Require helmets on motorcycles? Here we go again…

Hard not to admire an exercise in futility when you see one cranking up. So, take a gander at GOP Rep. Ted Weiler, Woods Cross, proposing a mandatory helmet law. (click) for motorcycles.

Yeah, right, dude. Good luck.

These come up every few years. What happens is, the day it comes up for debate in the legislature, motorcyclists clog the capitol with bald heads, leather and chains and so on — all very big and very loud.

It’s fun to watch the Lawmakers’ spines turn to Jell-O (green?) when they see that mob, and that’s the end of that until another go-round.

Mr. Weiler’s argument is that people who get injured on motorcycles often end up on government assistance — and he’s right. But not just that — I’ve long argued that motorcyclists cost us all money if they get hurt because they don’t have a helmet even if they have medical insurance — who do you think pays the money that pays those medical bills?

The rest of the insurance company’s rate payers, that’s who.

This leaves us with a number of options:

– Allow cyclists to ride with no helmets, but say that they can’t have any medical insurance cover them if they get hurt, and say that they won’t qualify for Medicaid. If their motto is “My head, my risk” then they have to accept the full responsibility for that risk.

– Allow them to ride without a helmet, but require mandatory insurance in a “high risk” pool, which is what other people have to pay if they get medical insurance despite a pre-existing condition. Wanting to ride an inherently dangerous vehicle in an admittedly dangerous manner is a pre-existing condition if I ever saw one, so this should work.

– Require all motorcyclists to wear a tag on their bike that says “I have chosen to ride this machine without proper protective gear of my own free will. I acknowledge that it is dangerous. If I get in a wreck I request that I be left to sort things out for myself and no ambulance or medical care be called.”

– Do nothing.

This is what will actually happen, of course. Bikers will point out - correctly - that theirs is only one of many sports that are self-endangering and go unregulated, so why pick on bikers? They will appeal to ideals of freedom and independence and the American way.

And they’ll show up, en masse, at the Legislature and scare the living crud out of that gang of idiots who get real tough with pregnant women, but shrivel at the sight of a 6 foot 6 tall dude in leather and chains, wearing an old World War II helmet if any at all.

I’ve seen those guys crowd in the Legislature and they’re very persuasive.


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28 Responses to Require helmets on motorcycles? Here we go again…

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  7. hawg says:

    c’mon charles think this through. nobody EVER gets hurt or dies in an automobile accident while wearing a seat belt and airbag. nobody, right? ever? so there is NEVER a medical cost to be passed on to others. so this mysterious medical cost phenomenon ONLY happens with motorcycle riders, right? (no wonder obama got elected)
    why not apply all your stupid disclaimers to ANY moving object with a rider and let’s see the support you get. you are concerned about safety right?

    I’ve personally put a guy into a lifelight bird, 10 miles back in the wilderness area of the uintahs with massive head injuries from falling off a horse.

    so unless you’re “good injury/badinjury” numbers guy, write an article pushing for helmets in cars also.

    • Bob Becker says:

      There are auto insurance policies that charge lower rates if you wear seatbelts and that pay much less if you’re injured in an accident while not wearing one. Seems fair to me. Seems it would be fair re: cyclists and helmets as well.

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  9. Sally says:

    Hmmm. Stereo typing….. Bald head chain wearing. Many people from all walks of life ride. My ? Are they going to ticket all the people on bicycles that don’t wear a helmet? There are more bicycle accidents then motorcycle.

    • Charles Trentelman says:

      sorry sally, but the crowd in the legislature stereotypes itself. Ever see a troop of the Patriot Guard?

      Mr Hawg — I am not advocating any of those things. Please address your comments to the elustrious member of the Legislature whose idea this is — what part of “exercise in futility” do you not understand?

      • hawg says:

        charles writes; “This leaves us with a number of options:”
        your statement? correct?

        what part of the above is NOT advocating?

  10. reg says:

    No helmets please. That way when one of you clowns takes a dive or hits something, it’s more likely you’ll be so f#$ked up that you can’t ride again. And that will make our country a little quieter.

