted riders are (often) born by the public at large. So while I hate the idea of the government forcing me to do something; even something I voluntarily do anyway, I won't fight that battle.

It does worry me slightly - where does it stop? At least on this forum, as riders we pretty much all agree that wearing a helmet is the only way to go. But think about other facets of your life where the government has mandated some action 'for your own good' that you don't approve of. Each of these actions must be measured carefully before passing law xxx 'for your own good'.
 

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As for mandatory helmet laws, I want to say I'd support the freedom of choice combined with education and encouragement of wearing one. But to be fair the costs of unhelmeted riders are (often) born by the public at large.
There is the issue on the backs of us all or do we take the middle ground and let the chips fall where they may.
 

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It's not so different from the overall health care debate... Do we, as a society, choose to have everyone covered by health insurance? Or do we let those who can't afford it suffer or figure it out some other way?

We look down our nose at countries in which basic sanitation and children's health are not a given, yet as a country in the US we're not completely comfortable taking a more socialist approach in which everyone benefits even if not everyone pays.

Not that other countries that have chosen state-run healthcare have it all -- I've heard too many bad stories from my in-laws and friends in the UK (as an example) to think that's any kind of storybook answer.

But it's a question of where we draw the line as a society... How much do we force on each person for their own good as well as everyone else's good? Easier to answer when the effect on others is direct, such as not allowing people to run traffic lights or drive drunk since those have pretty clear effects on others. Harder to answer when the effect is indirect or financial, paid through taxes.

Supposedly that's what all those fine elected representatives are supposed to be doing for us for those of us who live in representative democracies. As well all know, seldom does the overall good seem to be debated thoughtfully, objectively, and with an emphasis on facts and data.

Personally, I'm with Zelatore and would prefer to try to educate and convince people to do the smart thing and wear a helmet rather than legislate it. But we saw how well that worked with drunk driving -- the education campaigns only got us so far, then we ended up needing laws to deter the truly dangerous. I suppose I'm ok with the seatbelt laws -- but those fall into the "really, we have to tell people to do this?" category for me.

It's also a question of how we'd like our law enforcement to spend their time. Personally, I'd much rather the Philadelphia police were off solving (and preventing) our annual 400 homicides than writing seatbelt violation tickets. Or helmet tickets, if we were to change that law here in Pennsylvania.

But ultimately, I think we'll end up with either mandatory helmet laws or severe financial burdens through insurance laws. And I won't fight them.
 

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Not that other countries that have chosen state-run healthcare have it all -- I've heard too many bad stories from my in-laws and friends in the UK (as an example) to think that's any kind of storybook answer.
Anyone who has read some of my posts will know that I am far from being a socialist and like the idea of the minimal state. The UK National Health Service is far from perfect, both in its organisation and outcomes compared with similar countries. HOWEVER ...

If I feel ill, I go to my doctor, every week if I feel like it. No charge. If I need an operation, I get it. No charge. If I need medicines, I get them. No charge (I live in Wales; this isn't true of England). If I were unlucky enough to have a crash and need immediate medical treatment, no-one will be going through my pockets to find out if I am insured before calling an ambulance. If the crash was bad enough, or in a remote area, they would send a helicopter with trained paramedics on board. If I needed continued care for the rest of my life, I would get it. And this goes for all of us, rich or poor, old or young, healthy, chronically sick or permanently disabled.

Of course, I pay for all of this through some quite hefty personal taxation. But I ask myself how much this level of care would cost if I had to purchase it on the open market, and I reckon it would be very expensive indeed - possibly prohibitively so. I reckon the NHS is a bargain.

This is not to criticise any other nation's approach to healthcare, and nor is it to imply that the NHS is beyond criticism. But for every bad story you hear, just remember that there are probably a hundred good ones that no-one cares to mention because they are (to us) unremarkable.
 

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My girlfriend has recently had two major hip operations, which would have cost a total of nearly 50k. She will never complain about the NHS, or the taxes used to fund it, again. Nor will I.
 

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A 2nd cousin of mine had a bicycle accident a year or so ago. He had just graduated from college. They took him in to the hospital to have him checked out via an ambulance ($400). They kept him overnight for observation. He now owes the hospital over $8,000 for the tests and treatment. He had no insurance and he's working for a downtown charity for homeless kids. Not very good money in charity work. He's paying back the best he can but it will take years, along with his student loans.

Terrible thing to happen.
 

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Black Dog has it spot on about the NHS in my view.

Over the years I have heard several horror stories about the NHS; every now and then the papers have a big splurge about some dreadful mishap; almost every other week one side or the other are banging on about the need for or the threat of "privatisation" but the plain fact is that, whenever I or anyone I know has needed treatment, it's been provided quickly and efficiently by the NHS.

Some people choose to go private for whatever reason, that's their choice but that's the key, it's their choice.

The more interesting choice arising from that article though is where it says
In the 20 states with a universal helmet law, 739 (12%) fatally injured motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet
So the law says you must wear a helmet (in those states) but a significant chunk of the population chooses to disobey it. Perhaps it's no worse than speeding?
 
