B O H I C A (Bend over here it comes again)

Hawaii bikers, you better get your stuff together, the “Helmet” law is coming and it’s coming hard. When the local news reports start doing big long stories about how good a full time, all riders helmet law would be if it only saved just one person, the clock is ticking again.

I tuned into Rick Hamada the other day, after the replay of a television news story, we talked on the air for a couple of minutes. I’ve been involved in the anti-helmet law battle for the better part of 40 years, and the statistics and quotes are still them same.

“If it saves only one life, then it’s worth a little discomfort for all the rest”. “It doesn’t interfere with vision and you can’t hear while riding anyway.”

And the ever popular; “It costs the public so much money to take care of them (the injured riders) after they get hurt.”

A Harborview Medical Center study discovered that the percentage of motorcyclists who relied on public funding for medical treatment (63.4%) was actually lower than that of the general population (67%).  Similarly, the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center found that 49.5% of injured motorcyclists had insurance to cover their medical costs, were nearly identical compared with 50.4% of other road trauma victims.

“It’s a public health issue.”

Oh, no, it’s not. A public health issue arises when masses of people are exposed to illness or injury by dangers beyond their control — contaminated water, sooty air, natural disaster, marauding bands of hyenas — or when I get a serious disease that I may pass on to you against your will.

But riding a motorcycle without a helmet poses no danger to anyone except the rider. Skull fractures are not contagious.

We retain a respect for individual freedom and choice — even in matters of life and death. Motorcycle helmet laws are an unwarranted exception to our normal, sound approach, which can be summarized: It’s my choice.

Hawaii Bikers, if you want to retain that choice, better get to work. You’re  already behind.


Sent to the Star-Advertiser 7/21 Letter to the Editor. We’ll see what happens.

Update: Got a response asking me to cut this from 326 words to 150. I got to 184. We’ll see.

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