  11. hawg says:

    p.s. charles, you forgot to explain exactly how motorcycle injuries magically get passed on to all of us but thousands and thousands and thousands of regular vehicle death and injuries do not. seat belts or not

  12. Ben pales says:

    Hawg you’re being a douche. Forced helmets is a stupid idea. Once again, so much for the Republicans keeping government regulations out of our lives.

  13. hawg says:

    whose posts are you reading ben? you won’t find one where I’ve supported helmet laws. try again

  14. Jule says:

    If Senator Weiler truly wants to save the taxpayers from forking out the “public dime” to support brain injured riders, why doesn’t he go after one of high schools most dangerous sports… Cheerleading. Oh wait, its not cute & perky to hop around in a helmet.

    Or maybe he could look at paraglidiers, skateboarders, horse back riders, senior citizens stepping out of the bathtub, people hanging Xmas lights from ladders, etc. All of these things cause accidents and traumatic brain injuries, so why single out motorcycles??

  15. Stormin Norman says:

    Just a ploy to keep the legislature involved in silly issues instead of attacking the major issues we have in Utah like limiting government support (education, health care, support payments) to illegals and their families, increasing enforcement on businessmen hiring illegally, and how to get all of our unemployed citizens on unemployment and/or welfare in jobs or if they won’t work off the government rolls!

  16. Stormin Norman says:

    Also, keep arguing silly issues instead of reforming Utah tax laws. Why does Utah (support the rich at all costs) have a flat tax when everyone recognizes a flat tax overly benefits the rich and hurts the middle class?

  17. Todd says:

    After moving here in 2007 and seeing how people in cars pay no attention to what they are doing as they are texting, it did not take me long to decide to wear my helmet all the time. I don’t think it should be mandated by the do-nothing Utah legislature, it’s just common sense.

  18. Bob Becker says:

    Some auto insurance policies charge lower rates if you wear seatbelts and pay less if you’re injured in an accident while not wearing one. Seems fair. Seems it would be fair re: cyclists and helmets too.

    • hawg says:

      sure, seems fair. seems fair if it doesn’t apply to you.
      seems fair that if you pick one mobile activity you have to pick them all. good luck with that fairness

      • Bob Becker says:

        I had such a policy for years. You select the level of risk for the vehicle you want to insure and pay… and benefit… accordingly. I don’t see any problem with that.

        • hawg says:

          “I don’t see any problem with that.”

          I don’t either Bob. if you want their insurance bad enough. but why make it a “law”? and why suggest that only motorcycles should do this? why not skiiers, and horsemen, and anything else that is ridden and mobile? because now it would affect the good representative. that’s the whole point.

  19. Tom says:

    Years ago I rode motorcycles all the time. The state I lived in at the time passed a mandatory helmet law, which I hated and complained about every chance I got. Then one day I was screaming up the freeway and a truck in front of me lost a big chunk of lumber which flew in front of me, I hit it and went over the handlebars. I flew a hundred feet or so and landed on my head still going around 60MPH. The helmet had a deep gash about six inches long that went practically clear through it. I survived with no injuries other than a bit of road rash and sore neck and back. The helmet very clearly saved my life and my negative attitude about the mandatory helmet law turned to gratitude for the politicians who passed it.

  20. Pingback: Require helmets on motorcycles? Here we go again… | Blogging the Rambler – StandardNet (blog) | Biker Deals Blog

  21. Brent Glines says:

    Fine. Don’t wear a helmet. Think of it as an intelligence test. Darwin Award candidates, all.

  22. Ponch says:

    According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2006, 13.10 cars out of 100,000 ended up in fatal crashes. The rate for motorcycles is 72.34 per 100,000 registered motorcycles. Motorcycles also have a higher fatality rate per unit of distance travelled when compared with automobiles. Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists’ risk of a fatal crash is 35 times greater than a passenger car. In 2004, figures from the UK Department for Transport indicated that motorcycles have 16 times the rate of serious injuries per 100 million vehicle kilometers compared to cars, and double the rate of bicycles.

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