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Two things stick out like broken thumbs in comments about this thread.

Helmet laws, whether you like them or not are specific to a tiny group of people. Motorcycle riders. 4500 killed each year, a smaller portion due to lack of helmet. Sad? Yes. Cause for the government to force anything on us? No. Now before you all get your knickers in a knot, I think any one stupid enough to ride a motorcycle with out a helmet is deserving of the consequences of their actions. I know they save lives as one saved mine. You don't wear a helmet I don't ride with you and have very little compassion for your idiocy.

Compare the deaths from drunk driving per percentage of drivers or miles driven. It is against the law almost anywhere to drive drunk. Does it keep loonies from doing it? Nope.

Seat belt laws. Save lives? Yep. Obeyed all the time? Nope.
How about the teenage texting/sexting truants who maim, kill, damage on our roads? There are laws against such a thing in many, many states. Does it keep folks from doing it? Nope.

Laws by them selves solve very little and change very few minds. Just because it is a social issue today doesn't mean we need a special law to solve a "stupid decision mistake". You drink to much soda, smoke, drink to much, eat butter or other fatty foods we need a law to protect you? Nanny state mentality.

National health insurance for the masses. In the USA we have had a type of safety net for those ill for years. Most hospital never turn patients away. Most pharmacies have low cost/no cost medicines for the indigent. Charities around the country have been helping those less able to get major medical help for years. Shrinners, Jewish childrens foundation, Kidney foundation and our own governments medicaid programs. Millions of folks a year use these systems but we never think in terms of ordinary people supporting our less able neighbors. We want government.

What ever happened to being responsible for our selves and taking responsibility for those less fortunate?:confused:
 

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HAP, I'm with you to a certain degree.

I don't like the nanny state either and feel that helmet laws are simply another step in that direction. If helmet laws are a good thing, why not mandatory breath interlocks on all cars? As we know, drunks kill people every day.

How about a black-out device for all mobile phones - if a car is moving more than 5 mph kill the signal?

I wouldn't support those things but I have heard people make noise about them, serious or not. Each is an example of government doing something on the premise that it's for the common good, when I'd rather each individual took it upon themselves to be responsible and pay the prices if they don't.

However, I also believe you have to pick your battles and helmet laws are one I choose not to fight. I DO think they do the public good, as we all know plenty of people don't have insurance and get themselves hurt causing the public to bear the cost. And I DO think they help open the door for yet more government intervention in our lives. But weighing each side, this is not a battle I'm going to fight.



(actually, we all know why there will not be breathalyzer ignition interlocks or cell interrupters on cars...how many politicians would be personally affected?!?)
 

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More and more states are moving towards if you do not keep current insurance they not only pull your drivers license they pull the licenses on your vehicles in your name too. More and more as computers and companies are becoming inter connected DMV's nationwide can tap into insurance company records at the touch of a button and insurance companies can alert DMV's automatically.

With today's technology on the edge of tomorrow and being more so each day soon we all just might see the Helmet coded to the bike itself on new models by 2020 if we make it that far just as a breath tester on all vehicles too.

The sad part of this is that it is all due to irresponsible people and their driving and/or riding habits.

Do I like the nanny state? Not in the least. What can I do though? Only help to educate others.
 

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The "slippery slope" argument, that if we have helmet laws, it's only a matter of time before they ban bikes/send us to Siberia is a false one. There have been helmet laws in the UK since, I think, the 70's, and there has been very little "interference" since.
 

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I do not think they will ever ban them just make the Emission Standards a bugger like they are doing now on Dirt Bikes and ALL Off Road Vehicles here in California. As of Jan 1 2013 if I remember reading it correctly all Motorcycle and Off Road Vehicle Exhaust Mufflers sold after market will have to have a plate welded to them stating they are and do meet the California Emission Standards. I posted an article about 2 months back on this issue. Feh I lost the link. :(

Article on Exhaust regulations coming to California.
http://bikersofamerica.blogspot.com/2011/03/california-sb-435-clearing-up.html
 

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My girlfriend has recently had two major hip operations, which would have cost a total of nearly 50k. She will never complain about the NHS, or the taxes used to fund it, again. Nor will I.
What does the cost of an operation have to do with NHS? My PPO provider is the Cleveland Clinic which enjoys a steady stream of patients from all over the world including Canada.
 

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The "slippery slope" argument, that if we have helmet laws, it's only a matter of time before they ban bikes/send us to Siberia is a false one. There have been helmet laws in the UK since, I think, the 70's, and there has been very little "interference" since.
Non helmeted riders should just have to pay for private accident healthcare insurance in the amount equal to what the average brain trauma injury healthcare bill is. $1-2MM in coverage should handle it. No different than flood insurance in flood areas , hurricane insurance, etc.
 

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Non helmeted riders should just have to pay for private accident healthcare insurance in the amount equal to what the average brain trauma injury healthcare bill is. $1-2MM in coverage should handle it. No different than flood insurance in flood areas , hurricane insurance, etc.
Agreed.
 
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