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.