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Mac Made

HELMETS AND AIRBAGS

After years of editing this site, it is VERY apparent how deep the preconceived notions go about helmets being totally safe, all the time, as in: don't leave home without one. After all... John Glen wore one! Matter of fact many of our heros wear them across many sports.

However, "if" you can get their attention long enough and quote some stats on death to accident ratios being statistically about the same in helmet and no-helmet states, or that the reason there are fewer accidents can't be because someone's wearing a helmet but rather that fewer riders are riding less often (see California DMV stats), and the numbers of folks that are crippled by their helmets in otherwise minor accidents, then I've seen the light bulb go off and they can begin to appreciate that helmets offer BOTH safety benefits AND safety risks. And with that, it MUST be a biker's right to choose how he/she wishes to protect themselves as helmets are not always safe in all accidents.

I compare it to airbags. Because there is an element of risk, they are not mandatory and can be disabled legally. From my read, airbags seem to be safe more of the time than helmets and are only unsafe if the user straps their child in improperly. User error.

But in our case, it is not a matter of user error. It is out of our hands as to what kind of crash we'll have and if the helmet will protect us or snap our neck.

IMAGINE if airbags had that kind of risk. That even if used correctly, there will be times when airbags will injure or kill. Airbags would NEVER be allowed in cars. So why then are helmets mandated to be on our heads?

That's my take on it and one that I hope others will use because it is a direct comparison.

And for those that write us merely stating that we're crazy or irresponsible or that your helmet saved your life, PLEASE understand that we are NOT saying helmets are not safe. We are merely saying helmets offer both benefits and risks dependent upon the fall you have.

And we can't forget to mention that the Insurance Industry is pro-helmet law, because helmet laws reduce ridership. And less riders, riding less often equals fewer accidents and fewer claims. Since 75% of all motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle, if you ran an insurance company and realized that you couldn't prevent accidents, but you could reduce the number of riders that your car insured drivers hit, wouldn't you support helmet laws or any legislation that reduced the number of riders? You bet you would. Hidden agenda revealed. But keep in mind, helmets are both safe AND dangerous.

Given all this, it should be your right to choose whether to wear a helmet or not. Why this is not obvious or why Freedom angers some is beyond me.

Editor

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